scary pantomime


VOJTA ŠVEJDA hat die besondere Fähigkeit, eine Handlung, Situation, Stimmung... ohne Worte so darzustellen, wie dies vergleichsweise in Comics geschieht. In seiner aktuellen Produktion ALBERT SE BOJI, Alberts Ängstlichkeit, in Zusammenarbeit mit JAMES DONLON (US), porträtiert er den kleinen Albert, der versucht, seine Ängste loszuwerden.
„Düsteres Szenario, ebensolche Bass- und Klarinettentöne. Albert fürchtet sich vorm Einschlafen aber auch vorm Aufstehen, vor dunklen Korridoren zu Hause und in der Schule. Aus Büchern schöpft er Stoff, der seine Fantasie beflügelt. Er sieht sich als heldenhaften Kapitän mit loyalem Papagei auf der Schulter, verwickelt in einen Kampf gegen eine verheerende Überzahl von Piraten. Er gewinnt den Kampf und auch die Schätze der Piraten fallen ihm in die Hände. Alsbald erscheint er sich als Pokerface Revolverheld im Saloon und mischt die Karten so trickreich wie Doc Hollyday. Er verzieht auch keine Miene, wenn er auf, aus allen Löchern auf ihn zukommende Stinktiere zielt und abdrückt. Peng! Peng. Aber in Wirklichkeit fürchtet sich Albert noch immer.“ Text: angelehnt an ANNA HEJMOVÀ, Nekultura.cz 2007

James Donlon, Vojta Švejda
concept, direction / James Donlon
concept, performed by / Vojta Švejda
lights / Jan Beneš-McGadie
music / Petr Wajsar
musicians / Martin Zpevák, Jiri Mraz
supported by / Prague City Council, Motus o.s., Alfred ve dvore
special thanks to / Karla Housková, Ivan Houska jr.
premiere / October the 17th 2007 in Alfred ve dvore Theatre, Prague

no language barrier

"I'm here, I'm behind you, I'm in your eyes, in your voice, in your heart. You can't see me, but I can see you." Can Albert manage to outstep his shadow? Can he do it alone? A fantastic imagination versus dwarfish courage. Fear comes to the theatre.

Vojta Švejda again places a dramatic bet on pantomime and clowning, where he has found his own personal form of expression. He has recently succeeded in lifting these rather neglected acting techniques back up to the lofty heights of modern theatre. The project is stamped with an exceptional hallmark with the invitation of the renowned American clown, mime artiste, teacher and director James Donlon. This is the second time the two authors have worked together - a few years ago they collaborated on a performance entitled Truck Dog, which was shown in the CR and other Eastern European countries.

Albert´s Fear
Another new successful production is the performance Albert's Fears (Albert se bojí) by performer Vojta Švejda recently presented at the Alfred ve dvore Theatre. Švejda is a non-verbal performer whose specialty is not experimental theatre, but something that can be considered a stylized "exercise". His ability to exemplify characters with his economic gestures, environments, and atmospheres has already paid off in his previous productions. This unobtrusive young man has a very playful spirit, and like others from his generation, grew up with comics - a world that he has been drawn into and from where he is able to perfectly control the qualities of brevity and stylization. His Albert is a timid little boy who is terrified of thieves, dark corners and bullies. In his characters, he creates intrepid heroes - cowboys, pirates, and other characters terrified by nightmares. It sounds perhaps like an outline for a film for children or an illustrated book. But in these books, no one pulls a chainsaw out of a drawer in order to get rid of what they are afraid of. Švejda´s one-man-show is subtle and funny, and is suitable for both children and adults.
Author: Don Nixon



"We attempted to examine fear from many different angles. It is as if you were observing a thing through a crystal. You see a multiple image of a single object and each reflection looks a bit different. Fear is a broad term, and one could write a thick book or several plays about fear and this is why we have decided to focus only on certain aspects of fear. Our work resulted in a story of little Albert, who acquaints himself with his fear and tries to overcome it. In fact, it is a free sequel to Bliss (ed. note: Švejda's 2002 scenic comic strip debut) - a character who struggles with himself rather than with his environment. He has a vivid imagination and drowns in doubt before taking any action. He is afraid even if nothing is happening" says Švejda and continues with the comparison of American and European approach to pantomime: "I find the American pantomime more free and lively. Americans are not so bound by history; after all, pantomime has its origin mainly here, in Europe. They see it from a distant perspective and understand it in a different way. They are not afraid of introducing features from different genres such as stand-up comedy."

"Darkling space, prolonged bass and clarinet tones: Albert is really afraid, he is afraid of going to bed and waking up, he is afraid of passing a dark corridor; at home, at school or in hospital. To find comfort for his timidity and indecisiveness, Albert reads books! Cut! Valiant captain with a devoted parrot on his shoulder in an uneven battle with a pirate horde. Captain wins not only the battle but also the treasure. Cut! A reckless poker-faced cowboy who excels in shuffling cards, highly respected. He is cool, even when mercilessly killing skunks swarming all around. Bang! Bang! Cut! But Albert is still afraid…"
Anna Hejmová, Nekultura.cz, October 2007