Studio Matejka is an independent, experimental, physical theatre studio based in Wrocław. It was created by an international team of actors exploring contemporary performance techniques.
Studio Matejka is an internationally acclaimed laboratory which allows artists to find and develop their own body language. It was established in 2010 in collaboration with the Grotowski Institute in Wrocław. "I have always wanted to not only inspire my colleagues, but also help them discover potential that they did not even know existed", says the founder of the theatre, the Slovakian Matej Matejka:
Our goal is not to turn the body into an artistic tool for storytelling. On the contrary: we want the physical body to become an innocent instrument capable of complex, subtle expression. By engaging the whole ‘body-mind’, the body becomes a shining reflection of inner thoughts and a channel for self-expression.
– says the website of the Grotowski Institute.
Matejka values silence, mindful breathing, and concentration, which could be a platform for communication between the actors. In the film documenting the workshops in Brzezinka, Matejka stresses that the most important thing in his work is the attempt to find an individual path for everyone.
Studio Matejka from Camera Nera on Vimeo.
Matej Matejka graduated in acting from the National Conservatory in Bratislava. He also studied acting at the Janáček Academy of Music and Performing Arts in Brno (Czech Republic). In the years 2001-2006, he was an actor in the Prague theatre studio Farm in the Cave. Matejka has been working with the Jerzy Grotowski Institute for ten years, where he researches physical expression in theatre. He is also an actor and leader of physical training in the ZAR Theatre. He performs in Gospels of Childhood and Caesarian Section, which has been awarded at numerous Polish and foreign festivals.
Studio Matejka has organised original shows, performance projects, and short films. The team performed successfully at the prestigious Fringe Festival in Edinburgh. The audience of the Summerhall arts centre in Scotland was fascinated by Alexandra Kazazou’s performance Charmolypi, which received critical acclaim in the professional press. The show is based on personal stories of the actress. The Greek word ‘charmolypi’ refers to the duality that lies at the root of human experience. It literally means ‘bitter-sweet’ or ‘joyful sadness’.
In 2014, Awkward Happiness was performed at the Bharat Rang Mahotsav festival in New Delhi. The show, which is inspired by The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera, is a reflection on the futility of happiness. It was very well received by the festival audience and garnered rave reviews in major newspapers. The artists also conducted workshops at the National School of Drama, the institution responsible for the most important annual festival of dramatic theatre in the capital of India. It was the first workshop of such scope organised in New Delhi by the Polish group.
From there, Studio Matejka went to Thrissuru to perform at the International Theatre Festival of Kerala (ITFoK).The performance was presented in an intimate atmosphere before an audience consisting mainly of artists and journalists. It was very well received by the demanding audience, just as in New Delhi.
In addition to performances, the artists also create short films. One of them, Conflict of Apathy won first prize at the NU VIDEO DANCE 2014 for Best Film of the years 2013 and 2014. Their most recent performance is Harmony of Contradictions. Poland, an unusual project that talks about Poland and the Poles from the perspective of international artists living there. "The idea is to show the symbiosis of contradicting standards, attitudes and behaviour that can be observed in Poland. The project involves performers from Poland, France, Ukraine, Congo, the USA and Greece, among others. They all create a subjective image of what they consider Polish," says the press.
Source: Grotowski Institute, Studio Matejka, taniecpolska.pl, own materials, author: AL, transl. Bozhana Nikolova, April 2015