OpusOsm Minutka: The Little Mermaid (Malá mořská víla)

Five Fast Facts About the Czech National Ballet’s Classic Fairy Tale

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Foto Pavel Hejný

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1 The Czech National Ballet (CNB)’s take on The Little Mermaid is far closer to the Hans Christian Andersen book than the Disney film. Parents may even want to prepare little ones who come in expecting a happy ever after between Ariel and Prince Eric for a slightly different story. Lukás Trpišovský of the stage direction team SKUTR explained that they drew inspiration from both the story and Andersen’s life. “Nothing is made up and that is why Andersen’s narratives so strongly impress us [...] The Little Mermaid and Hans Christian Andersen shared the very same Fate.

 

 foto022 Despite these connections to a classic fairy tale, this Little Mermaid has a contemporary feel. The music from contemporary composer Zbyněk Matějů, is an integral element of strorytelling, adding the piercing strings of siren voices or slow, haunting sounds of life under the sea. His symphonic contributions go beyond providing rhythm for the dancers – they propelling the narrative forward from scene to scene.
Ariel and prince Eric (foto Dáša Wharton)

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foto033 Choreographer Jan Kodet adds modern movement to the show, with the dancers’ fluid arms and long, loose hair swaying like seaweed in the waves. Arial’s transition from mermaid state to legs on land is not left to obvious costuming, but emphasized with a transition from grace on her feet to childlike stumbling as she learns to navigate her new limbs. This is not Kodet’s first fairly tale collaboration with CNB. He directed the dancing for Goldilocks in 2006 and The Sorcerer’s Apprentice in 2013.
Percing strings of siren voices (foto Martin Divíšek)

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foto044 The lights and props add further depth to the music and movement of this story. One standout scene includes Prince Eric and a group of friends racing across the waves on wooden surfboards while steering with ropes in their hands. Daniel Tesař’s lights transport the audience easily from the depths of the ocean to the star-filled skies over dry land . The Little Mermaid sets and props walk a simple, yet effective line between minimalist and eye-catching.
Eric’s friends on surfboards (foto Martin Divíšek)

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foto055 These production elements set the stage for the cast to shine, with praise directed as much towards the overall ensemble as a singular star. Prince Eric and Ariel may get the final bows, but Grandmother, the mermaids, the prince’s friends, and silly Serafín could all be crowned as crowd favorites on a given night. The movement sets the mood, the music tells the story, and the props and lighting add believable details, making this family-friendly show a complete team effort.
Prince´s friends are crowned as crowd´s favourites (foto H. Smejkalová)

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Your next chance to catch The Little Mermaid is June 24, 2017

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                                                                                                                                                               Auburn  Scallon
20170308

http://www.narodni-divadlo.cz/en/show/10770?t=2016-12-20-19-00

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