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TunnelMaterial theatre, length 50 min

Photo Mitja Vasič
Tunnel is an unusual production that seeks comfort in the dark and treats light like a delicious dessert. At first it seems that the light can be controlled, while the darkness—unknown, dangerous —cannot. However, in the performance, the situation is soon reversed – with a pinch of courage and a pinch of cooperation, we can safely enjoy the darkness as we dose it ourselves.

Eeny, meeny, miny, moe,

I will tell you where to go,

so you don’t fall into the darkness,

so you don't get lost in the forest,

eeny, meeny, miny, moe.

Tunnel is inhabited by both light and darkness. Light is inseparably linked to colour, shape, structure, depth, distance, and activity. When there is no light, it is dark. In darkness we cannot see colours, we cannot perceive actual shapes and sizes, we cannot perceive structure without touching, we can hardly determine distances. The world revealed in the light disappears, sounds become distorted without a clear picture and many people feel discomfort. Fear?

We are different – some more courageous, others less so; some assertive, even impulsive, others timid, immovable or calmly prudent. Loud and quiet, together and apart. We like different things, we dislike different things. Because we are different, we are also differently afraid of very different things. We don't know it until it is for real. But when is it for real?

For example ...

One day we are all playing in our own way and someone suggests playing with light. And he or she finds a way – a switch. But playing with light also means playing with darkness ... And if the switch breaks? Do we then still know what colour, shape, texture, size the world is? Where are we? And who are we – do we also change, lose our colour, shape, structure, depth and size?

Only when we are really scared (aha, maybe this is for real!) is the moment to decide – to move forward with courage. Only forward gets us anywhere, and only courage can help us get there. And it is great that there are more of us, that we are different, that we are afraid of different things in different ways, because then we are also courageous in different ways, and with different courage we look at different fears in different ways, and we stare into the darkness long enough for our eyes to get used to it, for it to become familiar, and we travel through it, and we rejoice in it, and we laugh at it, and if we want to, we squeeze it into a corner and we pierce it with the most beautiful colours. We become switches for light. (And for colours, shapes, textures, sizes, depths and distances, oops, proximities.) On-off, on-off, on-off, on-off.

Based on the animation of light and darkness, the performance creates a 'darkround' (a playground for darkness), where associative visual and sound images are created that playfully raise questions about fear and courage. In material theatre, the event is conceived on the basis of the use of the material, which takes into account its physical, chemical, utilitarian and symbolic properties. In Tunnel, the animators animate and define the forms of darkness and light, discovering their movement and character, and bringing them to the point where they become a medium, not just a sensory perception. They offer young audiences an associative playground in which to exercise their imaginative world and polish their creativity, and adults a reflection on the dimensions of this omnipresent, intangible substance, which is quite impossible to grasp in one fell swoop.  

Miha Golob is a theatre and puppet director who has received a number of awards in the field of puppetry both abroad and at home. His original concepts are often based on the idea of exploration and play with material, which consistently ensures an active and creative role of the spectator. In 2017, he directed the aquatic adventure Aquarium at LGL, and last season he continued his journey through analogue playgrounds with Sand Pit as a creative, social and civilizing playground. This year, as part of the European Mapping project, he returns to the Ljubljana Puppet Theatre with his original project Tunnel, in which light and darkness are the key theatrical symbols and the field of research.

Co-produced with the Klaipėda Puppet Theatre (LT)

As part of the European project Mapping

The Klaipėda Puppet Theatre (1991) boldly focuses on discovering new ways of puppet expression, and its repertoire consists of interpretations by both local and foreign authors. The only professional puppet theatre in western Lithuania produces works for audiences of all ages. The theatre's main mission is to present classical and contemporary puppetry to children and young people from Klaipėda and the region, to make them culturally literate and to support them in forming their own value system, which in recent years has established the theatre as an important carrier of the cultural programme for children and young people in Lithuania. Since 1997, they have been organising the biennial Materia Magica, a renowned international puppet festival.

Mapping – A Map on the aesthetics of performing arts for early years – is a large-scale international project supported by the Creative Europe Programme 2018–2022.The project focuses on artistic research and the creation of a sensory relationship with young audiences (0–6 years old), resulting in four exhibitions, 16 premieres for younger audiences and five illustrated expert publications.

The co-production of the Klaipeda Puppet Theater and the Ljubljana Tunel Puppet Theater received the Lithuanian Art Award Golden Stage Cross, awarded by the Ministry of Culture, in the category of creations for children and young people in 2022.

WARNING: The performance includes lighting effects that may disturb sensitive viewers.

Premiere: 10 October 2022, Šentjakob Stage LGL

Director, art director, set designer: Miha Golob
Dramaturgy: Mojca Redjko
Costume designer: Dajana Ljubičić
Music: Andrius Šiurys
Virtual content designer: Borut Kumperščak
Lighting designer: Gregor Kuhar
Actors: Miha Arh, Gašper Malnar, ft. Barbara Kanc, ft. Filip Šebšajevič
Sincere thanks for kind cooperation: Ada, Ana, Brin, Jonatan, Lara, Luisa, Oliver, Timeja, Varja, Veno, Vid, Zora
Performance manager, sound designer and video technician: Aleš Erjavec
Recording conversations and editing audio recordings: Mitja Vasič, Aleš Erjavec, Izidor Kozelj
Producer: Alja Cerar Mihajlović, Agnė Pulokaitė
Lighting control: Gregor Kuhar/Kristjan Vidner
Set, puppets, props and costumes: Polona Černe, Sandra Birjukov, David Klemenčič, Zlatko Djogić, Zoran Srdić, Monika Colja, Smrekca d.o.o.
Mirror production: Konveks, Oliver Frlić, s.p.