THE HIGHEST FORM OF EVALUATION
Vladimir Mikhailovich Stein – director, Honorary Artist of Russian Federation.
Yesterday, the Magic Lamp puppet theatre in Moscow hosted Slovak actor Peter Serge Butko with Romances. The audience was filled with numerous representatives of Moscow intellectual groups including artists from major theatres and puppet theatres. This performance left deep emotional impressions in everyone. Butko introduced the works of Russian classic writer Maxim Gorky in a way that could hardly be expected to be staged in domestic theatres. It was a very fragile, but fine, performance enabling the viewers to feel the tenderness, poetry, romantic atmosphere and never- ending passion of Gorky early stories. Romances is not only a spectacular, beautiful and emotional performance, it is also a smart contemplation of the meaning of human existence and thoughtful meditation about the questions of life and death. Butko surprised all with incredible harmony
of moves, actors expression and music. This was all joined in an extraordinary theatre piece, which can hardly be branded as of any particular genre. After the show, people spent a long time talking about the theatre – theatre of the finest quality. In connection with this, it should be said that thanks to its hypnotic powers, this almost philosophical performance is open to spectators of all groups
of age.Among the many spectators at performance in Moscow, a few children appeared and festival organisers were apparently worried about their presence in auditorium. In the end, though,
the surprised organisers had to admit that the children viewed the performance with full attention
and according to their reactions, they understood the performance on a principal level and ran to
the artist to get his autograph after the show. In my opinion, this was the highest form of evaluation. Peter Serge Butko ended his ten day tour in Russia yesterday at the Magic Lamp Theatre in Moscow. When he returns to Russia in the future, make sure you do not miss his performance.
Marina Goncharova Association of Russian Theatres.
Gypsy songs and romances always make people tremble. When we hear the word Gypsy, the world around us slows down and gets tender. Its just a simple relief, simple pleasure. All this is present
in Peter Serge Butko performance Romances. His theatrical images stride a long and hard way
to express the eternal signs of life and death. Peter plays his role with virtuosity. His way of treating puppets is surprising and incredible. The remain puppets only in terms of objects being present
on stage, but in fact, they are equal partners of the living actor. Therefore, it is so exiting to let oneself be delighted with the way of how the relations between the human being and the nonliving objects, brought into life by the same human being, were created and maintained. This is all emphasised through Peter’s sensitive and tender acting. His deep and heavy moves, his face and his hands in contrast to the lightness of the moves of the dancing puppets he leads fill the performance with the necessary depth of monstrosity and disharmony without which we could hardly imagine the old Izergil, the Gypsy woman with her own world. Such were my impressions from Romances at the International Theatre Festival in the city of Chelyabinsk. They were extraordinarily emotional and highly artistic. And not only for me. Romances caught everyone’s heart.
GORKY WITH PUPPETS
Dr. Boris Goldovsky, Head dramaturg of the State Theatre of S.B. Obraztsov in Moscow.
Peter Serge Butko´s performance Romances, based on Maxim Gorky´s short stories, belong among some of remarkable events of theatre life in Moscow in 1996. And it was not only because of artist´s talent with which he excellently handled several kinds of theatre art : traditional acting, mime, puppet theatre. Butko came as an untraditionally thinking director who created a variation of Gorkys work without any prejudices, but with courage and in a new and lively way. He managed to play the Gorkys text without a single word, merely with images that were full of emotions, gypsy music, mime and puppets. Highly emotional content, exact interpretation, unconventional scheme – this all made the performance an extraordinarily attractive piece for the viewers.
SLOVAKIAN TALENT IN MOSCOW
Romula Bykova, Theatre of K.S. Stanislavsky in Moscow .
My impressions from meeting with Peter Serge Butko and his talent were strong, deep and unforgettable. I having played solo performances for a long time myself , I know very well what
it means to stand alone on the stage for an hour – alone with spectators. I worked with words, but Peter worked with puppets. I have seen un uncountable number of different puppet performances in my life. Theatre art like this, however, was the first real theatre art I have seen. I feel that we can expect a lot from this young man, because he has been endowed with great talent. Remembering this I came across the famous words of Ostrovsky, who said that “talent is not a thing one would lose and the other would find. “ The literary piece which the performance is based upon and the way of its adaptation in an indescribable style both speak for themselves. Serge´s work is an example of beauty in motion and temperament. He performed his fascinating language of hands and his musicality but mainly his exceptional ability to transfer the emotional energy of Gorkys stories from the text to viewer in the theatre.
Z.A. Tichý – Theatre critic, Prague. Czech Republic.
The domestic theatre scenes were literally invaded with numerous projects which parasite on beneficial events with B – rated culture productions. Every artist who enters this dangerous area becomes explored by the curious surroundings. Does he really mean it or is he only trying to grab a little bit of fame ? Is he actually capable of doing something serious or does he only look for easy way to get established? Trialog, the project organised by MIRET agency in Prague Celetná Theatre, has been checked through with the fullest attention. The actors, Galina Vykulina and Peter Serge Butko, who were inspired by the mixture of Russian and Gypsy souls, proved their honorable and serious intentions, as well as solid artistic experience, though using minimal number of words. Vykulina created dozens of original and witty pictures and sketches using masks, her body and black clothes. Peter Serge Butko, on the other hand, who caught attention with his performance, supported with Gypsy music, sealed the shows unusual emotional tension between the actor and the puppets. Trialog was not a battle for the better artist. The importance of it lies with its ability to bring the tremble of souls into life, which can be felt when we watch the beauties of the world pass away. Whether these beauties are the wings of butterfly or the music of a certain ethnic group.
THE BEST OF SUMMERTIME
Sylvie Maliariková – journalist. Slovakia.
At the end of summer of 1996, Peter Serge Butko, a Slovak actor living in the Czech Republic, came to the Bojnice castle in Slovakia to introduce his performance Romances in the castles Hunyady hall. This magical dance theatre is based on early writings of Maxim Gorky and traditional gypsy music, burning and sad, which is the most astonishing feature of the Gypsy ethnic in the modern controversial times. “Romances” is similar to the traditional Japanese theatre, intended for adults, but does not exclude the juvenile audience from its target at all. The adaptation of the original text is convincing, because it does not pretend that the puppets move by themselves. The complicated mechanism
of manipulation with the puppets is uncovered and the viewer is able to watch the actors master skills in manipulation, but only if the viewer is able to pay attention to anything else but the puppets fascinating moves. If so, and the viewer can watch the actors expressions, gestures and mimics, it is worth is because Peter simultaneously plays his character along with leading the puppet. The whole visual scheme is doubled with the actors presence and visibility, so the image is more complicated and requires more attention to capture the actors face which reflects the puppets emotions. Thanks to the artistry of Peter Serge Butko, we are able to see the highest emotions and ecstatic states of the non-living objects, emphasized with the moves of the puppets which go beyond the physical abilities of a human body. The art of the play is combined with weeping and passionate music and is put into the framework of ancient stories which cannot prove to be true. However, they are so beautiful that it becomes our duty to pass them over to the next generations. The high quality placed this performance among the highlights of the Bojnice Culture Summer.