Internationally known Czechoslovakian puppeteer, storyteller and author Vít Horejš and his troupe of century-old hand-carved marionettes will perform live at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 5 in a free performance being sponsored by the City of Trinidad and the Arts and Cultural Advisory Commission at the Mitchell Museum, 150 E. Main Street.
For 50 years, a troupe of antique marionettes was confined to a dusty closet at Jan Hus Church, in the heart of New York’s Czechoslovak neighborhood. Discovered by Horejš, the 24-inch century-old traditional masterpieces by Czech puppet makers, have since brought joy to thousands of spectators young and old on tours to 34 continental states and more than a dozen countries.
Horejš performs a one-man show of Czech fairy tales (in English) replete with kings, clever village maidens, witches and spirits. His marionettes speak in a dozen voices, dance, play violin, swim and fly. The program will be composed of favorite Czech and Slovak fairy tales such as “Salt over Gold” (a Princess who values her father “only” as much as salt, is banished, but returns to save her father when salt disappears), “The Stingy Tailor” (a proud and stingy tailor is taught a lesson by the water goblin “Vodnik”) and “Kacha and the Devil” (a shepherd outwits the devil who is pursued by a dance-loving shrew).
Horejš came to New York from Prague, Czechoslovakia in 1979. His discovery of the antique marionettes at Jan Hus Church inspired him to found The Czechoslovak-American Marionette Theatre with which he staged such mainstays of the 18th century marionette stage, as Johannes Dokchtor Faust, A Petrifying Puppet Comedye; The White Doe, Or the Piteous Trybulations of Sufferyng Countess Jenovefa and Don Juan, or The Wages of Debauchery.
Horejš’s book TWELVE IRON SANDALS, and other Czechoslovak Tales (Prentice Hall, 1985) was chosen as one of the best children’s books of the year by the New York Public Library. A collection of his original stories, PIG AND BEAR, was published by Four Winds Press/Macmillan in 1989 and in a Dutch translation in 1990. He wrote a lead essay, and edited the book The Czechoslovak-American Puppetry, published by GOH Productions.
He founded Czechoslovak-American Marionette Theatre in 1990 and has translated, written, adapted and directed over 20 plays for CAMT. On screen, he was Krojack in Woody Allen’s Don’t Drink the Water and recently made a guest appearance on Mozart in the Jungle. Published works include Twelve Iron Sandals (Prentice-Hall, 1985), Pig and Bear (Four Winds/Macmillan, 1989, Dutch translation, 1990).
Horejš will give a performance at the Trinidad Junior High for students only at 3 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 5.