International puppet theatre festival Materia Magica will take place in Klaipėda on May 2–7. Every two years, starting from 1997, the festival seeks to present the audience as diverse puppet theatre as possible – traditional, experimental and interdisciplinary plays.
Puppet theatre, still cherishing the memory of archaic cult and initiation rituals, has always stood out in the field of performing arts due to its nature and means of expression. In the last decade it has become clear that puppet theatre not only welcomes artistic experiments, but also extends its generic borders by sometimes erasing them completely or merging with other art forms. That’s why nowadays this fluidity of forms and genres is becoming a pressing issue, inviting us to discuss and to ask, whether those plays we attend still belong to puppet theatre or whether it is even necessary to belong to some specific theatre form, whether it affects the way we perceive and understand performances in general.
This year organizers of the festival will invite artists, participants and spectators to reflect on the topic of gravity. Astronomy defines centre of gravity as a point around which the force of gravity appears to act, attracting some other astronomical object, for example, this centre of gravity can be a star, a planet or a centre of a galaxy. In the context of puppet theatre and its trends we will try to note and analyse the shift of genuine and alternative forms – what is currently at the centre of gravity of the puppet theatre, what is this sun that puppet theatre revolves around? Or maybe puppet theatre has become a supernova – an exploded star, the remains of which are scattered all around space like a mist, floating around without having any precise shape. What can we call puppet theatre? Can we still find generic borders in this visual form of art that is becoming more and more interdisciplinary?
During this six-day festival organizers will try to introduce the audience to as many various means of puppet theatre expressions as possible: the spectators will be able to enjoy not only traditional puppet theatre performances, but also those plays that have drifted away from the centre of gravity or even entered a whole new gravitational field. Various discussions and workshops for both theatre critics and researchers by a playwright, modern puppet theatre researcher, Stuttgart and Leipzig University professor Jonas Klinkenberg will take place along with the performances.
We hope and believe that in this changing theatre world there is one holding force, connecting and merging separate levels and details into one, we hope and believe that there is gravity.