written by Leslaw Piecka and Wojciech Szelachowski
directed by Leslaw Piecka
set and puppet design by Joanna Braun
music by FRYDERYK CHOPIN
marionettes constructed by Zbigniew Romanyk
KARINA KOMENDERA // KRZYSZTOF TRZASKOWSKI, piano
Absolutely every detail has been worked out. The puppet's fingers move precisely in the rhythm of the mazurkas, nocturnes and waltzes as played by Trzaskowski. At a certain moment, the audience stops paying attention to the puppeteers. It is just as if the marionette were moving completely by itself.
– Anna Kopec, Kurier Poranny
, is a theatrical reflection on the life and work of the world's greatest composer for the piano, performed in perfect synchrony by a Polish virtuoso pianist and by marionettes representing the composer and the historical figures who surrounded him. The marionette pianist measures about a foot tall and seems to master the keyboard with the agility and genius of Chopin. This takes expert marionette technique, unusual mechanical design and skill. In preparation for this feat, the puppeteers trained for weeks watching a pianist's hands. With minimal narration and with silent manipulation of the marionette cast accompanied by selections from Chopin's works, they also enact his artistic friendships, musical impressions, and life experiences. These include his fascination with Paganini, his relationships with George Sand and with his fiancee Maria Wodzinska, his longings for Poland, the lost country of his childhood, his creative dilemmas, artistic visions, and moods that ranged from the joy of success to the pain of despair, from the poetic to the paranoid.
The Bialystok Puppet Theatre is one of the leading puppet theaters in Europe and one of the oldest Polish theater companies to cultivate a puppet repertoire for adults. Since 1972, it has regularly produced works by such authors as Boccaccio, Calderon, Rostand, Gogol, Bernhard, Rozewicz, and Mrozek.
The piece was originally commissioned by the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage as part of the worldwide celebration of The Year of Chopin 2010, celebrating the bicentennial of the composer's birth in Zelazowa Wola, Poland. Created by The Bialystok Puppet Theatre, the production debuted in March 2010 in the Polish city that bears its name. In New York the play will be presented as a part of the The La MaMa Puppet Series IV–Built to Perform, an annual event that carries on La MaMa's long standing tradition of supporting puppet theater artists from all over the world.
Chopin – An Impression is presented by La MaMa E.T.C. in association with the Polish Cultural Institute in New York. Additional support comes from the Trust for Mutual Understanding, The Jim Henson Foundation, and The Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland.
MORE ABOUT FRYDERYK CHOPIN