Country Belgium | Chile

Discipline Puppet theater

Recomended for +12

Duration 60 minutes

Language Spanish

Dates January 12, 13, 14 and 15, 21.00h

Exceptional Chaika is both amazing and moving

El Mercurio

Dream-like, an old actress in her twilight years appears on stage. She’s lost in a theater and doesn’t remember why she’s there. A young woman comes up to her and tells her she’s there to act in The Seagull by Chekhov; her last performance will be playing the role of Arkadina. The old woman finds it hard to be on stage alone, but the show must go on and the performance begins. Lost, somewhere between wanting to act and losing her memory, The Seagull is played out. She tries to act, fluctuating between Chekhov’s fiction and her own reality. Like the characters in the Russian play, she’s at a point in her life where she must choose whether to go on or give up. Chaika, a piece of puppet theater created and directed by Tita Iacobelli and Natacha Belova, was one of the stand-out productions of 2018, winning unanimous critical acclaim. This poignant montage talking of old age, identity and a theater actress’s life was so successful it even toured internationally.

| Multimedia

Direction

Teresita “Tita” Iacobelli

(Chile)

Teresita “Tita” Iacobelli is a Chilean actress, teacher and puppeteer. Since 2005, she has been part of Viajeinmóvil, directed by Jaime Lorca. She co-directed and acted in Otelo by the same company, a play which toured France, Spain, Belgium, Brazil, Hungary, Portugal, Bolivia, Mexico and the whole of Chile. She has taught puppet art in Chile, France and India. Her relationship with music means she has conducted dramatized concerts with the Congreso group and with the Chilean Philharmonic Orchestra at the Santiago Municipal Theater. She also works with the Teatro de Ocasión company.

Direction

Natacha Belova

(Russia)

Natacha Belova is a historian and self-taught artist who was born in Russia. She currently lives in Belgium, where she first started working in costume and stage design and later specialized in puppets. She has taken part in around a hundred theater, dance, circus, film and opera projects. Her first piece of puppet theater was performed with the Une Tribu group at the Belgian National Theater in 2017. That same year, she premiered her first independent piece, Passeggeri, with the Belgian company, La Barca dei Matti. She has collaborated with renowned directors from Belgium, Bulgaria, Brazil and Syria and, in Chile, she has worked with Jaime Lorca.

Compañía Belova-Iacobelli

The Belova-Iacobelli Company is made up of Chilean actress and director Teresita ‘Tita’ Iacobelli and Russian director and visual artist Natacha Belova. They met in Santiago in 2012 at the La Rebelión de los Muñecos Festival, when Natacha taught a class on her puppet-making technique. In 2015, they created a research laboratory for contemporary puppet theater in the same city. This lasted for two months and, at the end of it, they decided to write Chaika, the first play by the Belova-Iacobelli Company, created during four residencies in Buenos Aires, Santiago and Brussels.

Created and directed by: Tita Iacobelli and Natacha Belova | Actors: Tita Iacobelli | Theatrical consultant: Rodrigo Gijón | Assistant director: Edurne Rankin | Set, costume and lighting designer: Natacha Belova | Assistant director and lighting: Gabriela González | Sound designer: Gonzalo Aylwin | Music: Simón González (based on the song ‘Pobre gaviota’ by Raúl Hernández) | Gaffer and special effects: Franco Peñaloza | Producer: Javier Chávez

  • The play garnered unanimous critical acclaim in Chile from, among others, Pedro Labra, Alejandra Costamagna, Javier Ibacache, Marco Antonio de la Parra and Jorge Letelier, who highlighted the fact it “goes from emotion to emotion in a story that audiences of all ages can understand and enjoy (both adults and children alike). Spellbinding craftsmanship coupled with a certain seriousness and, above all, an inanimate character who’ll end up winning over your heart”.

  • The play brings together two important figures from the world of puppet theater: Chilean Teresita ‘Tita’ Iacobelli and Russian-Belgian Natacha Belova. The former started her career under the renowned director and playwright Jaime Lorca in Viajeinmóvil and has become one of the country’s main proponents of the genre. The latter has taught her puppet-making techniques in Spain, France, Belgium, Italy, Switzerland, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Malaysia, Turkey and Taiwan. In 2016, she set up her own research and training group in Brussels called IFO.

  • The play’s was inspired by The Seagull, one of Anton Chekhov’s most emblematic plays.

  • Tackled from an artistic and creative perspective, this is an emotional piece that runs the gauntlet between tears and laughter and tells of an elderly woman who struggles to carry on acting in spite of her age. Iacobelli says, “(the play) talks of women in theater, women who suffer from this same angst and passion for the theater. It helps us envision where we want to go with our work. What happens at the end of a career? Do actors retire? How long can we keep going for?”.

  • Another important aspect of the play is the impressive performance by Tita Iacobelli and the symbiosis created between puppet and actress. “With her astonishing technical skill, Iacobelli brings Chaika to life; you forget there’s someone in the background pulling her strings”, said critic Pedro Labra.
  • The Seagull. Written in 1896 by Russian playwright and writer Anton Chekhov, The Seagull is one of his most-performed plays worldwide and one of the four most important plays in his theatrical repertoire. It describes what happens when a family of artists comes together and the in-fighting and fear generated between Konstantin Treplyov, experimental playwright; Irina Arkadina, a reputable actress whose time in the spotlight has been and gone; famous writer, Trigorin and Nina, a young girl convinced she wants to become an actress. The play has been staged countless times all over the world and has been adapted to film by directors such as Sidney Lumet. In 2018, a new version was released, starring Annette Bening, Saoirse Ronan and Elisabeth Moss.

  • Puppet theater in Chile. According to Iacobelli, Chile has not made any progress in puppet theater because it’s still associated with children. “There’s still prejudice against the object and puppet theater style; it’s said it’s only for children and doesn’t deal with controversial topics or generate debate. The ghost of birthday puppet shows is still around and that’s probably what stops it from developing”, she has said.

  • Teresita Iacobelli and puppets. Iacobelli delved into the world of puppets when she met the renowned Chilean actor, playwright and director Jaime Lorca (founder of the famous La Troppa company), who was setting up a new company called Viajeinmóvil, aimed at exploring the world of objects and puppets. “Jaime interviewed me, we got on well and we started working together (…). Getting into puppets and inanimate figures was something intuitive for me. We were all learning together”, she comments. They later went on to stage other acclaimed works together, such as Otelo and El último heredero.

«With only one performer on stage bringing a full-size puppet to life, Chaika is a beautiful, bewitching drama that is both intense and thought-provoking»

El Mercurio, Pedro Labra

«There are only a few times in the arts when a series of extraordinary things come together, making time stand still for a moment and taking us to a magical place»

Culturizarte, Jorge Letelier

«Chaika by Tita Iacobelli and Natacha Belova is an outstandingly beautiful piece. It references Chekhov’s The Seagull using just one actress, a puppet and a lot of - really, so much - inspiration»

–Alejandra Costamagna @alecostama

«The most extraordinary thing I’ve seen in the last few years. A theatrical gem by a Tita Iacobelli at the pinnacle of her career»

­­–Marco Antonio de la Parra @marcodelaparra

Exceptional Chaika is both amazing and moving

El Mercurio

«With only one performer on stage bringing a full-size puppet to life, Chaika is a beautiful, bewitching drama that is both intense and thought-provoking»

El Mercurio, Pedro Labra

«There are only a few times in the arts when a series of extraordinary things come together, making time stand still for a moment and taking us to a magical place»

Culturizarte, Jorge Letelier

«Chaika by Tita Iacobelli and Natacha Belova is an outstandingly beautiful piece. It references Chekhov’s The Seagull using just one actress, a puppet and a lot of - really, so much - inspiration»

–Alejandra Costamagna @alecostama

«The most extraordinary thing I’ve seen in the last few years. A theatrical gem by a Tita Iacobelli at the pinnacle of her career»

­­–Marco Antonio de la Parra @marcodelaparra

| Supported by