Amit Drori [Israel]

“Savanna: A Possible Landscape”

17 May at 9.15pm (Saturday) | 18 May at 4.15pm (Sunday)
Portuguese premiere

Direction and concept: Amit Drori Set design: Noam Dover Projections: Michal Sara Cederbaum Video: Jérôme Vernez Music: Gai Sherf Animal animation and manipulation: Sylwia Drori, Inbal Yomtovian Advisor: Talia Beck Performers: Amit Drori, Gai Sherf, Jérôme Vernez, Laila Bettermann, Li Lorian Production: Théâtre Vidy-Lausanne Co-production: Bonlieu Scène Nationale Annecy, Culturescapes – Basel Tour manager: Elizabeth Gay Photos: Mario del Curto, Sylwia Drori, Gadi Dagon, Michal Sara Cederbaum Supports: Services Culturels de l’Ambassade d’Israël en France, Embaixada de Israel em Portugal, Mamuta Pasal Center of Arts, Jerusalém Technique: Automata and visual theatre For audiences over: +9 Running time: 55 min. Language: Some words in English


Savanna is a journey to an exotic landscape of moving sculptures, inhabited by an array of exquisite robotic animals - elephants, antelopes, giant tortoises, birds, snails and caterpillars.

Built to reflect human feeling and imagination, Amit Drori's handcrafted mechanical bestiary is made of wood and appears to come straight out of Leonardo da Vinci's imagination; it speaks to us from a lost paradise, a place of memories and beautiful sounds.
Discreet and touching, Savanna’s two interrelated stories, exquisite robotic animals and moving sculptures, reflect human feelings and imagination. The landscape of Savanna is a metaphor for our emotions.

With its lifelike movement, beautiful paper-cut projections and atmospheric sounds, this intriguing production brings the African savanna into the theatre.

“The robotic animals are handcrafted objects, technological yet constructed as very personal sculptures. The clear line that divides nature and civilization is breaking down here, in the attempt to treat the machine as a sensitive creature. Unlike the industrial world, where machines are made for functional use, the only function of these robots is to reflect human emotions and imagination.
These are poetic robots. The animals had to go through a training process, in which we created banks of behavior patterns, actions and expressions. On stage, we recall it to express human thought and emotion: curiosity, loneliness, empathy, grief and intimacy.”
- Amit Drory

“Ageless and enchanting.”
- Badische Zeitung Switzerland

“A mechanical Eden... There are "ohhhs" of wonder and delight as each new animal emerges. The observation of animals is superb, gorgeously realised in mechanical detail.”
- Zoë Anderson, The Independent ★★★★★

“The creatures were intriguing curiosities and I was fascinated to see what they could do. There were moments of brilliance when Savanna became a transformative piece of theatre: when a flock of birds were expertly manipulated on long sticks, or when the emotions of a baby elephant facing its dying mother were delicately, mechanically expressed (…). Amit Drori’s Savanna is an ambitious project exploring the edges of automata and puppetry (…).”
- Isobel Smith, Total Theatre

“Amit Drori’s robotic wooden animals are like a da Vinci drawing brought to life (…).”
- Matthew Francey, The Creators Project

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Amit Drori graduated from the School of Visual Theatre in Jerusalem (2001) since 2006 he is teaching there contemporary puppetry and image based theatre. As a guest lecturer he is collaborating with the MA in Visual Literacy programme at Hakibuzim Academy, Tel Aviv and Shenkar College of engineering and design. He is a member of the Train Theatre artistic board.

He has been a recipient of the Rozenblum Award for excellency in the performing arts (2012); Acre Festival awards for directing and design (2001, 2003); and has received grants from the America-Israel Foundation, the Jerusalem Foundation, the Israeli Lottery Council, Rich Foundation, Nathan Cumings Foundation and the Rabinovitz Foundation.
“Israeli artist Amit Drori is a theatre director, designer, and maker of beautiful, moving objects. His stage work creates a theatrical universe based on the use of mechanical and robotic wood-crafted artifacts, live performers, video projections and open source technologies. His projects evolve through a long process in which theatrical imagery and human perception work together like a beautifully complex machine.” - Barbican, London, 2013







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