Portuguese theatre historians and directors believe that Tadeusz Kantor’s plays have the potential to fascinate the youth. They deem that the legacy of the Polish artist will be preserved for future generations, although in a modified form.
Over 25 years after Tadeusz Kantor’s visit to Lisbon, where the legendary director staged the play Nigdy tu już nie powrócę / I shall never return here shortly before his own death, interest in his oeuvre remains strong. Just as during the 1989 staging in the capital’s Gulbenkian Foundation, today’s audience visiting Kantor’s plays is also dominated by the young.
Carolina Thadeu, vice-director of the academic NNT theatre in Lisbon, believes that Kantor’s plays remain attractive to both young artists and maturing audiences.
A few years ago we introduced a play called Chez Kantor to our repertoire; it was based on the Polish artist’s output. In 2008 we staged it during the Fatal students’ theatre festival. It turned out a great success, we won the audience award.
– said Carolina Thadeu.
Even though Kantor’s plays aren’t currently a part of NNT’s repertoire, the director of Chez Kantor, Pedro Manuel, hasn’t parted with the Polish artist’s legacy – Manuel is about to complete his PhD on Kantor’s creativity, and is preparing to take part in an international academic conference about the famous artist which will take place in mid-April 2015 in the Portuguese city of Évora.
This event, besides Pedro Manuel, will feature theatrologists, critics and theatre historians from Portugal and other countries of the world, including experts from Poland. Among the lecturers invited to participate in the conference are Anna Burzyńska, Magda Romańska, Eduarda Neves, Wagner Cintra and Michał Kobiałka.
– said the organiser of the Évora event, Professor Jose Alberto Ferreira of the University of Évora's Faculty of Theatre Arts
In Professor Ferreira’s opinion, Kantor’s legacy is still a compelling topic, often discussed in the classes of Portuguese universities.
The plays of the legendary Polish director are a part of our faculty’s student programme each year. I have no doubts that, despite the formalism of the characters, messages about death and the unconventional methods of staging, Kantor’s works will be preserved for future generations and that it will fascinate them.
– Professor Ferreira added.
The Portuguese expert stressed that although "Kantor will remain eternal", it’s crucial to adjust his plays to contemporary conditions:
Kantor’s works are shocking to students, sometimes even frightening. Often, as I watched the recordings of the Polish artist’s plays with young people, I noticed that they were puzzled or surprised by the form of expression, by the director’s relations with his objectified actors; there are also questions about the condition of an artist and a human being.
Professor Ferreira pointed out that the legacy of the Polish director attracts the youth exactly because he broke from conventions. In his opinion it is an urgent matter for the theatrical environment to find an answer the question: what to do with Kantor’s abundant artistic output?
We can be sure that he won’t become the Shakespeare of the turn of 20th and 21st centuries, but an artist who will open doors and who will stimulate young artists to create something new in theatre. Without a doubt he will remain the master of aesthetics and humanism
– Professor Ferreira concluded.