On the 100th anniversary of the birth of poet Jiří Orten, the company ProArt prepared a multi-genre project called Ohnice – Where the Wind Is Dancing in the former Brno penitentiary on Cejl Street. The poetic production with verses of the young poet, which reflected his hard and short life, was premiered on 25 June.
ProArt Company focuses on classical music and trans-genre interconnection and quest for new concepts as well as modern interpretation of a work of music or literature. In this new project, artists asked a question of whether poetry is needed today and how it resonates in contemporary society. Orten's poetry was visualized and set to music with respectful subtlety and no effort to interpret it more univocally.
The story, inspired by the poems of Orten's collection named Ohnice, was staged by choreographer Martin Dvořák in the raw sets of the historical Brno jailhouse with a distinctive handwriting. His directing is rather minimalist, using the wide space with only minimal stage sets and play with light, concentrating thus the viewer's attention on every movement. The stage with a bare table and a chair opposite the window evoked the illusion of the poet's room. Orten himself was personified by the actor Daniel Krejčík, who has a pleasant voice and feeling, as well as understanding for Orten's inner poetics,. The recited poems were underlined by the music of violinists Jitka Břízová and Vojtěch Drahoňovský, who work with the canon, but also with a folk motif or various timbres of their instruments produced for example by playing with a branch instead of a bow. Martin Dvořák's dance united everything into one whole. The interplay of the performances of all four performers was a very rare symbiosis. ProArt managed to avoid pathos and create a collage of drama and poetry in which word is shaped by music, dance by music and word by dance. The result, however, carried some burden. Although the show takes only about an hour and the individual poems are separated from each other, sixty minutes of Orten's poetry is, in my opinion, a bit unbearably dense for the audience. The ProArt ensemble shows a type of creative work with great narrative potential. And even though such a materialized poetry is not for everyone and the premiere was held only with a modest number of spectators, similar projects are of unquestionable significance even for such a narrow audience.
ProArt Company: Orten_100_Ohnice
Poetic show from poems by Jiří Orten on the centenary of his birth
Director and choreography – Martin Dvořák
Music – Jitka Břízová and Vojtěch Drahoňovský
Costumes – Jindra Rychlá
Written after the premiere on 25June 2019 in Káznice na Cejlu (former jailhouse on Cejl Street)