01 May 2009

PUĽS = kick @$$

Tonight, we went to the season premiere of PUĽS (Podduklianské Ľudove Subor = Beneath Dukla People's Folk Ensemble).  OMGZ.  It's been like 15 years I've been seeing this crew, and they never cease to amaze.

Theatre experiences in Prešov are best described as sophisticated -- not bad for a (relatively small) city on (what sometimes seems like) the edge of the world.  My experiences as an audience member here can directly compete with contemporary dance, musicals, and other performance art I've seen in the US and Western Europe.  The Duchnovyč Theatre productions and PUĽS productions (tonight it was an almost-full house at the BIG Zaborsky Theatre in Prešov) are sophisticated.

PUĽS is not necessarily strictly traditional, but they, like AAADT, elevate folk culture into high culture.  By using universal visual clues, the performance is totally transformed into something much bigger than itself, and most importantly, it moves our Rusyn culture forward instead of only preserving it.

This is an archive photo, but this was one of the sets they did last night (different costumes) 
-- totally evocative of the hills in springtime, with spectacularly graceful movement.

It makes me really happy that I live somewhere where the local economy can support such a group of artists (who by their actions are also important cultural activists), and that there were like 6 encores this evening, which was well-justified.

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