FALLING SILENT / performance inspired by Bergman’s movie “Persona”/

Performance Lab Sofia, Bulgaria
in partnership with University Theatre at New Bulgarian University, Sofia

Duration: 70 minutes

Concept & Director: Elena Panayotova
Costumes & Light: Juliana Voykova-Najman
Music score: Emilian Gatzov
Performers: Veronika Petrova, Antoaneta Petrova, Darina Paraskova, Desislava Hristova, Ana Vulcheva

Falling Silent

“Falling Silent” is inspired by Bergman’s classic movie “Persona”, which tells the story of a young nurse, Alma, whose patient - a famous actress Elizabeth Vogler - is in a good health but refuses to talk. Spending days and hours together, Alma gradually reveals and share more and more of her self with Elizabeth until finally discovers that her own personality has merged with that of the patient.
The performance “Falling Silent” challenges to the perception of the viewer involving him/her into constant game of guess what is real and what is fictional. The performance is designed as a series of variations on themes of silence, possession and stillness, which are presented trough a unique theatrical language of the actors’ gestures, movements and speech – all that create incredible atmosphere in which the issue of human communication remains open.

“Persona” (1966)won the 1967 National Society of Film Critics awards for Best Film, Best Director (Bergman) and Best Actress (Andersson). “Persona” was included in The New York Times Guide to the Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made.

Performance Lab Sofia

Elena Panayotova is famous Bulgarian theatre maker and director who also works as freelance theatre director both independently and in state based theatres as well as teaches movement theatre in Utrecht school of Arts. The informal group she is working with appears on European festivals since 1999 when her original movement based performance “Igrila” was selected in number of festivals in Prague, Skopje, Budapest, Sarajevo, Belgrade, Novi Sad, etc. Later on her productions continued to be part of Bulgarian and Balkans theatre festivals. Her unique style of making movement theatre was fully recognised in 2005 with her breakthrough theatre-dance production on Lorca’s “Bernarda Alba’s House” that brought her and her company numerous of awards and festival participation and was considered for the most important production ever made in Bulgarian physical theatre. In 2008 Elena Panayotova gathers her team under the name of Performance Lab Sofia in order to challenge again the audience perceptions with another unexpected theatre language in the area of movement theatre with the production “Falling Silent” inspired by timeless Bergman’s “Persona”. The performance was nominated by the Union of Bulgarian Artists for Best Original Theatre Score of 2008 as well as being awarded Best Theatre Production in Bulgaria for the winter season 2008-2009. “Falling Silent” has been recognised as a milestone in the Bulgarian movement theatre for its unique combination of movement, sound and text. The company creates unique theatre language combing strong physical presence and classical acting.

“Bergman’s silence is spread over the stage where five talented actresses tear their souls in order to form fulgent symphony of sounds, movements and emotions. The most memorable is the partnership between Veronica Petrova and Antoaneta Petrova - two faces of the same woman...”
“One Week in Sofia” magazine, weekly, Sofia

“The incredible  vividness of the music, the unique rhythm of the bodies, gestures and words chanted and uttered by the actresses as echo of someone’s dream make us absolutely sure that this original performance 'Falling Silent' will be remembered as one of the strongest female performances in the new theatrical season in Sofia.”
“Woman Today” magazine, monthly, Sofia