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photo: Michal Hančovský


2019/2020 Lenka Vagnerová: concept, direction and choreography



2020 Michal Heriban

"Never give up. And that's regardless of how bad a situation you can get into."

Panoptikums (Freakshows) were traveling companies moving from town to town and exhibiting curious objects, skills, and above all - people called "unique individuals". At the time when Freak shows were at its greatest glory, it was the only possible refuge for people that society had rejected for fear of unknown and different. Exhibiting those who had nowhere to go was a powerful source of income for their owner (i.e. impresario).

There were thousands of people, seeking this kind of entertainment, queuing in front of the panoptical coffers, waiting to be amused and shocked by other human destinies. Humiliated "creatures" without any hopes for dreams or a different fate were often the ones who desired to live a normal lifes. Despite this fact they were proud and courageous, loving, and filled with dreams about their future.

Panoptikum is based on many real stories and characters. It points out the parallel with today, asking the question of human treatment of others.: What if the glorious show starts to lack the attractivity and wandering to distant locations brings fewer profits and more uninterested audience? What if the performer (good example is an athlete) is no longer the subject of profitable business, becomes a burden, and needs to be ridden of? In what situations does the human soul lose value to another person and when does one retain dignity and generosity without a sign of cynicism or resentment, or a sense of injustice towards the cruel surroundings?


Concept, choreography, direction: Lenka Vagnerová

Dramaturgy: Lenka Vagnerová
Music: Ivan Acher

Performed by: Jana Hampl Maroušková, Mattilde Giacomelli, Anežka Hrabánková, Vanda Šípová, Leonard Vo Tan, Tereza Holubová / Michaela Kadlčíková, Alex Sadirov / Lukas Lizama Garrido,  Adam Sojka, Leo Terris


Scenography: Jakub Kopecký
Costumes: Simona Rybáková, Jakub Kopecký

Illusions dramaturgy: Jiří Marek

Light design: Michal Kříž

Sound: Petr Taclík

Producer: Lenka Vagnerová & Company
Coproduction: Městská divadla pražská  

Project supported by: Capital City of Prague, Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic. 

Supported by: Eisfabrik e.V.

Photo: Michal Hančovský
Thanks to: Vladimír Javorský

PREMIERE:  7. 12. 2019 Komedie theatre Prague


"The Prague audience have the opportunity to see a work they will never forget. It is bitter as well as intoxicating. It will not let you breathe."

​​"Let us invite you to the world of curiosities and oddities. You will almost touch an elephant man, a snake woman or Siamese twins. You will witness real magic and spells. You will see things you have never seen before, a singing head, a revived doll and other rarities. The price of the ticket is than worth it, you will be leaving Lenka Vágnerová’s Panopticon with goosebumps."


"...invites the spectator to a mystically decadent, very visually compact freak show over which magical theatre dust of something ancient and magic hovers."

 "In my opinion, this is another event of the season in its genre." MARKÉTA FAUSTOVA / DANCE ZONE


"So here we have another event of this year's dance and physical theatre season."

 "Lenka Vagnerová and her company went to the dusty tents of travelling circuses and panopticons in order to extract from them the anomalies residing more in the twisted souls than bodies. The world inspired by the phenomenon of the nineteenth century says a lot about our contemporary world as well. Especially about our inner worlds..."

"We are witnessing the production of a degenerate circus and panopticon, in which sly fellows who master magic tricks and "charms" find refuge, and alongside with them people whose souls live and thrive in bodies with which nature has played a cruel game of gene mutations."

"The production itself offers a sequence of images that will not let the audience breathe for a moment and make them constantly fight with their own senses and reason." LUCIE KOCOURKOVÁ / OPERA PLUS

"Lenka Vagnerová has proved again that we have a great choreographic talent in her, gifted with a strong theatrical vision in which a grotesque view of the world combines with black humour and an understanding of art as a moral obligation. As it is in her nature, she has created a production that brings out one situation card after another, intelligently funny, slightly chastening and providing fairy-tale satisfaction." 

"The choreographer Lenka Vagnerová’s creation is far from haphazard. Her works arise from concise formulations of pressing questions she asks herself and the world. These are often very painful questions. The last one, which became the theme of the Panopticon production presented in the Theatre Comedy, is of just that kind." NINA VANGELI / THEATER NEWSPAPER

"The Panopticon is a picturesque noir affair staged as an epic cabaret fresco."

"Vagnerová alternates between the diverse aspects of a freak show, including purely entertaining parts, dance-stylized fights, magician performances and the ultimate magic of an illusionistic number with a singing medusa’s head (performed by the soprano Vanda Šípová)." JANA VÁVRATOVÁ / DANCE NEWS

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