This week we’ve given PYT Advanced students the opportunity to develop their critical writing skills and share their personal opinions on our blog by reviewing Prague Fringe events. The festival runs from 26th May-3rd June.
Megan Meunier continues to review the week..
Day 4- Monday 29th May
I left my house in a hurry at quarter to three to make it to Beseda in time for ‘What if…’. The show was absolutely lovely. You walk across a dotted red line to enter a makeshift spaceship filled with adorable props. The performance space is actually on the other side of Beseda, opposite the usual stage and seats fewer people. The seats are benches so it could vary but I’d estimate about 30 places. The performance would be perfectly appropriate for children but the audience I was a part of was entirely adult. As the space ship lifted, illustrated by the music the actors hummed and their movements, we went off to faraway planets where aliens occasionally visited the ship. The audience’s responses were intuitive, and we needed little prompting to interact in the right scenes. Having a child in the audience would have been interesting because I imagine their interactions would have been more frequent and spontaneous, which I believe the actors would have dealt with beautifully. I felt like a little kid watching the performance and almost believed that we were in fact, in a space ship miles away from Prague. I’d recommend this to anyone looking for something funny and cute.
An hour later, I walked down to Kampa to see Kontra Alt by the same theatre company. The performance was different, darker and more adult but still had an aura of humour. There are some light-hearted moments such as when the character on stage reorganizes the set and comments that it seems more ‘Feng Shui’. I struggled to follow the meaning of every sequence but the ones that I understood I really liked. The production does a brilliant job of exploring how we act in the pursuit of relationships and in the face of loneliness. The set was lovely as well with a lace tent coming up by surprise in one instance. It was a wonderful performance for those who enjoy physical theatre.
After this I ran off to watch The Forbidden at the café 3+1. This show about an assistant reaching a breaking point while Jean Rene does not turn up for his conference. Juliette is an intensely magnetic character with ambitious dreams of America who has the entire audience rooting for her in seconds. Her shyness melts away when she decides to grace the audience with the occasional dance, song or French rap. As the only francophone in the audience I loved getting the jokes just about ten seconds before everyone else did with the translation. Something to look forward to is a cute French rendition of The Jungle Book’s ‘Bare necessities of life’. There is also a mock funeral for a reading stand. Something that really stood out to me was how she interacted with the audience in such a way that we felt like we were playing among ourselves. It really highlighted this fringe family spirit. If I could find some space in my schedule, I’d definitely try to fit in a second viewing.
The next venue I was due to visit was Golden Key to see Be More, Do Better but Don’t Change. This is a poetry reading about break-ups and embarrassing moments in relationships. The host Róisín (hope I spelled that right) was very sweet and wrote powerful relatable poetry. There is a rather silly rap section which would have felt uncomfortable had she not been enjoying the performance so much herself. It was a nice experience although nothing really stood out against the rest of the Fringe’s productions.
I took a two-hour break after those four shows to catch my breath and remember to eat. At quarter to eleven, I went to Inspirace to watch The Rules of Inflation. I knew very little of the show prior to seeing it, all I knew was that there were balloons in the picture representing the show, so I thought it would be a comedy. It was not. This piece was incredibly dark, a master disguised with a clowns face who seems dreadfully ill as he coughs, vomits and spews blood throughout the show, controls these four people represented by green, yellow, pink and blue. Each is abused in a different manner through twisted versions of childhood games, such as ‘if it drops, someone dies’ where if a balloon is dropped the victims have their heads stuck in a bowl of water and near drowned. This twisted performance was the best version of a horror film I’ve ever seen on stage.
You can check out Prague Fringe’s full programme, here.