30 Looks at 69.857142857

Opus Osm

The cast aged an average of 70, doesn't let the number stop them.

The Producers of Edge, all in their 30s, work with the cast of 69.857142857 – that’s the average age of the seven performers.

Krzysztof Raczkowski, a ballet dancer/actor, is the youngest one. He’s only 59.

At the other end of the age scale, Martin Bálik, a set designer and narrator, is 84. And the rest of the lively cast of still young, so-called “old agers” are professionally-trained dancers with long careers, now in their 60s and 70s.

They all come together in the unscripted “devised theatre” piece Edge, which rolled out Feb 24 in the green marble lobby at The New Stage in Prague. Edge is directed by Petra Tejnorová (of Timing – see Opus Osm July 11, 2012).

Edge, which is looking for more European tour venues, originally began as short, documentary-style videos filmed late last summer and early fall. These videos set the Nová Scéna stage for the live action dance, improvisation, mime, and theatre.

30 Looks at 60
All the topics and themes were created to appeal to a general public of all ages, according to Karolina Hejnová, of Alt@rt association, the producers, because “Everyone on the production team – the director, choreographer, dramaturge, set designer, and musician – is about 30 years old. So, they may be focused on different themes in old-agers’ lives than the older directors and dancers themselves are,” she says.

Opus Osm

Ján Sedal and Krzysztof Raczkowski in a dramatic moment from 'Edge'

But the performance is not a nostalgic look backward – by either generation — at what the dancers did when they were young. Rather, it’s a kind of catalog accounting for all the richness of experience which imbues the performers’ lives, all of whom seem set and eager for the best years yet to come.

Thus, in Edge you can see men and women who look just like the grannies and grampies you see every day on the street or on the tram; but these seniors float effortlessly about the stage: from 79-year-old Alois Bílek’s elegant tap dance and headstand, to the granny-plump, 76-year-old Mária Zagátová’s prickly ballroom instruction, to muscly Mr Raczkowski’s hilarious interpretation of Bruce Lee dancing ballet. Other cast members are actor Ján Sedal (67), ballet dancer Beatrice Cordua (72), and dancer/choreographer Ildikó Móger (59).

The English-subtitled piece ends with a beautiful twist on an “old” video technique. Instead of showing young people growing old, resulting in the wrinkled, wise faces of the current cast, it goes the other way: In turn, the face of each cast member is shown morphing into its 30-year-old (or even younger) version of itself.

It’s a gorgeous way to prove the point that inside these outer shells, there live and thrive artists still filled with foibles, expectations, frustrations, wisdom, talent, dreams — and undeniable, vigorous life. — oo

– Mary Matz

Photo Credits: Miroslav Setnička

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