PIF or About Life
In recent years, we have witnessed a strange phenomenon: people are coming to the conclusion that they might be mortal. Astonishing! Until recently, they had no idea. What they knew for centuries, and were therefore able to cope with, has been obliterated by the modern era. Let's not talk about it and it won't happen! Let's buy forever-young products, let's use forever-beautiful creams, let's not think about anything … and we will live happily ever after. If a theatre had the audacity to put on a performance for children that addressed the dreaded topic whose name starts with the letter d, teachers would refuse to take children to see that performance. They wanted to keep them safe from life. (There are still some today. I don't know what they say to their child when their grandmother dies. Do they say that she went to buy cigarettes and never returned?)
And now, behold, the topic of death is increasingly addressed in children's theatre. But this is no longer the same Skeleton with a scythe in her hand that reaps everything in her way. Now, she's a friend, our Sister Bodily Death, as she was affectionately called by Saint Francis. PIF befriended her in 2015 in a multi-award-winning performance Duck, Death and the Tulip in which Duck happily played with her friend Death. Adults emerged from the performance in tears, while children came out smiling and happy.
This year, a little bear saddened by his grandfather's death and inspired by his mother's words that his grandfather is now in the sky for bear, goes on a quest to find this sky. A boy's guinea pig is becoming weaker and sicker; soon he'll … go to buy cigarettes and never return (even though the performance from Ljubljana is called So Long). Jack the Fearless will try to courageously fight the lady with a skull for a head, not wanting to give his grandmother away, to finally realise how important the lady is for life.
This year's performances address other important topics as well. They talk about a missing piece needed to complete a circle; about love, marriage, kidnapping and a search for a bride (in a Russian story set in an Iranian environment); about lust, passion and manipulation that will result in a prophet's head on a platter; about an old windmill that gave everything to people only to have them burn it to the ground and build a new windmill in its place; about a small raccoon that will conquer a big fear; about becoming friends and parting until you see each other again. In addition to these themes, puppet theatre expresses its liveliness, vibrancy, freshness, dynamism and innovation through the manner in which it is performed. In their own words, with which we wholeheartedly agree, Teatro delle Briciole presents a new vision of the world and theatre. Their story is told through an irresistible combination of rhythm, animation, sound, image, puppets and objects that pop up from the pages of slightly different picture books like popcorn. In the performance Snow Queen from Maribor, puppets are not the only thing that's animated – so is sound. Israel is Spinning a Tale with puppets, wool, movement and – two skirts. We will also have a spatial novelty – for the first time in PIF's history, one performance (Session Bulgakov) will be staged in a tunnel. (Amid light, hopefully
Friday, September 13th, will be a happy day that will mark the beginning of a new joyful PIF that will live forever. Let's not talk about any other outcome; that way, it won't happen.
Livija Kroflin. phD, Associate Professor, Editor of the official PIF program