Hans Christian Andersen
Director and performer: Robert Waltl
Dramaturg: Ivica Buljan
Concept: Darij Kreuh and Tadej Fius
Visuals: Ana Košir
Music: Špela Avsenak
Production: Forum Ljubljana
Coproduction: Cankarjev dom Ljubljana
Distribution: Mini teater Ljubljana
Virtual puppet show for children over the age of 3.
Duration: 45 min.
Premiere: December 2003
The first virtual puppet show in the world!
FESTIVALS AND TOURS ABROAD
World Congress and Festival UNIMA 2004 (Rijeka, Croatia), LUT FEST 2004 (Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina), PITA festival 2004 (Belgrade, Serbia), Exodos Festival 2004 (Ljubljana, Slovenia), Puppet festival Teheran 2004 (Iran), Solo Puppet Festival 2005 (Lodz, Poljska), Festival Szena Internationale 2005 (Milano, Italy), Festival de Teatro de La Habana 2005 (Cuba), International Festival of Puppet Theatres EUROFEST 2006 (Slupsk, Poland), Multikids International Festival 2006 (Wienna, Austria), Zadar Snova Festival 2006 (Zadar, Croatia), International Festival of Children's Theatres Banja Luka 2006 (Bosnia and Herzegovina), World Performing Art festival 2006 (Lahore, Pakistan), Zagreb Youth Theatre and Culture Centre Velika Gorica 2006 (Croatia), International Festival of Art Animation Euromarionete 2007 (Arad, Romunia), World Festival of Puppet Art 2007 (Prague, Czeck Republic), Dubrava 2007 (Croatia), Festival of Puppetry 2007 (Lingen, Germany), International Puppet Theatre Festival 2007 (Ieper, Belgium), Festival Europalia 2008 (Ghent, Belgium), Obrovačko Summer Festival 2008 (Obrovac, Croatia), International Festival Fairy Tale Day 2008 (Yerevan, Armenia), Pippi Longstocking Festival 2008 (Velenje, Slovenia), Puppet Theatre Mostar 2008 (Bosnia and Herzegovina), MESS Festival Sarajevo 2008 (Goražde, Bosnia and Herzegovina), Festival Zvezdarište 2009 (Belgrade, Serbia), International Puppet Theatre Festival 2009 (Klaipeda, Lithuania), Kövér Béla festival 2012 (Szeged, Hungary), International Festival of Children's Theatres 2012 (Subotica, Serbia), International Moscow Festival of Puppet Theatres 2012 (Russia).
- Special Award for the New Multimedia Approach in the Puppet Theatre Production at the International Puppet LUT FEST Festival (Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina)
- Special Award of the Professional Jury for its contribution to the Visual Expression of the Theatre for Children at the International Festival of the Theatre for Children (Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Thumbelina is one of the subtlest and most beautiful fairy-tales by the Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen. A story about a little girl whose fragility takes her to different places and whose courage and love always help her find the right path. All Anderson’s fairy-tales are concerned with the initiation process, a journey the hero or heroine has to undergo in order to overcome troubles. But in the end the distress is rewarded also for Thumbelina.
The first virtual puppet show is a mixture of film and puppet performance set in an open and flexible virtual computer environment. Each situation consists of at least two different solutions while characters from fairy-tale come to life on screen and, assisted by the one animator and the audience, try to save the heroine from trouble. Assisted by the animator, the children will determine the characters and the course of events in a specific situation while undoubtedly fascinated by such creatively rich environment and their chance to participate in the performance!
The fairy-tale is structured as a play which focuses on creative team work. The correct solution and decision in a certain situation upgrades the classical puppet show with an educational/didactic element. Wishing to make the operation of complex technology attractive to children, the authors will encourage them to play the role of animator after the performance and stir the protagonists to life.
SELECTION IF CRITICS
The first seconds - when the children ‘get it’ and they start shouting and establishing communication bonds with the characters on the big screen who, of course, always return the impulse, - represent the greatest award for the conceivers of this project. And it is a surplus for the authors of the project when the kids - at this age they already watch television, they play computer games, they know what cinema is, and they have already attended a classical puppet performance - (presledek!) immediately understand that Thumbelina is something in between or even more. This is especially the case when parents and adults, even after several minutes, cannot discern exactly how the story develops interactively, or what is actually true and what is fiction.
The first virtual puppet performance in the world differs from classical performances also in the fact that the story never appears twice with the same development or the same end. The conceivers of the project have actually transferred the active role of the director over to the audience and to the actor Robert Waltl. The latter is equipped with a playing console and a head sensor to follow the rotation and the bending of the fairytale character’s head on the screen. Waltl performs all this in the backstage, yet at the same time he communicates with the audience. The visualisation and interaction computer programme enables directing and defining the shape in real time, while the programme mediator enables fairytale characters to follow the narrator’s speaking.
It takes half an hour to perform this performance, which is exactly the right duration to preserve the tension of the story and the right concentration of the audience in their communication. Since the technology already offers the possibility of an optional development of the performance contents, and at the same all essential elements and primal issues of a classical theatre are preserved, this may well be defined as an explosive mixture.
Kids understand it immediately, Luka Dekleva Ukmar; Delo, December 11th 2003
ABOUT THE DIRECTOR
Robert Waltl (1965), actor, director, puppeteer, and art director - has succeeded in accomplishing an utopic theatrical project within the recent years. He created numerous acting roles in Slovene and Croatian theatres and films starting in 1987 and after 1999 established himselft also as a director. Many of his directing creations won prestigious awards in different festivals, his performances were played on tours and in numerous international festivals and he also created a large number of acting roles in radio plays.
After his rich experience in an institutional theatre, he abandoned the safety of official institutions. In 1998, on base of his own financial means, he started a new Slovene theatre - Mini teater. Unlike the commercial projects in other private theatres offering them puppet performances of the best quality. The vast range of his original ideas may well be seen in the openness of his theatre programme directed towards the youngest spectators.
Robert Waltl however, cultivates also a high quality drama for adults. Robert Waltl is not just a reproductive director and actor, he works also as a co-director and dramaturge, which brought him a number of prestigious awards in Slovenia and abroad.
Beside everything listed above, Robert Waltl also gave his contribution as animator and director to the first virtual puppet performance in the world, Thumbelina, where he decided to do research in some completely unknown and undiscovered fields of theatrical, visual and intermedia art. So far Robert Waltl played this performance not only in Slovene but also in Croatian, English, German, Flamish, French, Italian, Spanish, Polish, Romanian, Czech, Turkish and Hungarian as well as in Farsi and Urdu.