Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The Forman brothers give life to the Wild West

The Czech creators, masters of illusionism in theater, present their show 'Deadtown' in Madrid.

Twins Petr and Matej Forman have been traveling around the world for years with three giant trucks. Wherever they go they build their own theater. It can be an altarpiece of puppets, a circus tent, a barracks full of fairy monsters. In the year 2000 they even restored an old coal transport ship, the Mystery, to represent The Scarlet Sails, a montage based on a fantastic tale by the Russian writer Alexandre Grine. Even today, this ship is still anchored in the Vltava River as it passes through Prague, its hometown, which has become a permanent floating stage.

This is explained because the works of these two brothers, famous both for their original creations and for being the son of filmmaker Milos Forman, are not ordinary shows: they are authentic experiences of immersion in hallucinating realities that seem to defy physical laws, with tricks of illusionism and amazing optical effects. And the most amazing thing is that everything is handmade, invented by them. That's why it takes years to conceive each one of their works.

For their latest work, Deadtown, which can be seen in the Matadero Naves of Madrid from January 18 until January 28, they have built a saloon of the American Wild West: with its swinging door, its liquor bar, its rooms on the first floor and his easy trigger gunmen. But let no one be confused: this is not a work that takes place in the West, but the materialization of a silent western. One seems to be inside a movie and you have to rub your eyes from time to time to verify that it is not like that.

"As children living in a small Czech city, our image of the wild West was formed thanks to the silent westerns. We thought they lived in black and white or with small shades of sepia. And although with time we have lost that innocence, that unreality remains close to our vision of the theater. That's why this new work oscillates between the theater and the silent cinema", explains the Formans in the habndout program.

The day before yesterday, after several days rebuilding its saloon in the Slaughterhouses, the company was ready to present Deadtown to the Madrid press. Petr Forman, director and actor, appeared on stage as if he had just nailed the last boards. He seemed the very father of Pinocchio. Humble, fascinating, concerned to explain his work well. "We are from the old school. I studied Prague Puppet Theater and my brother Fine Arts," he joked. However, in this new show we used new technologies for the first time to create that illusion of an old movie ".

During the first part of the show is a succession of traditional numbers of magic, cabaret and circus. Until the "magic of truth" arrives: the actors mingle with the puppets, they seem to cross walls, get into projection screens, gallop over deserted mountains. "We also wanted to pay homage to all those people who were looking for new paths at the beginning of the 20th century or, dreaming of seemingly impossible things, they invented the first sound or film recordings," added the director. That's how they are: explorers of the imagination.

[A family of artists - Petr and Matej Forman were born in Prague in 1964. Their mother was the actress Vera Kresadlova, now deceased, and their father is the well-known filmmaker Milos Forman. In 1968, after the invasion of Russia, theirfather decided to emigrate to Hollywood and left the children in Prague with their mother. A decade ago the brothers collaborated in an opera directed by their father, A Well Paid Walk, which could be seen in Valencia. The twins have also presented their shows Obludárium, La barraca and Baroque opera.]

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