Tied Down by Grass

Tied Down by Grass

A story of a naked monk, an emperor, a general and an elephant about life, death and tiny insects. A theatrical retreat from a world of chaos to a company of fragile metal puppets, noises and shadows.

Written by, direction, stage design and music: Pavla Dombrovská and Luděk Vémola
Puppets: Zdenka Klanicová

For adults (children 5+)
Duration: 45 minutes

next performance
Hrajeme na Festival Off Avignon od 29. června do 21. července (každý den kromě 2., 9. a 16.7.)

O hře

About performance

The stories in the play come from The Compass of Zen (Seung Sahn) and Les plus beaux contes Zen (Henri Brunel) collections and are thematically related to respect for life. The play uses natural materials, non-descriptive metal puppets made of wires and coloured plastics. The original visual form is created by a simultaneous use of puppets and shadow play both before and behind a paper screen. The play is accompanied by a narrator and a musician playing a modified double bass and other unique acoustic instruments.

Technické podmínky

Technical specification

  • Setup time: 3 hours
  • Duration: 45 minutes
  • Disassembly time: 1 hour
  • Complete darkness needed
  • Stage dimensions: 4 x 4 x 2,5 m (width x depth x height)
  • Max audience limit: 100
  • Electricity 230V/16A
  • More information for organizers.

Media KIT

Advertising materials
(poster, programme, photo)

Fabrizio Montecchi

…It is always difficult to know what the state of health of contemporary shadow theatre is at a given moment, an artistic field in continuous technical and linguistic evolution, full of new scenic solutions but still lacking, in many parts of the world, a true cultural root. This makes it very fragile, subject to a state of permanent instability which can jeopardize its very existence. Today shadow theatre companies are born and die in a short time and with them die the research and experimentation paths they started.

It was therefore a great and beautiful surprise to discover the work of the Lisen Theatre Company and to appreciate not only their technical expertise but also, and above all, their personal idea of shadow theatre. In it I found many of what I believe to be the fundamental elements of the lexicon and grammar of shadow theatre, however developed in new contemporary forms. These elements, of which I will list only the three most important below, have been used by them with competence and dramaturgical coherence.

The first element: the scenic space. Upon entering the room, I immediately noticed the set system consisting of a large screen of a material that referred to leather, supported by wooden elements. The whole suggested that the action would take place not only behind but also in front of the screen. So it was: indeed, the shadow action took place for the most part “in sight” with continuous counterpoints of shadows “not in sight”. This continuous dialogue between in front of and behind the screen was not gratuitous but coherent with the type of imagery proposed, built starting from three-dimensional objects and artefacts that could also be appreciated as such and not only as creators of shadows.

And here is the second element: manipulation techniques. Different manipulation techniques are proposed and combined in the show ranging from opaque to transparent silhouettes, from real three-dimensional objects (the basket) to artefacts, also three-dimensional, built for the occasion (the main characters). This compositional freedom, dramaturgically well used, is a sign of great expressive vitality because it shuns the use of only codified techniques inherited from traditions and opens shadow theatre to the complexity of reality, of which the shadow is a part. Everything, potentially, can be used in the shadow theatre.

Third element: the use of light. What has been said above would not be possible without a wise use of the different light sources. Not only are different lights used in the show (fixed and moving, hot and cold, etc.) starting from their technical possibilities, but they are also used for their expressive and communicative possibilities. A light that turns on is a world that announces itself, it is a world that opens up to the viewer. The authors of the show are extremely aware of this and soberly sip the different lights according to the dramaturgical needs.

To conclude, a few lines also on the writing, built on the balance between narration and dialogue and on the presence of the performers, well balanced in the relationship with the presence of the bodies-objects and shadows.
The whole gave me the impression of a great awareness of the scenic and dramaturgical possibilities of contemporary shadow theatre.
/Fabrizio Montecchi – director, Teatro Gioco Vita etc./

Dvacet let Divadla Líšeň a inscenace Spoutaný trávou (Česká televize, Události v kultuře, 2018)

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