Letní Letná: Eye over Prague & one of the main ‘headliners’ Rasposo


Last week, Radio Prague covered the UK’s NoFit State Circus at the Letní Letná festival of contemporary circus; this week we continue by looking at some other events and productions underway.

‘The Blob’ videomapping, photo: CTK‘The Blob’ videomapping, photo: CTK I began by asking festival representative Jiří Sedlák about some of the other main acts as well as the recent opening.

“This year we had a very special opening at Letní Letná, we’ve never had anything like that before. In the past, we usually announced the start of the festival with a circus parade through the city, but this year we decided to do something different. We kicked things off with a videomapping performance which began at 10 PM on the first night.”

This particular videomapping also had a special resonance, I think, for Prague residents, because thematically it was about the late architect Jan Kaplický’s original design for the National Library building which was never realized. That is a very futuristic design which was supposed to have been built in Prague and was nicknamed ‘The Blob’. Many different elements came together: NoFit State Circus provided their unique Big Top or chapiteau for the performance, which was very suitable, wasn’t it.

“Yes. NoFit State Circus provided the chapiteau and the shape of it, by chance, was perfect, evoking on a smaller scale the Kaplický design. The other reason, is that the site of the tent is very close to the original site where the Blob, had it been built, would have stood. So the festival commissioned Cirque Garuda to put together a videomapping performance, playing on motifs of lights and movement. So that was the result of thinking ahead.”

Rasposo, photo: archive of Letní LetnáRasposo, photo: archive of Letní Letná What were some of the reactions? The music was evocative a little of a kind of electronic undersea world, some of the projected images abstract but octopoid-like in their movement and dynamics, evoking the Blob? What were the reactions?

“I think they were very positive in general: some of the images were more abstract but then part of the videomapping revealed what the building would have looked like inside with many floors and there were silhouettes of the visitors.”

And of course the enormous eye – which would have been a giant glass window - overlooking Prague?

“In general, the idea of Kaplický’s library is well-appreciated. He was very-much appreciated as an architect…”

It kind of drove the point home that Prague is really starved of brave new buildings or building designs (whether you were a fan of The Blob or not)…

“It was well-presented and the audience enjoyed it and we were happy, too, that the weather worked out. The show, suggested on a smaller scale, what that Eye over Prague would have been like.”

Last week we dedicated a whole feature to NoFit State Circus in the Arts from August 14t but of course there are many great performers and shows worthy of attention. Rasposo is one.

Cirkus Tety, photo: archive of Letní LetnáCirkus Tety, photo: archive of Letní Letná “Rasposo, from France, to put it in music festival terms, are the second big international headliner this year. Like NoFit, they have their own chapiteau which they put up and their own caravans, so they are also living not far from the festival site. I think this company offers a very nice contrast to NoFit State Circus: NoFit is very spectacular, wild with loud live music and the experience overwhelms the audience. Rasposo, by contrast, is more theatrical, with a more intimate atmosphere. It looks like it could be taking place in a bar or more like a cabaret show. It is mall with a decadent mood involving very nice elements of contemporary circus: jumps, acrobatics and so on. Also with live music and singing.”

It is interesting to see how many different forms of expression come out of the same or similar physical disciplines. Czech companies too are making headlines, as they have in past years.

“Yes, that’s right. One thing to take note of is that many or most of the performances are not at all language-based so that also makes them very attractive for an international audience. Many shows are worth recommending, including Cirkus Tety, a Czech company, about two girls who have turned over 30 and how they adapt. It involves acrobatics but also theatrical elements and is also intimate.”