In A Sky for the Bears
, Teatro Gioco Vita tells two moving stories through shadow puppetry, a unique and evocative art form with roots that go back further than you'd think. Get to know this world-class company with five quick facts!
- Teatro Gioco Vita is nearly fifty-years-old! Founded in Piacenza, Italy, in 1971, they've performed all over the world in countries including Brazil, Mexico, Canada, Japan, China, Israel, Taiwan and Turkey. This multi-generational team of artists has a rich history of telling stories with illustration, light and puppetry. In their half-century existence, they've graced our stage once before in 1998 with their show Firebird.
- The director of A Sky for the Bears, Fabrizio Montecchi, has been with the company since they first started touring in 1978—when he was only 18-years-old! He started as a performer right out of high school, but soon realized that he longed to work as a director. Slowly, but surely, he became a leading figure in creating captivating shadow puppetry in Europe. He’s now the Artistic Director of shadow puppet productions at Teatro Gioco Vita!
- The two stories from A Sky for the Bears are inspired by German stories Ein Himmel für den kleinen Bären and Das Bärenwunder from celebrated kids' lit authors Dolf Verroen and Wolf Erlbruch.
Fabrizio Montecchi, Photo: Jože Suhadolnik
- During the late 1970s in Italy, theatrical animation (or "animazione teatrale" in Italian)—the art of using theater games to help audiences connect with a sense of childlike play—began to gain prominence in the theater world. The then-young company, Teatro Gioco Vita, is credited as being one of the first to combine this engaging style of theater creation with shadow puppetry.
- Puppetry is an ancient art form with traditions from all over the world, but enthusiasts agree that modern European puppetry largely stems from Italy, home of marionettes and Commedia dell'arte. Shadow play or shadow puppetry—as seen in A Sky for the Bears—is traced back to India's Tholu Bommalata, a tradition from the 3rd century BCE. Though shadow play has South and East Asian origins, Italy was the gateway for its introduction to Europe.
This charming tale of discovering your hearts deepest desires runs at The New Victory Theater from October 28-November 5. Get your tickets