Just in time for the Halloween season, the Barbican Theatre hosts a four-day series with Polish director Grzegorz Jarzyna, exploring his contemporary vision of the dark prince and his fearsome trangressions.
Grzegorz Jarzyna takes the vampire myth to reflect the conflict between the human fascination with dark secrets and the fear of the unknown. Performed by the award-winning TR Warszawa troupe and set to music composed by John Zorn , the production follows a dreamlike trope into the human subconscious.
In this seductive show that Time Out London called a "creepingly erotic, visually ravishing piece", Grzegorz Jarzyna uses the vampiric myth of life after death and the regenerative power of blood in this psychological and metaphysical thriller. Nosferatu explores the conflict between the fear of the unknown entrenched in human nature and our enduring fascination with dark secrets, obsessions and the need for transgression. The psychological and metaphysical thriller is a metaphor for the universal transcendence of human fear and obsession, social taboo and attitudes on the body throughout the ages.
Inspired by Bram Stoker's last 19th-century novel Dracula, it follows a long tradition of artistic reprisals of the vampire theme, which has included F.W. Murnau's 1922 Expressionist film masterpiece Nosferatu and Werner Herzog's1979 film Nosferatu The Vampyre. Jarzyna's show premiered at Warsaw's TR theatre in November 2011 to favourable reviews. In the Rzeczpospolita daily, critic Jacek Cieślak called Jarzyna's staging a "hypnotic film" in which the audience experiences "every bit of silence flowing through the consciousness". The production features German actor Wolfgang Michael, who recognises common ground between the worlds of vampires and humans. As Michael remarks:
The problems they have are not very different from ours. We're lost in the universe just as they are, we don't know where we came from and where we are heading; we're always searching for some kind of sense to it all, for God or the absolute.
Michael calls the director's approach intuitive and instinctive, who is capable of creating a special new space between the reality and the area one is not able to name.
The show premiered on the 12th of November, 2011 at the National Theatre in Warsaw. It was staged in TR Warszawa in late January, 2012. Showings at the Barbican Theatre in London begin on the 31st of December as part of the Barbican after Dark Halloween Special, followed by a Weekend Lab on 3 – 4 November where participants will have the opportunity to discover his distinctive approach through the study of classic Greek texts. Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau’s classic silent film, Nosferatu, A Symphony of Terror (Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens ) will be screened in Cinema One on Saturday 3 November with live musical accompaniment by Paul Robinson, and introduced by Grzegorz Jarzyna. The production has been made possible thanks to the contributions of TR Warszawa, The National Audiovisual Institute, London's Barbican Theatre and Dublin Theatre Festival. The Adam Mickiewicz Institute is a strategic partner to the foreign presentations of the performance.
Nosferatu, based on the novel by Bram Stoker
Direction and text: Grzegorz Jarzyna
Stage Design and Costumes: Jacqueline Sobiszewski
Video: Bartek Macias
Music: John Zorn
Dramaturgy: Rita Czapka
Cast: Sandra Korzeniak, Katarzyna Warnke, Wolfgang Michael, Jan Englert, Jan Frycz, Krzysztof Franieczek, Marcin Hycnar, Lech Łotocki, Adam Woronowicz
For more information, see: www.barbican.org.uk and www.trwarszawa.pl
Editor: Agnieszka Le Nart
Source: Press release