Rosťa Novák ml., Vít Neznal

RUNNERS We are living at a time when everything has to be ready straight away, experienced quickly, evaluated immediately. We try to catch everything, and what we don’t catch, we try to catch up with. It’s not enough to be good, tomorrow we have to be better. We want to move with the times, but the times have long moved ahead of us. We can’t stop, we can’t sleep, we can’t sit down, have a cup of coffee in peace and read at least one article from beginning to end. We have to run, because we don’t have time. We don’t have time, because time keeps on running. And getting time is a long distance race. A race during which our body is flooded with endorphins, so that we love this lifestyle. So much that even when the pandemic forces us to slow down, the number of runners goes up.

The international cast of the production brings together American acrobat Mandi Orozco, who spent several years in Cirque du Soleil, American acrobat and long-term member of Cirk La Putyka Ethan Law, winner of the Czech Dance Platform 2019 Viktor Černický, Tina Afyian Brei, who has worked with worldfamous directors (Roberto Olivan, Thomas Ryckewaert) and Czech contemporary dance scene discovery Sabina Bočková, recently shortlisted for the prestigious festival Aerowaves. The production is directed by Vít Neznal, who since 2020 has been Cirk La Putyka’s in-house director and participated in most of the company’s activities during the coronavirus crisis. The whole production takes place on a unique giant treadmill, created in Britain especially for the production and the only one of its kind in continental Europe.

“ Runners is an amusing and strongly associative circus essay on the euphoria that comes from movement, the desire for victory and the relativity of time. After all, someone running with all their might on a conveyor belt is paradoxically standing still.
——MARIE RESLOVÁ, Hospodářské noviny

“ In addition to the race itself, the belt offers several interesting diversions. Surprises come in the form of a ball rotating in the opposite direction, bicycle stunts and Ethan Law’s breathtaking closing solo with a hoop. The intelligible theme and the overall positive atmosphere wafting through the full tent makes Runners a highly likeable production.

VÍT NEZNAL (1988) creates theatre on the boundary between new circus and movement theatre. His work issues from the conviction that theatre provides an encounter that is totally irreplaceable, one that is marked not so much by rational knowledge as by a strong emotional experience. The creative team thus focuses on the immediacy of the theatrical event, the uniqueness and unrepeatability of each performance. The testimony of the production thus goes in a slightly different direction than is usual – it is based on, among other things, the emotional involvement of each audience member, and puts an emphasis on metaphors that audience members will easily relate to their own life stories.

ROSTISLAV NOVÁK JR. (1979) is a multifaceted creator and performer, from the eighth generation of the Kopecký puppeteer family. His family roots are important for his art, and in his projects he sometimes appears with his parents and children. The founder of Cirk La Putyka, he is one of the most distinctive representatives of “new circus” in the Czech Republic, although with marked ties to foreign colleagues. While searching for his place in Czech theatre and circus culture he first worked with the directorial tandem SKUTR, with the first fruits of their cooperation being shown in the Archa Theatre (Understand – 2005, Eight – Tits Great – 2008). His acting talent and acrobatic skill are sometimes made use of by other theatres – he has appeared as a guest at the National Theatre – and often in film and television. At Cirk La Putyka he frequently works with foreign performers (Dolls – 2014, ADHD – 2018), and some of his projects are remarkably demanding and unusual in form (Black Black Woods – 2016).

CIRK LA PUTYKA is a company that devotes itself professionally to new circus. It tries to blur the boundaries between acrobatics, modern dance, puppet theatre, concert and sport, creating its own specific style and its own view of the genre. The company considers it important not just to achieve a high level of professionalism in individual theatre and circus numbers, but to focus on theme, story and message. Its first production (La Putyka) was first shown in 2009, and since then the company has shown at least one premiere each year. It also takes part in theatre and (new) circus festivals and other events in the Czech Republic and elsewhere in the world, such as Shanghai, Australia, Brazil and France. La Putyka works with well-known companies and artists such as Maksim Komaro, Tilde Björfors, Daniel Gulko, Jiří Havelka, Bonaventura Gacon, The Race Horse Company, the teachers at Cirque du Soleil and the National Circus School in France. The opening of the multi-genre cultural space Jatka78 in the Prague Market in Holešovice was a milestone for the company. During the coronavirus crisis, Cirk La Putyka played a very active part in ensuring that live culture continued to pulse, bringing the public space to life in a number of surprising ways, including window displays in the street. It was rightly the winner of Theatre of the Year in the 2020 critics’ survey.