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Miracle theatre and vertical dancing: Five major performances of the Inspiration art festival

Rimini Protokoll, NoGravity and Les Plasticiens Volants. We found out more about the main participants of the Inspiration art festival. This year, the festival’s main theme is theatre.

Cabaret, documentary shows, flights to baroque music and vertical dancing to industrial music – this is what the audience will be able to see during this year’s Inspiration art festival. The festival’s programme, which was developed by Roman Dolzhansky and Ingeborga Dapkunaite, dwells on modern theatres in all their manifestations. Hurry up – the festival starts on 20 July.

Space Odyssey by Les Plasticiens Volants theatre (France)

Date: 31 July

Time: 9 pm

Venue: VDNKh’s Main alley

Free admission

Les Plasticiens Volants street theatre was established in1976. Back then, it only consisted of two artists living in Paris. Now, the significantly expanded theatre is based in the old tannery located in the Tarn area (department) of the Midi-Pyrenees region. With the help of giant marionettes (with some over 20 metres tall), pyrotechnic effects and music, this theatre opens a portal to the world of dreams and fairytales no matter where the show takes place: in a busy street, on a city square, a stadium or out in the wilds.

Les Plasticiens Volants theatre participated in the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympic Games held in Sydney, Sochi and Barcelona, and various theatre festivals held in different cities around the world: from Avignon, France, to Taipei, Taiwan. The theatre has also been to Moscow. In 2015, it participated in the Inspiration art festival for the first time. Then, the artists presented their Pearl show, which is dedicated to the life of sea creatures. This time around, these French magicians will show something really special. Space Odyssey is the performance that the theatre developed specially for Moscow.

Aria by Emiliano Pellisari’s NoGravity theatre (Italy)

Date: 2-4 August

Time: 8 pm

Venue: VDNKh’s Green Theatre, the floating stage

Admission by ticket only

The Italian NoGravity theatre’s performances also feature flights, except they are performed not by the marionettes controlled by skilled puppeteers, but by actual artists – singers and dancers. Their skills are so unmatched that the audience cannot but believe everything happening on stage. Exactly how the artists accomplish this is a big secret of the theatre’s director, writer, video designer and choreographer Emiliano Pellisari, who had been studying ancient theatres, Baroque miracle theatres and mechanical inventions of the Renaissance epoch for many years. His theatre’s performances bring together innovations of the past, possibilities of modern stage machinery and, of course, magic.

Pellisari had to patent his know-how to prevent people from copying it, even though he says that no one can actually and exactly copy what the artists of his theatre do onstage.

To the music by Vivaldi, Monteverdi and Pergolesi performed by the Roma Barocca authentic instrumental ensemble, sirs, madams, harlequins and minstrels wearing luxurious dresses and tall powdered wigs gather round on the stage. Defying gravity, they launch off the stage and start performing challenging acrobatic numbers, singing and dancing right in mid-air, while the audience holds their breath in awe.

Situation Rooms by Rimini Protokoll theatre company (Germany, Switzerland)

Date: 20-29 July

Time: depends on the show

Venue: VDNKh’s Pavilion No. 69

Admission by ticket only

The German-Swiss Rimini Protokoll theatre company needs no introduction. Their popular Remote Moscow promenade project was held as part of the Remote X project, where organised groups of people set off into the city, following the instructions of the voice in their headphones. Apart from their entertaining promenade projects, Rimini Protokoll are also known for documentary shows, which are, perhaps, even more entertaining despite the absence of action or actors in their conventional sense.

For instance, the action of their project called Legacy: Plays Without People, which was presented last year during the Territoriya festival, is set in eight rooms. The audience forms groups of eight to enter each of the rooms for exactly 10 minutes. Before they enter the rooms, the participants learn that behind the doors they will see installations inspired by stories of people who know they will die soon.

At the Inspiration festival, Rimini Protokoll will present a similar project. For the Situation Rooms project, authors Stefan Kaegi, Daniel Wetzel and Helgard Haug spoke with two dozen people whose biographies have been shaped by wars or weapons: some were under fire; others happened to be in the area where a ballistic missile had fallen, while some had to point weapons at other people. Inside the rooms, which were created in accordance with these people’s descriptions, the audience will experience the situations that had shaped their biographies, to literally stand in their shoes with the help of augmented reality tablets and headphones.

Lyudmila Petrushevskaya’s Anniversary Cabaret

Date: 3 and 4 August

Time: 8 pm

Venue: VDNKh’s House of Culture Pavilion (bldg. 84)

Admission by ticket only

Lyudmila Petrushevskaya, who has recently celebrated her 80th anniversary, will hold her Anniversary Cabaret show within the framework of the Inspiration festival. During the show, she will project herself into Marlene Dietrich and Edith Piaf, an old sassy lady and a poor orphan girl, as well as sing, recite and treat the audience to live music and kind humour that her plays, stories and novels are known for.

Lyudmila Petrushevskaya started singing some 10 years ago. In 2010, she released her first album; in 2012, she released a second one. Today, she has just as many fans of her singing as fans of her writing. Her Anniversary Cabaret show was held in many cities around  the world, including New York, Budapest, London and Sao Paulo.

Waterlitz by Generik Vapeur theatre (France)

Date: 27-29 July

Time: 9 pm

Venue: VDNKh, the Industry Square

Free admission

One more French street theatre called Generik Vapeur will treat VDNKh visitors with their trademark performance. The key feature of the disturbing and beautiful Waterlitz performance is the 19-metre tall construction made from eight seaport containers, which serves as a stage for daring acrobatic stunts and vertical dancing, which are completed with video projections and firework displays. In a course of one hour, theatre artists will manage to tell the audience about the catastrophic events in the history of the world, environmental problems and nightmares of those living in modern mega-cities.

Created back in 1984, the Generik Vapeur street theatre is the offspring of rock singer Katie Avram (who still writes music for all theatre’s performances) and artist and director Pierre Berthelot. Industrial landscapes and noises are major inspiration for these artists, who remain loyal to the 1980’s style while keeping pace with the world’s leading street theatres.