Tin Grabnar, Tjaša Bertoncelj

Still Life

Nine Attempts to Preserve Life 16+

Puppet Theatre Ljubljana, Flota Institute Murska Sobota and Flota Ljubljana


14.06.2021, Monday / 11:00 / Old Hall /

Premiere 7. october 2020, Ljubljana puppet theatre
Running time 1 hour. No intermission. 
With post-performance discussion and exhibition. 
Director Tin Grabnar
Dramaturge Tjaša Bertoncelj
Set designer Sara Slivnik 
Costume designer Sara Smrajc Žnidarčič
Composer Mitja Vrhovnik Smrekar
Sound, sound effects & music effects designer Eduardo Raon
Language consultant Maja Cerar
Puppetry technologist Zoran Srdić
Video Vesna Krebs
Lighting designer Gregor Kuhar
Asja Kahrimanović Babnik
Iztok Lužar
Zala Ana Štiglic

Stage manager & Sound designer Luka Bernetič
Producer Alja Cerar Mihajlović
Lighting technician Gregor Kuhar
Stage technician Kemal Vrabac Kordiš
Puppets & Set makers Zoran Srdić, Iztok Bobić, Polona Černe, Sandra Birjukov, Marjeta Valjavec, Zala Kalan, David Klemenčič, Olga Milić, Uroš Mehle, 3dimension, Roglab
Topics life – death – attitude to animals – nature – animation

With its form and content, Still Life addresses the evasive question of the phenomenon of life. What is the inner force that we call life? What is life like? How to understand the phenomenon and way of existence and its opposite—death? And finally, what does it mean to take this life away? By exploring these questions, a sensible performance language takes shape—one that addresses fundamental questions of the existence of animals and at the same time strives to engender respect in the audience for all that we refer to as being alive.
In the Victorian era, taxidermy—the art of preserving animals’ bodies—gained popularity mainly as a peculiarity and a symbol of prestige or as a trendy decor for high society disguised as science. Up to today, this form of art has developed different expressions reaching beyond its original purpose, which was to depict nature in its naturalistic dimension. These expressions include anything from ethnic taxidermy, anthropomorphic taxidermy, and art taxidermy to the taxidermy treatment of game trophies. Taxidermy may serve as a metaphor for the love of nature. But it may as well serve as a metaphor for social hypocrisy and the anthropocentric exploitation of nature. Taxidermy shows the thin line between respect and worship, and exploitation and objectification. It does this through the prism of taking ownership of death and life.
The unfolding of such radical themes required radical performance approaches that pull back the curtains and expose the theme. These processes may raise deep emotional, ethical, and philosophical questions with the audience. The performance Still Life: Nine Attempts to Preserve Life demonstrates taxidermy and the idea of preserving life and tests them by potentiating them. It creates the illusion of life, where there is no life. It uses the essence of the puppet medium: to animate the inanimate. The animation in Still Life reaches into real life: the animated entity is a creature that once lived and was killed by humans.

Still Life <em>Photo: Jaka Varmuž</em>
Photo: Jaka Varmuž
Still Life <em>Photo: Jaka Varmuž</em>
Photo: Jaka Varmuž
Still Life <em>Photo: Jaka Varmuž</em>
Photo: Jaka Varmuž
Still Life <em>Photo: Jaka Varmuž</em>
Photo: Jaka Varmuž