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The Sky AboveDocumentary theatre performance, length 40 min

The Sky Above, photo Jaka Varmuž
With the performance, director Tin Grabnar and other members of the creative team aim to raise awareness about the causes and effects of climate change; about the interconnection between events and people’s behaviour across the globalised world; and about the power of the individual to change things for the better.
The Sky Above takes us where few people have set foot, where the living conditions are different from what we are used to, where forests no longer grow, and where life has adapted to one of the most extreme environments on Earth: the Arctic, the kingdom of the polar bear, a landscape of sea, covered most of the year in a thick layer of ice and snow. This is also an area of high biodiversity, one telling new environmental stories every day.

The main protagonist is Nanook, a polar bear. Having just climbed out of his shelter, Nanook is taking a curious look around and making his first steps across the white plain, snow crystals giving way under his paws. A long and challenging journey lies ahead of him, and its fate also depends on us...

Nanook’s story is but the tip of the iceberg in the climate emergency humanity is facing today, and his journey illustrates just a handful of the situations one can see happening around the globe. It is no longer a question of whether or not the climate is changing; this is a reality unfolding before our eyes, affecting our daily lives. 

The performance puts together, moves around and takes apart striking scenes, using documentary principles to combine them into a tale of the environment’s impact on the polar bear. It explores the planet within various contexts, discussing it in relation to humans. It speaks of glorious, diverse nature—an increasingly degraded cosmos no longer able to withstand environmental change. Ever in motion, the narrative unfolds on a large shining platform that rotates around its axis, with the audience watching a bird’s-eye-view mirror image of the events unfurling in the Arctic. Using a mirror, the staging plays with perspective, turning gravitation upside down. This gravitational trick sets the stage for a magical sense of floating in empty space and for exploration of unconventional animation techniques.  

Tin Grabnar has worked extensively across the spectrum of performing arts and performative practices since the early days of his career. His interests include classical theatre as well as alternative, puppet and documentary theatre. A broad understanding of theatre practices and stage performance techniques enables him to incorporate into his work elements of dance, improvisation, contemporary puppetry, magic, performance art, and visual arts. In the last three years, together with collaborators, he has also developed or adapted the scripts for his productions, writing dialogue with the impact on the audience in mind, working to heighten its substance. In his work, Grabnar discusses subjects such as co-operation, community, group dynamics, and powerlessness, exploring communication in theatre, testing a broad set of performing strategies and adopting a collaborative approach to the creation of theatre. For Somewhere Else, a production of the Ljubljana Puppet Theatre, Grabnar has received a string of awards internationally. 

The performance has been supported by the University of Ljubljana as part of its centenary celebration.

The production is part of the N.A.P.P. project, supported by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union.

Premiere: 8. 2. 2020, Kino Šiška
Other shows: Stage Under the Stars LGL
Lutkovno gledališče Ljubljana, Mladinsko Theatre, University of Ljubljana, Kino Šiška Centre for Urban Culture
Authors: Tin Grabnar, Tjaša Bertoncelj, Tadeja Pungerčar
Directed and conceived: Tin Grabnar
Cast: Anita Gregorec / Ajda Toman, Lovro Finžgar
Dramaturgy: Tjaša Bertoncelj, Nina Šorak
Puppet design: Jasna Vastl
Music: Mitja Vrhovnik Smrekar
Violin: Pavla Smrekar
Scenic design: Tin Grabnar
Sound effects design: Mateja Starič
Language editing: Mateja Dermelj, Tina Malič
Puppet design assistant: Nastja Miheljak
Scenic design consultant: Sara Slivnik
Chemistry consultant: Žiga Ponikvar (University of Ljubljana)
Language coach: Mateja Dermelj
Lighting design: Kristjan Vidner
Stage manager and and sound technicians: Mitja Vasič
Lights: Kristjan Vidner
Set technicians: Iztok Vrhovnik, Kemal Vrabac Kordiš
Producers: Alja Cerar Mihajlović, Tadeja Pungerčar
Puppets, Set and Costumes Production: Nastja Miheljak, Jasna Vastl, Zala Kalan, David Klemenčič, Zoran Srdić, Žiga Lebar, Uroš Mehle s. p., UV d.o.o., Mizarstvo Perovšek, Sandra Birjukov