Opinion

Theatre of Wonder in Sofia, Bulgaria

Written by Ben Verhoeven October 31, 2022 0 comment

Late October 2022, I was invited to the Theatre of Wonder festival in Sofia, Bulgaria by Dimitar Uzunov (Arte Urbana Collectif). Over four days, the festival offers a combination of science and performance on stage. Two of those days, I performed with some ERLNMYR projects. The venue for this wonderful event was an old heat station turned cultural centre: Toplocentrala.

Improbotics

Landing at 14h and being in the venue at 15h for building the stage, setting up the tech (laptops and robot with wifi, audio and video projection), briefing two Bulgarian guest improvisers and rehearsing the show till 19h30. Then performing at 20h30. What a day! Katya Brambarova and Rossina Chirkova were the brave ones to join the stage with me and Piotr Mirowski of the London cast. We couldn’t have dreamt of a better duo to be there with us. Great job! As a cool variation of the show that we haven’t done with the Belgian cast yet, we gave an audience member some control over what the robot might say in the scene.


Piotr and I were interviewed online before the festival by Programata who published this article in Bulgarian: “Могат ли компютрите да бъдат творци?” [Can computers be creative?]

So is this love?

This “augmented lecture” (scientific lecture enriched with an artistic interpretation) was the original reason for my visit to Sofia. In 2021 I participated in the EU project CURIOUS in Belgium and created this lecture in Dutch together with professor in philosophy dr. Katrien Schaubroeck (UAntwerpen). The festival in Sofia is also part of this same EU project and invited us to perform the lecture in English. Unfortunately, Katrien wasn’t able to come along, so we created a hybrid version with me performing my monologues live and Katrien on video projection. It “only” took 2,5 hours to set up the theatre and rehearse this mere 25 minute lecture, but it was worth it!

Other activities in Sofia

On the third day I met with Angelina Grozeva of the Bulgarian National Radio for an interview about my participation in the festival. She will still interview Piotr too. When the result is available, I will link it here.

And finally, I had the chance to teach the Werewolves improv show to Sofia’s prime improv group: ShiZi. Thanks for having me Zlatin and all you other talented little wolves. It was a pleasure teaching you and I wish you some great shows experimenting with this format.