What's behind all the humor we love to experience from the position of a spectator? What's behind all the elegance and lightness of dancers that we so often admire? And how about stand-up comedians? Are they all really so funny and happy? And dancers, what happens with their energy when the spotlight switches off? A rollercoaster ride. Euphoria giving in to fear and trembling knees... And still, we can't help wanting it over and over.
Recently, Václav Kuneš has been enchanted by the genre of stand-up comedy. He has spent hours and hours watching the masters of the genre, among them Jimmy Fallon, Dave Chappelle, Omid Djalili, Mitch Fatel or the Hollywood actor Robin Williams. It is on the ground plan of stand-up comedy that he now builds his new piece, one to oscillate between humour and poignant questions that go underneath the skin of those who stand on stage and try to make the audience laugh. Is performance on stage more a form of psychotherapy or rather copy-pasting our own ideas again and again and betraying our emotions?
We are not only misleading ourselves but we are also trying hard to deceive people around us. One of the frequent aspects of stand-up comedy is the use of the performer's own 'tragic stories' and mishaps wrapped in and spiced-up with (often black) humour. The audience can usually identify with individual stories and therefore they can laugh at them at the very moment. In many ways, in everyday life, we use the same tools to get by, to be able to laugh about ourselves, about our own mistakes to simply reconfirm to ourselves that we ARE living. And it is very inspiring at certain moments. This effort to camouflage things generates adrenalin one can become addicted to. How far are we willing to go to satisfy the need for this adrenalin? Where are the limits for us to purposely 'create' these mistakes and mishaps only to validate our living? And why do we even do that?
Music for the piece is composed by Owen Belton, a Canadian composer and a holder of the prestigious Dora Mavor Award, known to the Czech public for his collaboration with Crystal Pite, a renowned Canadian choreographer. Pite was introduced to the Czech audience by the intermediary of 420PEOPLE who invited her to perform at the New Stage of the National Theatre within the TANEC PRAHA festival in 2011. Costumes are be designed by a young Prague-based fashion designer tandem Anna Tušková and Radka Sirková who create under the label CHATTY. Among other things, the young designers have received the Designblok Award in 2011.
420PEOPLE are Nataša Novotná and Václav Kuneš.
Both of them are linked together by one of the most prestigious dance companies in the world, the Netherlands Dans Theatre –
a place, where the intensive collaboration with world leading choreographers and artist comes to its peak.
Their dream and intentions are to "use" the years on the top of the dance world, subsequently presenting as much of this top within the Czech Republic and, furthermore sharing these experiences with Czech dancers and Czech spectators.
At the turn of the year 2007, Václav Kuneš and Nataša Novotná founded a new dance company in Prague: they named it 420PEOPLE. In the very first year of the company´s existence, Václav created the choreography Small Hour which has become successful both in the Czech Republic and abroad. In the Czech Republic the piece was awarded The Sazka and Theatre Journal Prize and it was selected as the best achievement in the domain of dance and ballet in 2008. As far as its success abroad is concerned, it was selected for the programme DansClick which allowed 420PEOPLE for a two months tour around the Netherlands. For her performance in the piece Nataša Novotná was awarded the prestigious Thálie Prize 2008 in the Czech Republic.
In 2008, Václav presented two new pieces: On an Even Keel and a dynamic trio Golden Crock. Inspired by the emergence and development of jazz music, in the spring of 2009, Václav created his first full evening choreography Ghost Note in the production of the Netherlands Station Zuid. At the end of the same year he presented his second full evening choreography, this time produced by 420PEOPLE and Korzo Theater, A Small hour ago. At the gala-closing of TANEC PRAHA 2009 festival, Nataša Novotná was awarded the Dancer of the Year prize.
A very special part of the company’s repertory was B/olero, a piece choreographed by Ohad Naharin: thus 420PEOPLE became the only ensemble in the world allowed to perform the piece, besides Naharin’s home company Batsheva. The company has also been a success during its tour around Europe (France, Spain).
Source: The company 420PEOPLE 's website
More information : 420people.org
Artistic direction / Conception
Václav Kuneš & les danseurs
Zuzana Herényiová / Nikol Šneiderová (Prague Chamber Ballet), Nataša Novotná, Jussi Nousiainen, Ombline Noyer, Milan Odstrčil, Štěpán Pechar, Alexandr Volný
Artistic consultancy / Dramaturgy
Soutenu par Fondation BNP Paribas, Le ministère de la Culture de la RT, La Cité de Prague, L'Ambassade des Pays-Bas a Prague, Ambassade du Canada, Le fond pour la Culture de la RT, Le La Brasserie municipale de Havlíčkův Brod Media partenaires de 420PEOPLE: Opera plus, Dance Zone, 2media
Production / Coproduction of the choreographic work
420PEOPLE, coproduction The New Stage of the National Theatre, Four Days association