Today the Theatre IMAGE is a theatre company with its own structure and a regular heartbeat. For several years a stable group of creative partners have been the core of the theatre. As a result of their cooperation an ensemble with its own image has grown and established itself in the world of theatre. Performances of special character arise from work of creators co-operating in a friendly atmosphere. The creators started to gather around them a circle of colleagues with the same approach to the idea of theatre. Still, the growing ensemble has retained its own specific image although the structure of the company had to adjust to changing circumstances. This has made the company an unmistakable part of the Prague theatre scene.
The story of IMAGE starts in 1989. Alexander Čihař and Eva Asterová left their engagements in another theatre in order to create a theatre company according to their own ideas; an independent, private theatre based on the synthesis of black theatre, dance, modern jazz, contemporary music and pantomime. A theatre that would give its audience cultivated entertainment, enjoyment of good music and beautiful dance and – last but not least – a good dose of liberating laughter. Despite problems with finance, space and technical equipment at the beginning, the project became reality within a few months without any state support and financial “injections”. The premiere of the very first performance took place in 1990 “Jazzmime Stories”.Those were the well-known hard times. IMAGE entered the world of theatre as a new, unknown company gaining its name in a small hall of the Lávka club on the bank of the Vltava River, near Charles Bridge. Nevertheless the first season started up promisingly. Fortunately, success with the audience prompted the first offer of a long tour abroad. A tour of Italy marked by ovations from a temperamental audience brought the ensemble together and colleagues became friends. On the return of the ensemble, the seat of the IMAGE theatre was moved to more appropriate premises.A theatre stage in the very heart of Prague was found, in Pařížská, or Paris Street, just a few steps from the Old Town Square. In the mosaic revue “Fancy!” (Premiere 1992) the authors made an attempt to achieve a tighter connection between black theatre and pantomime, or more accurately, non-verbal theatre. In 1999 the one thousandth performance of “Fancy!” was given.The company needed to expand as a result of the wider repertoire. The culmination was a successful premiere “Night Flight” in August 1994. Another result of the endless sources of inspiration and creativity of the team of authors is the show called “Professor Pražák’s Cabinet of Curiosities and Miracles”, which was first performed in April 1997. A combination of stage design and a funny story created the remarkable world of the peculiar scientist and experimenter Professor Pražák. His grotesque experiments and their demonstration transfer spectators to virtual spaces where the black theatre plays the main role. A loose follow-up of the excursion to Professor Pražák’s laboratory is “Clonarium”. It has been in the repertoire of the theatre since 1999. “Fiction” from 2001 is a result of the authors’ view of small people in the big universe.The performance “The Best of Image” was been originally intended for tours as an extract of the ensemble’s work. Nowadays it is presented on IMAGE’s home stage and its success led to the production of a sequel – “The Best of Image II”. It was followed by the performance “Black Box” inspired by detective stories, „Studio Clip“ parodying the world of film horrors, and Afrikania with a cheerful view of an exotic trip of a married couple.
Over it’s more than thirty years existence of, IMAGE theatre has become an important part of the Prague cultural scene.
It is very well known to Prague citizens, visitors as well as to the audience abroad. Its course and artistry has developed this genre to the highest quality and from black theatre IMAGE has reached a synthesis, which concentrates on clever and quality entertainment. The ensemble has developed its own style. It is a combination of modern dance elements, interesting costumes, mime and non-verbal theatre, and contact with the public, usage of sound and originally composed music.Additionally to traditional means of expression (contact with audience, artistic approach to dance, working with sounds and music) IMAGE also chose film projection as a framing element for the whole performance and some black theatre special effects were created particularly for this show. The collaboration among artists brings a different artistic concept as well as an attractive visual variety. The use of mystification, precise performance, black theatre and dance expressions, the playfulness of the authors, the dedicated performance of the artists and dancers and their desire to entertain both spectators and themselves fulfil the credo of the ensemble: to perform living theatre for a live audience. More than 8,000 played performances and nearly 2,000,000 spectators during thirty years are not certainly the only measure of success of the Theatre IMAGE.
Fun and a pleasant atmosphere are feelings, which are taken away from an IMAGE performance and are the right reasons why new spectators come, and again return, to the IMAGE theatre.
Besides tours abroad (e.g. Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Italy, Greece, Cyprus, Israel, Hungary, Slovakia, Turkey or Korea) the IMAGE theatre has taken a part in theatre festivals and special projects such as Karmiel Dance Festival (Israel), theatre and the dance Festival Uijeongbu (Seoul, S. Korea), or a regular guest performance at the Coronet Theatre in Athens. And there have been many prestigious social events, congresses, exhibitions or other events of well known companies such as Microsoft, Nokia, Volkswagen, Johnson & Johnson, Motorola or Bayernwerk AG in Olympiahalle in Munich and all around Europe highlighted by the IMAGE Theatre.
We try to understand the feelings of our audience so that we can always surprise them, please them, make them laugh. We hope that there is something common in our souls, something that makes the theatre, today’s theatre, alive. The Story of IMAGE has not finish yet.