In the backstage of a theatre, an aging actress named Chayka struggles to remember why she is there. A young woman arrives to remind her: tonight she must play the part of Arkadina in Chekhov’s The Seagull.
It will be her final role. As her memory fades, not knowing quite who she is nor the part she is meant to be playing, she is determined at least to give this last performance. In her struggle and descent, reality and fiction intersect. She tries to keep to the plot, but the conflict with her son Konstantin, and the repeated abandonments of her lover Trigorin, soon plunge her back into her past.
There, she reconnects with the young actress she once was when she played another role –that of Nina. Her favourite part, Nina is the young actress who finds a way, somehow, to keep going. Through her, another Chayka emerges: the fighter who gets back to her feet to carve out a new form of theatre, another space for acting and life.
Like the characters in The Seagull, Chayka navigates between past and future, disappointment and hope – and keeps going in spite of everything. Told in a dreamlike style, this duo performance for one actress and one puppet is the first piece from the Belgo-Chilean company Belova ~ Iacobelli.
Chayka was nominated and won the following prizes: Award for “Best Performance” and “Best Actress” by Círculo de Críticos de Arte de Chile (Chile) in 2018; Audience Award for “Best Stage Direction” by Premios Clap (Chile) in 2018 ; Maeterlinck Prize of the Critics (Belgium) category “Best Solo Show” in 2020; Nominated for the Maeterlinck Prize of the Critics (Belgium) category “Best Actress” in 2020; “Grand Prize” at the XXIX International Festival of Bieslko Biala in 2022 (Poland). LOCO was nominated for the Maeterlinck Prize of the Critics (Belgium) category « Artistic and technical realization » in 2022 and won the prize “Best Scenic Design” by Círculo de Críticos de Arte de Chile (Chile) 2022.
Natacha Belova was born in Russia, graduated in history, and has lived in Belgium since 1995. After initial work as a costume and set designer on the Belgian and international performing arts circuits, she went on to specialise in contemporary puppetry. Working on numerous projects in theatre, as well as in dance, circus, cinema and opera, she acquired a great depth of experience that drove her to instigate her own projects. Her first creations came in the form of exhibitions and installations. In November 2017, she realised her first work as a stage director with Cie La Barca dei Matti’s Passeggeri at IF – Festival internazionale di Teatro di Immagine e Figura in Milan, Italy. In recent years, she has given numerous puppet workshops in 15 countries across three continents, and in 2016 founded her own centre for research and training, the IFO, a non-profit based in Brussels.
Tita Iacobelli began her career as an artist in 2001. In 2003, she won the Best Actress Award at the Nuevos Directores festival. Since 2005, she has worked as an actress and puppeteer, as well as co-directing several works by Jaime Lorca’s Viajeinmóvil Company. She also gives puppetry workshops. Her work on various stages in Europe and the Americas has included productions such as Gulliver (2006) and Othello (2012). Her close ties to music led her to direct several musicals with the youth theatre company Teatro de Ocasión, and theatrical concerts with the Chilean jazz-fusion ensemble Congreso and the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Santiago Municipal Theatre.
Tchaika (or Chayka), a show by Compagnie Belova-Iacobelli. Produced by Ifo ASBL, coproducted by Mars, Mons art de la scène, Théâtre Des Martyrs in Brussels, Atelier Jean Vilar in Louvain-La-Neuve, Belgium; with the support of the Fondo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes of Chile, of the Fédération Wallonie Bruxelles-arts de la scène-service interdisciplinaire.