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23 september 2021

Critique of the play TO THEATRE WITH LOVE

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Critique of the play TO THEATRE WITH LOVE

Love for the theater and the audience

author: Divna Stojanov

If an example of puppetry for children is to be send by Voyager 1, a spacecraft whose mission is to reach intellectual extraterrestrial life and introduce it to our civilization through photographs, music and records, it seems to me that it would have to be a play To theatre with love by Children's Theater Subotica directed by Bonjo Lungov and Konstantin Karakostov.

The show is like looking through a kaleidoscope, and by sharpening the image we recognize animals (frog, rabbit, dog, peacock, crocodile, giraffe, camel ...) and people (dancers like Michael Jackson, a shepherd and a girl, a folklore troupe, an actor ... ). Everything takes place behind a thin black veil over which stars or animal habitats are projected, and looking over the veil completes the feeling of magic (scenography: Bonjo Lungov and Konstantin Karakostov). The scenes are interconnected by a monologue, which narrates a short history acting and puppetry in very poetic language. Music (Konstantin Karakostov) starts with classical music, and continues with songs by ABBA, Michael Jackson, electro music, and ends with the Serbian kolo.

The well-coordinated theater ensemble (Danka Balać, Imelda Vereš, Danijel Dudaš, Elvira Gal, Zalan Greguš, Endre Kočiš, Ksenija Mitrović, Uroš Mladenović, Viktorija Palfi, Gertrude Fridrik) animates seven different types of puppets showing dexterity and exccelence. They create and move animals and people made of colorful plates of geometric shapes, of large spongy surfaces, long silk ribbons, hoses, clothes, they use puppets pulled on the hand, puppets on the stick and in one scene they play with a theater of shadows. The actors gradually assemble the puppets made of several parts in front of the audience, then move the puppet as a whole, and then the scene is disassembled and transformed into another form. The gradualness and precision in the construction of the puppets delighted the children in the audience.

As Subotica is a multinational environment, the penultimate scene is staging of a Hungarian folk tale about a shepherd in love with a girl who turns into a swan, and the last scene is musicians and folklorists in traditional Serbian folk costumes who play kolo. Thus, the idea of tolerance and exchange of culture was underlined.

The play showed exactly what its title itself says, very simply and subtly - love for the theater. It also showed how and from what a puppet can be made, how can it move, what a puppeteer can do with a puppet in general. The narration voices served only as a kind of homage and gratitude for the perseverance of art of acting through the centuries. To Theater with Love, it is a play that focuses on theatricality itself, answers the question of what is theatrical in children's theater, and brings the visuality and skill of the puppeteer to perfection.

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Subotica International Festival of Children's Theatres