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Saturday, March 24, 2018

Marek Vashkel: “the children need to talk about death”

The animation theatre of poznań brought to abraszewski puppet festival its magnificent “Moliere” directed by Dutchman Neville Tranter. Relevant topics raised in the play, encourage us to discuss the state of Affairs in the Polish puppet genre with the Director of the theatre in poznań Marek Vasculum, a truly iconic figure — he was a reputable historian of puppet theater, and a doctor of philosophy, and former art Director of the Bialystok theatre…

The Play “Moliere”. Photo: puppet.ru

Help “MK”

Theatre in poznań is a large puppet theater, there is six premieres in the season, and in different styles. One is only for adults, others for children of all ages. Often invited foreign Directors (Neville Tranter, Tsubame Kusunoki, Fabrizio Montecchi, Eric bass), and not because in Poland there is no (enough of them); theatre just interested to meet new dolls (not just the glove or kinds), new tools, new opportunities.

— Mr. Waskel, and as you build communication with the young audience? Heard is incredible.

Oh, this is a serious story. Teenagers are plagued by issues of the split of the family, personal loneliness, the problems that arise in the group when children compete with each other… they live it all. And we’re talking about these things as the “third branch”, after the performance. Of course, other grandparents would like to see “simple theater”, just a show and nothing more. But they have reason to go, it is necessary to touch on an important, secret matters. Youth in the predominant mass wants to communicate with us after the curtain closes. Of course, issues arise in these communications of all kinds — from “how to be an actor”, to “why can’t I find a common language with the father.” At these meetings we often invite professional psychologists.

— That is, the play doesn’t end? The topic should be developed?

— Of course. And in different formats. Sometimes, we simply are leading a small group of children to theatre, show our behind the scenes, some dolls do together — it’s more like master classes. Psychologically we look for the road that can go. Not all children remain on the “third division”; it also happens that the meeting is strained, different. But we try to know our audience…

— In this you are unique among Polish puppet theatres?

— I would not say that unique (it is in Poland, in Germany, in Italy), just we want to keep young people within our walls as long as possible — and in the workshops of their stories, and activities to offer; for the youngest, from 3 years old, offer shadow performances, after which they learn such a theater play. There is a serious pedagogical work is to continue the dialogue, the dialogue very interesting. As to the drama, we employ great talented dramatist: she wrote us the actual pieces to order. That is, the Director throws her an idea and she brings the plot and the script.

Photo: puppet.ru

If the puppet theater, resorts to such forms, does this mean that the family, the school, the Church simply can not cope with children’s issues?

— You could say that. Because of all these, let’s say, institutions are a little different tasks. In the same schools is a program that is laid out in advance. But life goes forward! The theatre is more mobile. And not surprisingly, the state of many Polish theatres there is such a profession as teacher. And building on each performance, to invent some kind of educational program to a little help from school teachers, to give something to the parents. This is the meaning of our work. Maximum voice their problems. And where we, the artists themselves can not cope, — invite experts. It still is dictated by the specificity of Poland, because we have no theatres for young audiences.

— Do you always find the understanding among teachers?

— No. Other argue that there are taboo subjects that, in their opinion, do not touch — for example, the topic of death. But, sorry, the child sees that his little dog died that grandma or grandpa passed away… he is going through, asking myself — what happened? And finds no answer… Why don’t we have to talk about it? Yes, we should talk! Although it is difficult. Of course, when we first walked in similar experiments, it was seen strangely, other performances in the same białystok had to remove after 10-15 shows, the teachers did not take classes. But now this dialogue has become the norm. I’m not saying that all of our work is success-success-success, of course not. It’s art… it’s all very uneven. But each performance is an experiment.

— Is this the day the actual notion of different puppet schools, or globalization, all mixed?

— If I’m in a single season invite an Italian, a Spaniard, an Estonian, Ukrainian, Japanese, Dutch, girl from South Africa, and between them there will be only one Director-the pole — about a purely Polish school can be a speech? The viewer wants to see a different repertoire. Of course, on the level of education, training puppet tradition can have value. But this craft is. And then the puppet artist the whole world is open. He must find his individuality.

Different puppet figures no-no and will say that his art, they want to offer the child an alternative to electronic gadgets, from which children will not drag…

I don’t want to offer any alternatives. It is necessary to keep in line with the times. Computer, phones are just tools, they don’t need to oppose anything. These media technologies should be used, and no problem do not see. Recently saw a puppet show where all the action takes place between the two tablets — the actors from one screen to another move… and that’s well perceived. Another thing is that there is a problem of communication between young people — it is easier for them to say something to each other via mobile than in the eye. But this question is a completely different level: people no longer understand how to communicate in person, and it’s not a problem of the young and the old, tradition and relevance. This is a new phenomena that gives us time, and we have to learn them together.


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