Funny side to the Olympics

Magical Theatrical Vending Machine set constructor Peter Kostron (left) and set designer Fero Liptak play to crowds outside the Langley Events Centre on Saturday night, between periods of the Giants hockey game against the Prince George Cougars. Slovakia’s entry in the Cultural Olympiad at the Games will perform at the Langley Events Centre on Monday, Feb. 8.

There may be a language barrier involved, but the sound of laughter is universal.

“Obviously none of us speak their language (but) the comedy will translate,”said Township of Langley Councillor Jordan Bateman, who is chair of the Langley Torch Relay Committee.

“It is simple, but very physical in what they do. It is very funny, broad physical comedy, We think the great thing about this is it will translate well into any language.”

He is referring to the Magical Theatrical Vending Machine, which is Slovakia’s entry in the Cultural Olympiad at the upcoming Winter Olympic Games.

The group will be performing at the Langley Events Centre on Feb. 8 as part of the Township of Langley’s Olympic torch day celebrations.

When the world junior hockey championships were held in Vancouver in 2006, Slovakia was Langley’s adopted team.

“We got to know the Slovaks through that experience and learned a little bit about their culture and who they are as people,” Bateman explained.

“So this vending machine kind of tied into that.”

The opportunity to bring the group to Langley was too good to pass up.

“Our whole idea with the torch relay celebrations is we are focusing on kids and we thought that kids especially would respond to this kind of humour and they would especially be drawn in to the bright colours and the truck they have put together,” Bateman said. “It seemed to be a good fit.”

The Magical Theatrical Vending Machine is presented by Teatro Tatro, a Slovakian theatre group.

It features a cast of European actors working out of a one-of-a-kind rustic truck, which doubles as a marvel-packed mobile stage.

The show features puppets, pantomime and hilarious sketch comedy based on the Olympic sports.

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