What To Look Forward To In Polish Theatre in 2018
small, Poster for 'Biesy', directed by Natalia Korczakowska, 2018, photo: Studio Theatre in Warsaw, biesy-www-m.jpg
Polish theatre has plenty to offer. What does it have in store for us this year? Strzępka is going to reach the ‘heart of darkness’, Garbaczewski will invite you to a ‘symposium’, Kleczewska will do things just ‘as you like them’, and of Warlikowski will make his long-awaited comeback … Culture.pl presents a list of must-see plays that are worth your while!
Kielce plunged into Darkness on 13th January 2018. The dynamic theatre duo Monika Strzępka and Paweł Demirski started the year off with the premiere of a play inspired by the most famous short story written by Joseph Conrad.
This co-production by Stefan Żeromski Theatre and Warsaw’s Imka Theatre is a part of the Conrad 2017 programme which aims to popularise the Polish-British writer. The creators claim that Conrad’s Heart of Darkness has remained relevant since ‘the attempts to create a totalitarian empire and exploit the weaker are still a part of reality for many regions around the world’. The Warsaw took place on 3rd February. The cast includes, among others, Magda Grąziowska, Anna Kłos-Kleszczewska and Tomasz Schimscheiner.
At Studio Theatre in Warsaw, Natalia Korczakowska faces off with Dostoevsky. This is the next meeting of this director with a famous novel, after Berlin Alexanderplatz. According to previews, this version of Demons supposedly interprets the work in a ‘dangerously contemporary’ way.
Korczakowska is working on this adaptation of the classic Russian writer's book together with Adam Radecki. On stage, we will see a large part of Studio’s amazing troupe of actors including Irena Jun, Ewelina Żak, Anna Paruszyńska, Bartosz Porczyk, Krzysztof Zarzecki and Mirosław Zbrojewicz. Demons premiered on 26th January 2018.
On 17th February 2018, the Polish Theatre in Warsaw went up in flames: the troupe Pożar W Burdelu (editor’s translation: Fire In A Brothel) premiered their newest show Duchy: Musical Spirytystyczny (Ghosts: The Musical Seance). It is described as a peculiar spectacle involving the participation of the audience, exploring the topic of ghosts from Poland’s past.
Thanks to its previous performances, the energetic cabaret team set up by Michał Walczak, and Maciej Łubieński managed not only to warm up Warsaw’s audiences but also to earn a nomination for Polityka weekly’s Passport awards. Their crazy, daring shows took the Warsaw theatre scene by storm. The group has left the confines of the small Klubokawiarnia Chłodna 25 for the larger stages of Studio or Nowy Theatre. This time, we will see them in the Polish Theatre.
‘A word about Eros, and maybe also a little about love’, in other words, Polish theatre director Krzysztof Garbaczewski meets Plato. The director undertook the adaptation of Symposium based on the new translation by Andrzej Serafin. Will he take us on another journey into virtual reality?
This will be the first premiere in Nowy Theatre with Jaśmina Polak and Bartosz Bielenia who joined the theatre’s team early this year. The outcome of Garbaczewski's struggle with Plato was first performed on 8th February 2018, starring the stars of Krzysztof Warlikowski's theatre: Magdalena Cielecka, Małgorzata Hajewska-Krzysztofik and Jacek Poniedziałek.
The Jewish Theatre together with the Polish Theatre in Warsaw invite us to see Kilka Obcych Słów Po Polsku (A Few Foreign Words In Polish) directed by Anna Smolar, the Polish-French director who will stage a text written by Michał Buszewicz.
Marking the 50th anniversary of the events of March 1968, the creators examine the relationships between generations by asking questions about memory and the identity it shapes. They want to ask about conversations about the past, inheriting experiences and clichés in perceiving momentous events. On stage, we will see, among others, Grażyna Barszczewska, Katarzyna Herman and Paweł Sakowicz, who also did the choreography. The premiere took place at the Polish Theatre on 10th March.
It will be worth revisiting Studio Theatre where Radosław Rychcik is directing his version of The Card Index (Kartoteka). Rychcik has said about Tadeusz Różewicz’s most famous work: ‘It is a classical text – this feature is enchanted in a form that remains open forever’.
Rychcik approached the text as a universally applicable biography. The laureate of a Polityka Passport invited Dominika Biernat, Natalia Rybicka, Dominika Ostałowska, Bartosz Porczyk, Tomasz Nosiński and Marcin Bosak to the cast.
The Polish Theatre will see a new production by Jan Klata. The director will present an adaptation of the great historical novel entitled The Great Frederick (Wielki Fryderyk). The work, though staged rather rarely, has been interpreted by such outstanding directors as Ludwik Solski and Kazimierz Dejmek, and now also by the winner of Konrad Świnarski Prize.
Audiences can see the early 20th-century work by Adolf Nowaczyński on stage with the great Jan Peszek starting in March.
Warsaw’s Nowy Theatre will also give us the opportunity to travel in time. The series entitled 2118, curated by Tomasz Plata, began on 27th March 2018 with the premiere of a production by Anna Karasińska.
The project is supposed to echo of the first avant-garde visionaries, who, at the beginning of the 20th century, invented something that hadn't existed before’. There was only one rule the artists invited had to abide by (among them, except for Karasińska, Wojciech Ziemilski and Anna Nowak) and it was a ban on using the word ‘utopia’. The curatorial statement emphasised that the goal of 2118 was to come up with ‘what is possible – not utopian’.
Maja Kleczewska, laureate of the Silver Lion at the last year's Venice Biennale, is going to visit Kielce to pose questions about the meaning of contemporary art. Kleczewska's adaptation of Shakespeare’s As You Like It will close the season at the Stefan Żeromski Theatre.
The title of one of the most famous comedies written by the Bard will be supplemented with a question mark. What will be the results of this perverse and ironic gesture? We will find out in June 2018.
June will see legendary Polish theatre director Krzysztof Warlikowski's comeback. Almost three years after The French (Francuzi), the director returns to Warsaw with his adaptation of the drama Suitcase Packers by Hanoch Levin. The play, written by the Israeli playwright and translated by Jacek Poniedziałek, presents a ‘world in which everyone suffers from some illness and stands at death's door. Somewhere in the background, appears a myth of the West, where grief is a little more bearable‘. The long-awaited premiere by Warlikowski is going to be a perfect end of the season at Nowy Theatre.
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Sources: press materials, compiled by MO, translated by AS, Apr 2018