Istanbul Art News Interviews Grzegorz Jarzyna
small, Istanbul Art News Interviews Grzegorz Jarzyna, Grzegorz Jarzyna, Photo: TR Warszawa, jarzyna_grzegorz_bio1_4238041.jpg
Read the interview with prominent Polish director Gregorz Jarzyna conducted by Istanbul Art News on the eve of 19th Istanbul Theatre Festival!
For more information on Polish highlights at the Festival, visit here.
1.Your two plays will be staged during the festival. As I know, this will be your first meeting with people from Turkey. I wonder what your expectations and ideas are about the audience you will meet.
I am always excited to meet new audiences and confront myself with their reactions. I have no preconceptions about the public. Despite all the differences, Poland and Turkey have much in common – both countries were at a time great empires, both have now lost some of their importance despite still being large countries, both are situated on the outskirts of Europe, both have a large diaspora abroad (among others in Germany). I must admit I am very curious about the reaction of the Turkish public.
2. The audience will meet today's Polish family in your play of No Matter How Hard We Tried which is written by Dorota Maslowska. What would be the hints you can give audiences if you were to make a reading of the play through the perspective of "Poland"?
Although at first the play may seem very Polish, it has many topics or aspects that are transferable – the illusion that “the grass is always greener on the other side” is quite universal. In her play, Dorota Masłowska confronted generations, languages, ways of thinking and functioning, different everyday realities in order to bring out the discord, the non-existence of so called ”statistical Pole”, the lack of a common ground where all this could meet and could be described by the word “we”. Everything in the play is rather gruesome and exaggerated but at the end of the day, the message is positive and affirming. We do not say: “Oh, what an awful country we live in, how drab!” On the contrary, this play is an affirmation of being a Pole and of Polishness –which is not always obvious for the generation of people in their thirties.
3. There is a collaboration between TR Warszawa and Berlin Schaubühne am Lehniner Platz for the play, No Matter How Hard We Tried. Could you tell us more about this collaboration?
Cooperations are very interesting as they add another dynamic to the creative process. From the outset we have to think about a larger and different audience, we have to organize our performing schedule in order to incorporate foreign trips. Collaborations give a chance to expand. At TR Warszawa we are quite used to cooperations both with Polish and with foreign partners – Nosferatu as well has been co-produced with Teatr Narodowy in Warsaw and with several partners such as Barbican Theatre, Dublin Theatre Festival, Adelaide Festival. Apart form artistic and exposure reasons, there are also financial ones – everybody is struggling for funds nowadays and collaborations, especially with such renowned partners like ours allow to produce quality performances.
4. Nosferatu is your interpretation of Dracula. What awaits the audience in this play? What will they come upon?
In this production I was trying to weave such a delicate material like never before. I was interested by what is between the idea and the reality, between the concept and the creation, between the light and the darkness. I wanted to show the border-line experience that teeters on the brink of truth, kitsch, boredom and attractiveness. I was trying to show that which is unexpressed, unnamed, some kind of a non-existence, of a freezing in time, a slowdown. I didn’t want to give the spectator ready interpretations. Myself, I am always intrigued by things I don’t understand. The process of getting to know is fascinating for me. I didn’t want to be original, I wanted to have my share in the process of creation and cognition. In Nosferatu I wanted the spectators to create the reality, I wanted them to come up with their own interpretation of the performance based on their own associations. This production is a kind of a delicate draft that everyone who allows himself to be drawn to this story will fill with his own drawings.
19th istanbul theatre festival
5. What I think is, the best parts of the festivals are that they create great opportunities to understand different cultures (despite not being able to understand the language sometimes), and catch different perspectives of viewing. Will you have a chance to watch other plays during the festival, alongside your own?
I would very much like to and I’ll do my best to do so, but during my stay in Istanbul I will not only present two of my performances but also lead an intensive workshop with Turkish actors and take part in a discussion panel, so I will not have much time left for exploring the programme of the festival. But being at this excellent festival and having the opportunity to meet other artists and exchange ideas is very important to me.
6. To audiences who will experience contemporary Polish theatre for the first time through your two plays, what kind of pre-reading advice would you give?
Polish contemporary theatre is very varied, so I could not advise one title, especially that I am not sure what is available in Turkish. There are directors (including me) who work with classical texts, with new texts, with their own texts.... I think that the best hint to the audience – to any audience – is to be open-minded and curious. The reception depends very much on your own individual background, experience and attitude. In today’s global world, nationality doesn’t seem to be that crucial, more important is the common ground of sensitivity and intellectual and human affinity.
Sources: Istanbul Art News