Dance performances, slapstick comedies, historical dramas and informative workshops like how to make your own guitar out of a bunch of used things around your house – Colours of Ostrava has a little something for everyone. There’s even a flash mob scheduled, as well as a couple of cabaret shows and a science act on this year’s packed four-day lineup.
Over the last decade this beloved summer music festival, running July 18-21, has evolved into one of the hottest cultural events of the year, attracting talent from around the world. Now in its 11th year, Colours of Ostrava draws thousands of revelers to the Czech Republic’s “steel heart,” where dozens of performances are staged in a variety of unique indoor and outdoor venues surrounding the city’s historic mines and ironworks factories.
The 2013 program includes nine theater companies offering contemporary dances, dramas, martial arts, and lots of laughs. Included in the mix are two cabaret troupes: one from Olomouc and another from Ostrava, which promises an experience filled with “jokes without any point, unfinished scenes, songs without singing, blatantly obvious magic, and many more unexpected surprises.”
Those craving comedy will also want to check out “Squat,” a theatrical sitcom produced by PaS de Theatre and Cooltour Ostrava that explores the squatting community and claims to be “much cheekier” than the wildly popular 1990s show “Friends,” on which it seems to be loosely based. Komediomat Brno, meanwhile, plans to take the unscripted route with its improv routine and will no doubt be looking for creative suggestions from the audience.
Following a successful run at last year’s Colours, the puppet theater Športniki will debut another original show called “Gagarin,” which focuses on the life of Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, the first man to orbit the Earth.
VOSTO5’s production “Pérák” uses elements of martial arts and stunt performance to tell the story of a mythical Czech superhero, while Divadlo Husa na provázku (Goose on a String Theatre) will stage a special version of “Ballad for a Bandit” at Ostrava’s Gong Hall. The performance, a love story between Eržika and the outlaw Nikola, will take over the entire hall, hoisting the action almost right up to the ceiling.
VerTeDance will also be taking center stage at Gong Hall. The dance group will be performing a piece called “How much does your desire weigh?”, featuring live music from the band Zrní. The show, which won the 2012 Dance Production of the Year award, “explores the question of whether by stripping off our clothes, we truly reveal ourselves, our essence, and desires.”
Colours always makes sure to take into account its youngest guests with several acts geared toward kids, including Divadlo Kufr’s (Suitcase Theatre) “Tiny Waltz Adushiadashi,” which blends juggling, slapstick, movement, and musical numbers with a fairytale story.
The “Festival on the Streets,” which takes over much of the city center, is also family-friendly. Highlights include circus acts, body painting, table games, exhibitions, workshops, and plenty of food and drink. A parade will wind itself through the action starting at 1pm from Masaryk Square on July 20. Once the parade hits the Nová Karolina Forum, spectators will be treated to a flash mob dance performance.
As if this is not enough, the Reflex discussion stage will be hosting PechaKucha Night, a forum for those in the visual arts community to present new ideas. The global phenomenon took off in Japan 10 years ago and has since fanned out across the globe. Colours’ PechaKucha Night, which literally translates to “chitchat night,” is considered the third largest in the world, behind Tel Aviv and London.
The event’s bite-sized 20×20 presentation format – 20 slides, running for 20 seconds each – allows more artists to present their ideas and work while ensuring the audience never gets bored. This year’s PechaKucha Night is made up of artists from a range of fields including design, architecture, photography, fashion and the arts.