It’s the beginning of the twentieth century and a conjuror, illusionist, and owner of a cheap cabaret is living out his dreams in magical Prague. He is obsessed with the technical miracles of his times: film, photography, and the husky sound of the phonograph. Yet his favourite fantasies are those of riding across the plains of Arizona, drinking with weather-beaten gunslingers at a saloon and holding wild and beautiful women in his arms. At least that’s the image he had gleaned from the Wild West silent westerns and yellowed photographs telling stories of a faraway land. And because his life is a constant balancing act between illusion and reality, it is not difficult for him to embark on a journey into the dream world.
After ten years, the Forman Brothers Theatre is embarking on a new adventure. In our nomadic life we have sailed the seas, wandered through opera houses, travelled with a ragtag troupe or made our living chasing hens and pigs around a wooden shack.
Our new expedition is heading west… to the Wild West. Into a time that has been genuinely cap-tured only in black and white photographs and is as unforgiving to strangers as the turbulent sea is to theatre-makers setting sail from the centre of Europe.
Apart from old photographs, our image of the Wild West was shaped by silent western films and slapstick comedies. As naïve children from a small Czech town, we can easily believe that the Wild West of the turn of the century looked black and white or coloured in soft shades of
sepia. And if we happen to have lost this idea by now, that imperfect image still remains close to our theatrical vision.
Thus, this new performance by the Forman Brothers Theatre oscillates between theatre and silent film.
A few years ago, a poor travelling troupe couldn’t have even dreamt of such a combination. But time marches on and new technologies are developing at an even faster pace and are becoming availa-ble to us as well. To achieve the proper and most compelling illusion, we have also constructed a new theatre tent.
Like in our previous shows, we are trying to make use of this space in all its dimensions. Thanks to the imagination and work of designers who have been collaborating with us for such a long time, we are also striving to bring puppets, masks or painted sets to the play as well.
Naturally, this is connected with distinct acting, subtle light moods, film animations, live and recorded music or rich foley effects – all combined into images and atmospheres supporting the story and its message.
The beginning of the 20th century was a time of new technological miracles. In addition to moving pictures, there was also the photographic apparatus, phonograph or the first record players. It was often just a funfair amusement – entertainment that many people felt attracted to but scared others. No wonder the owner of a dubious Prague cabaret, a conjurer and illusionist, a person for whom the border between imagination and reality is not always clear, is absolutely enthralled by these zany novelties. A man obsessed with a passion for the world of the Wild West, dreaming of the rough life of gunslingers, the desolate Arizona desert and exotic beauties bring his fantasies even closer to life thanks to these inventions. And as his business in such a remote place as the narrow streets of Prague is not exactly thriving, he decides to turn his dream into a new adventure – to take specta-tors on a journey where illusions become a new reality.