THE ACADEMY OF MR. KLEKS
Music: Andrzej Korzyński
Lyrics: Jan Brzechwa, Krzysztof Gradowski and Daniel Wyszogrodzki
Libretto: Wojciech Kępczyński and Daniel Wyszogrodzki, based on the series of books by Jan Brzechwa
ROMA Musical Theatre: 27 January 2007
Generations of Poles have been brought up on the stories and verses of Jan Brzechwa, with the most well-known of them – the adventures of Mr Kleks and his Academy – being a Polish literary classic. The film adaptations of his works have also achieved the same classic status. Transferring his beloved stories onto the stage was a huge challenge for ROMA Musical Theatre, but securing the collaboration of Andrzej Korzyński, the cult film music composer, was a major turning point on the journey.
It’s a true family spectacle – for audiences of all ages. Of course, there is no shortage of singing and dancing, and the show is overflowing with wonderful music. But ROMA Musical Theatre’s production of “The Academy of Mr Kleks” also presents a whole gallery of colourful characters. With exciting non-stop action and plenty of humour, it’s a spectacular show which mirrors what is happening around the world in musicals today.
The show’s producers have strived to keep the show’s universal message. This musical version of “The Academy of Mr. Kleks”, through the many adventures of its characters and daring stage action, tells us that it’s good to trust in our fantasies, but it also conveys the message that only faith in ourselves can perform miracles. It reminds us that our imagination has magical power, and it also prompts us to consider the question: What would our lives be without a touch of magic?
In this age of the incredible popularity of Harry Potter, it’s worth highlighting the fact that a series of books about a school for wizards and an academy of magic was written in Poland more than 50 years ago. And it’s precisely this series of books – “The Academy of Mr. Kleks”, “The Travels of Mr. Kleks” and “The Triumph of Mr. Kleks” – that provides the broad canvas for this musical, supplemented with some of Andrzej Korzyński’s most popular songs from the Mr. Kleks films.
Key to the show is the artistic vision of the production, one which was outlined by the director and brought to life by some of the leading specialists from Poland and around the world. The set for the show was created by Boris Kudlička, a set designer of worldwide fame who specialises in musical theatre (especially opera), and his enthusiasm guaranteed a thoroughly modern stage design.
A modern musical stage should include a multimedia dimension and so the adventures of the heroes of Brzechwa’s stories are played out against a backdrop of colourful animations created by the young Oscar-nominated animator, Tomek Bagiński. Bringing to life the shared vision of the director, set designer and animator required the synchronisation of many elements to an unprecedented degree of complexity. The technology always remains subservient to the show, however, and it never takes precedence over the actors, music or the story itself.
Selected songs: “Kaczka Dziwaczka” (Strange Little Duckling), “Magiczna siła wyobraźni” (The Imagination’s Magical Power), “Klexografia (Biegiem po piegi)”, (Klexography (Running After Freckles)), “Świat bez magii” (A World Without Magic), “Hej, barakuda” (Hey Barracuda), “Nikt nie może być szczęśliwy” (Nobody Can Be Happy) and “Bąbloepoka” (Bubblepoch).