potted history of the black theatre
Even though the
principle of the black cabinet (theatre) goes back
several centuries, it has not been forgotten, if anything
One could say that the cradle of black theatre was, at
least according to reputation, ancient China during the
dynasty of Ming syn Liang under the government of the
Emperor Vang-Pang. Reputation also says: "The
Emperor was very sad when his son died and found it
difficult to come to terms with his death". However,
in those days a certain Mang-ti belonged to the circle of
court magicians. Using light and darkness, the contrast
of black and white and the so-called black cabinet, he
managed to evoke for the Emperor an illusion of his son
and thus to subdue his grief for at least a moment.
The journey of this art from China to Europe was
certainly neither short nor simple. What is certain is
that from its beginnings this technique and its
possibilities have been perfected in all aspects and now
innumerable artists, illusionists, jugglers and magicians,
use, for better or worse, the principles of the black
cabinet in their performances.
The technique has been around the Czech lands and has
been developed into various charming stories for almost
half a century.
In the fifties of the 20th century somewhere in France,
the technique of the black cabinet appealed to the
puppeteer George Lafaye. The story repeated itself, but
this time in the eighties in the then Czechoslovakia with
the artist, painter and founder of the creative theatre
ANIMATO Jan Pajer *1960, who found in it the possibility
of adding depth and space to the traditional two-dimensionality
of the artist's canvas.
Since the black theatre is mainly a visual sensation
which uses the fantasies of its creators to play with the
fantasies visualised, suggested and amplified by the most
various theatrical tricks, this genre has become
intelligible to everyone who likes at least for a time to
drag themselves from reality and forget the problems of
today's hyper-technical world.
In its fifteenth season the ANIMATO black theatre links
up with the classic black theatre tradition of this genre
which for more tan half a century has been an inseparable
part of Czech culture.
The basis of the ANIMATO theatre is the close creative
and production team which has crystallised around more
than fifteen collaborations into the healthy core of the
Despite understandable inaugural difficulties with
finding a permanent theatre stage, as well as financial
and other operating problems during the stormy period of
1989 (the time of the revolution) the theatre company has,
after passing through several megalomaniac, above all
unsuitable spaces, managed to find a permanent venue in
the more chamber-like, viewer-friendly spaces in the
heart of Prague, the Savarin Palace.
As well as theatre performances for children and adults,
various cultural and social events, fashion shows,
concerts, etc. are held in this completely refurbished