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May 23, 2011 7:00 PM

The Voice of Anne Frank

Visual and Movement Theater perfrormance by Mirenka Cechova.


By Miřenka Čechová/ Spitfire Company

The Voice of Anne Frank touches the woes and delights of a thirteen year old girl. The girl is forced into hiding in a back tract of a house. However in the voice of the diary it is not only Anne talking but all the problems of the hiding people - those who survived and those who didn’t. The life of Anne doesn’t end at the last page but in a concentration camp. But what do we know about the convicted who were forced to live their non-life?

And what do we know about the non-life of those tortured to death? Despite the deep emptiness we are trying to comprehend; we are trying through the existence of the body, search for identity, through the details of everyday life. And in this “despite” we can hear the voices that were meant to fade.

Miřenka Čechová is aFulbright doctoral student in residence at American University in Washington where she is teaching as an adjunct faculty member Physical and Mime theater class. She is also teachning masterclassses and gives the lectures at other U.S. universities. The Voice of Anne Frank performance was already introduced to the audience and perform in Katzden Art Center at American University, at Czech Embassy in Washington as a part of her lecture „Myths of Escape“, at Mercerburg Academy, Pensylvania and at University of Tampa, Florida in "Traces - physical theater as roots of human memory, boundary artistic experience and provocation to thinking”. Miřenka Čechová was engaged in Synetic Theater in Washington for the role of the Fool in the production of King Lear. Her master physical technique was appreciated in several critics: " Lear’s Fool is played by the expressive Mirenka Cechova as an innocent mime and the sad witness to the family’s destruction. Her physical technique stands out brilliantly, a real accomplishment in this talented company."(Welovedc). Washington Post wrote about her :"The production also introduces Synetic audiences to the ethereal physicality of Mirenka Cechova, whose benevolent, balloon-toting Fool seems to float over the sand”. She is also doing a research of common and different features in theater creative principles on the basis of cultural background.



 The Voice of Anne Frank (Jana Soprová - Scéna.cz)
The complex story of a heroine on the border between childhood and adulthood during the Holocaust is interpreted with exceptional movement invention but presents even more.  Rehearsals and certainly, still, performances have demanded a great deal of physical and psychological strength from the protagonists.  Honestly, for me, this is a project which is clearly destined, with both its topic and performance, for international festivals.

The Voice of Anne Frank (Dance Actuality)
Her character was impersonated by Miřenka Čechová. She perfectly cohered the experience of a dancer, actor, choreograph and a mime. Even though she was all alone on the stage, she was able to rule the space with her charm and her craft. She attached the attention of the audience in such a way that they didn’t even have time to get bored which during long solo parts usually isn’t a problem. She was able to talk to the audience with her whole body. She added cogent movements, to the excerpt of the diary. The expression and gesture didn’t miss convincingness. She was able to express the mentality of a 13 year old girl.

The Voice of Anne Frank (Culture and Experiences)
The first part is a solo masterpiece by Miřenka Čechová. She acted (danced – I am not sure which verb is more suitable) with every single muscle in her body. Even though the first couple of minutes she is turned backwards spectator; she was still able to attract him. Another perfect part was the dinner of 6 people which she was able to perform on her own. You see the people sitting at the table arguing about who is meant to eat the vegetables.

Glosárium Hadrián 2010 – (Festival of the European Regions)
After a week of the festival and under the pressure of exhaustion (especially the theatrical) I was still able to stare with an open mouth and almost in trance I watched an unbelievable acting and movement performance of Miřenka Čechová accompanied by violoncello. 


Miřenka Čechova has  completed two MA degrees at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, one in  in the Department of Nonverbal  Theatre and the second in  the Department of Alternative Theatre.  She is completing her PhD at the Academy as well, focusing on directing physical theatre and mime.  In Prague, Ms. Cechova  founded Tantehorse – physical mime company and Spitfire Company, professional acting  ensembles  that  focus  on experimental and visual theatre.  Both groups have performed throughout Europe in Germany, Poland, Italy, Bulgaria, Hungary, and in Israel and have received important distinctions, including the Grand Prix at the Festival Zdarzenia in Poland, The Price of Teatro Roma festival, Theater News award. As a director, choreographer and performer, Ms. Cechova’s emphasis is on new approaches based on a connection of inner impulses and the strong inner visualization of an actor that translates images from the unconscious using expressive physical technique. 


Cellist Nancy Jo Snider is an active performer and teacher in the Washington, D.C. area. She was a member of the Baltimore Opera Orchestra until 2009 and currently holds a position with Opera Lafayette. Ms Snider also performs regularly in a variety of chamber and period instrument ensembles.
Ms. Snider is affiliated with the Sitar Arts Center and the Washington Conservatory of music and serves on the faculty of American University, where she holds the position of Music Practitioner in Residence and is the Director of the music program. Ms. Snider received the Outstanding Teacher of the Year in an Adjunct Appointment Award from American University in 2005 and was appointed director of the music program in September 2006.
University sponsored outreach efforts have concentrated on the critical role of the arts (music in particular) in shaping a healthy society.
Ms. Snider's teaching philosophy is grounded in the premise that if good basic habits are in place her students will have a solid and reliable foundation upon which to build. It is her goal to successfully bring them to their appropriate next step in a manner that is both challenging and supportive.
  Ms. Snider can be heard with Opera Lafayette on the critically acclaimed recording of Gluck’s Orphée et Euridice, which was released in 2005 (and featured in the HBO mini series “John Adams”); Sacchini’s Oedipe à Colone in 2006; Rameau Airs and Dances (with the renowned haute-contre Jean-Paul Forchécourt) in 2007 and Lully’s Armide in 2008 and Pierre Alexandre Monsigny’s Le Deserteur. Upcoming recordings with Opera Lafayette include François-Andre Danican Philidor’s Sancho Pança.
In addition to these recording/performance projects with Opera Lafayette recent highlights have included performances with Trisha Yearwood, Shakespeare Theatre, Washington Early Music Festival, Washington Ballet, Washington Bach Consort and Cantate Chamber Singers with whom she presented the world premiere of Maurice Saylor’s Cello Concerto in.


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May 23, 2011 7:00 PM


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