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DarkroomObject Theatre, length 75 min

Photo Jaka Varmuž
Darkroom is an object-music cabaret based on Hans Christian Andersen's The Steadfast Tin Soldier, which is considered one of his most famous stories, but also the first one not based on a literary source or a folk tale. It thus marks the beginning of the author's original creative period. It was written almost 200 years ago and has been adapted numerous times, including for ballet performances and films.

In his imagination, Andersen animates flowers, cups and statuettes by attributing a primordial trait to them. If a flower flourishes, it is conceited. In this respect, Andersen's expression is distinctly puppet-like, since his objects always act as subjects. If a soldier falls off a shelf, he fell because he wanted to escape. 

In the same way, Darkroom explores the traits of objects from their perspective and brings them to life in a primal way. The rhythmical text and expressive musical passages and phrases are then woven into an active relationship with them, creating a relationship between minimalism and cacophony, and contrasts between the atmosphere of the tea ceremony and the live animation of the material. And like Andersen, the performance exposes its soldier-viewer to the elements of earth, air, water and fire, but places them in a photography studio, a darkroom.

In this darkroom, objects, animators and spectators leave memory imprints of events from their city and those from Andersen's stories. The imprints then literally evolve before our eyes and enter into new relationships. They manifest themselves between granite paving stones, lead spoons, discarded cans and screws. See the world from the perspective of tin soldiers who never wanted to be soldiers. 

The performance uses excerpts from Andersen's The Steadfast Tin Soldier, translated by Janez Gradišnik and published by Epta (1997). 

Matija Solce, a renowned and award-winning puppet director, actor, puppeteer and musician, holds a PhD from the DAMU Academy in Prague. His work closely intertwines music and theatre, so his puppet performances are also interactive musical compositions. Often in the form of object theatre, they contain precise rhythmic animation with a fragmented dramaturgy, through which the audience becomes part of the theatrical experiment and is constantly in the process of discovering the unexpected.

The Ljubljana Puppet Theatre is one of the partners of the European project Puppets & Design (P&D), alongside Gorizia's CTA (Centre for Theatre Animation), the Czech Studio Damúza and the Istituto Europeo di Design (European Institute of Design) from Spain. The aim of the project, which brings together puppeteers and industrial designers, is to breathe soul into ordinary, everyday objects and give them a whole new meaning and, above all, an artistic context within object theatre. In order to earn a soul, a life and a destiny, objects must transcend their limiting materiality and utilitarian dimension.

Part of the European project Puppets & Design

Author: Matija Solce
Director, adaptation and author of music: Matija Solce
Art design: Tomáš Žižka, Nerea Cuesta Garcia
Dramaturgy: Jelena Sitar, Benjamin Zajc
Cast: Asja Kahrimanović Babnik, Gašper Malnar, Miha Arh, Filip Šebšajevič g. a., (Tončica Knez g. a., Klemen Kovačič g. a., Tajda Lipicer g. a., Sara Šoukal g. a., Helena Šukljan g. a.)
Co-writer of music: Filip Šebšajevič
Asistant director: Tončica Knez
Set design assistant: Katarina Planinc
Lighting design: Kristjan Vidner
Props Technologists: Zoran Srdić, Olga Milić
Stage manager and Sound designer: Aleš Erjavec
Producer: Alja Cerar Mihajlović
Lights: Kristjan Vidner
Set technician: Stanko Božanić
Puppets, set and costume production: Olga Milić, Iztok Bobić, David Klemenčič, Sandra Birjukov, Marjetka Valjavec, Nerea Cuesta Garcia, Blaž Vrhovec, Uroš Mehle, Zoran Srdić