Can a theatre performance reveal the unattainable truth in another way and place? Is there any chance of an insight into the core of things or self-knowledge? Or are any promises of the kind only usurpation and humbug? Premiered on October 17th, 1896 in the Petersburg Alexandrian Theatre, Chekhov's "The Seagull" poses these and many more questions. For more than one hundred years the play has been inspiring and tempting generations of directors and actors, who once again, all anew, wish to find out if the theatre (the art) can be redemption.
Photo by the Helena Modrzejewska Stary Theatre
Can a theatre performance reveal the unattainable truth in another way and place? Is there any chance of an insight into the core of things or self-knowledge? Or are any promises of the kind only usurpation and humbug?
Should it be allowed to harm others because life isn't all about morality and so morality should be forsaken? What price should be paid for creativity and is it worth it? Is it possible to say anything more than "life is hard and makes no sense"?
Do the "new forms" which surpass the aesthetic, moral and mental borders allow one to come close to the secret c o r e of things? Or do they only expose oneself to the accusations of scandalising and stunning the audience deliberately or in favourable circumstances - hermetism and bore?
Chekhov's "The Seagull", which premiered on October 17th, 1896 in the Petersburg Alexandrian Theatre, poses these and many more questions. The critique, almost unanimously, declared: "Chekhov's play is depressing, all the characters seem decadent and degenerate"; "The play is not only badly conceived, it also is composed with no flair, the content is strange or as a matter of fact the play has no content whatsoever. Each of the acts is permeated by hopeless boredom, falsity, lack of knowledge on life and emotions. 'The Seagull' is simply lots of mess in a poor dramatic shape" or "Chekhov's play is full of nonsense, truisms and filth".
Nonetheless, for more than one hundred years, "The Seagull" has been inspiring and tempting generations of directors and actors, who once again, all anew, wish to find out if the theatre (the art) can be redemption. Paweł Miśkiewicz's interpretation of Chekhov's "The Seagull" premieres on June 4, 2011 in the Kraków's National Stary Theatre.
Paweł Miśkiewicz - an actor and director, lecturer of theatre direction at the Ludwik Solski State Drama School in Kraków, artistic director of the Dramatyczny Theatre in Warsaw. He is a graduate in acting (1989) and theatre direction (1995) from the Ludwik Solski State Drama School in Kraków as well as a graduate in theatre studies at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków. He was employed as an actor at the Stary Theatre after his graduation from Drama School, he made his debut with the role of Alyosha in Krystian Lupa's staging of Dostoievski's "The Karamazov Brothers". He spent 11 years with the ensemble at the Stary Theatre, mostly cast in Krystian Lupa performances.
He's been directing his own performances since 1994, making his directing debut with "Breakfast at the Tiffany's" by Truman Capote at Kraków's Juliusz Słowacki Theatre. At first reproached by the critique of an overly noticeable influence of his master, Krystian Lupa, in his art, in 1998 he directed Yasmina Reza's "The Art" at Wrocław's Polski Theatre which met with great acclaim. Further success followed with his adapatations of prose, including Jerzy Łukosz's "The Return", Witold Gombrowicz's "Cosmos" and Knut Hamsun's "Hunger".
His theatre, inspired most of all by the spiritual experiences of the characters, rather than concentrating on the action, is described as an "introvert" one, finding its inspiration in psychology:
My way of working with the actors is a result of the way I see the world and people - the characters are constructed by taking into consideration elements of biography; experiences which are common to both the actor and the character. Thus, it is very important to get to know the actor, to understand his world and make use of this understanding. Working with an actor, I never start with the analysis of the character, saying it is such and such. We talk about the character and - at the same time - about the individual experience of the actor. I am a slave to realism, in a way. I am interested in the theatre that one can identify with.
-The Theatre Magazine, 2001, no 4
Between 2000-2004 he was the creative director of the Polski Theatre in Wrocław, one of the most significant theatres in Poland. Some of his stagings during that time include Chekhov's "The Cherry Orchard" and Dea Loher's "Clara's Case" - two completely different versions of human loneliness.
I am very personal about the things I do at the theatre. Sometimes I even accuse myself of not being commercial enough - a word very much in vogue these days. I reach for things which interest or hurt me at the moment, things relevant to my emotions. I am past the moment of the initial formation and have already been wounded. Life has already grounded me, forced me to compromise, left me with no illusions. And such are the people I want to talk about - stripped of dreams, lonely, trying to avoid pain and disillusionment.
-Polityka weekly, February 10th, 2011, no 6
In 2001 he directed a diploma performance from the 4th year acting department of the Ludwik Solski Drama School, entitled "The Little Garden of Eden", based on the texts by Tadeusz Różewicz. It was a tremendous success, named one of the most important theatre events of the year, also meeting with great acclaim overseas, during international theatre festivals.
Collaborating in further years with the Dramatyczny Theatre in Warsaw, he became its director in 2008. One of the most distinguished Polish theatre directors, Paweł Miśkiewicz was awarded numerous prestigious prizes in the area of culture, including the Bohdan Korzeniewski Prize For Young Theatre Directors awarded by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage (1995), Passport of the Polityka weekly (2001), as well as awards from numerous theatre festivals.
"The Seagull" based on the play by Anton Chekhov, translation: Natalia Gałczyńska, direction, script, choice of music: Paweł Miśkiewicz, stage design: Barbara Hanicka, light design: Wojciech Puś, cast: Iwona Bielska, Małgorzata Hajewska, Urszula Kiebzak, Roman Gancarczyk, Zbigniew W. Kaleta, Wiktor Loga-Skarczewski, stage designer's assistant: Małgorzata Jochan, director's assistants (theatre directing department at the Ludwik Solski State Drama School): Ewelina Marciniak, Katarzyna Szyngiera, Michał Buszewicz, Damian Dąbek.
The play premieres on June 4, 2011, with repeat performances on June 5,7-10, 2011.
Chamber Stage at the Stary Theatre in Kraków
21 Starowiślna St
Tel. 12 428 47 00
Helena Modrzejewska Stary Theatre in Kraków
5 Jagiellońska St, 31-010, Kraków
Executive and creative director: Mikołaj Grabowski
Secretary: tel. 12 421 29 77
fax 12 421 33 53
Ticket reservation: tel. 12 422 40 40
Source: www.stary-teatr.pl, www.culture.pl