Krzysztof Warlikowski's "(A)pollonia" takes the stage at this year's edition of the theatre festival, dedicated this year to the themes of "love and peace" in commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of the nation's independence.
Scene from (A)pollonia photo by Stefan Okołowicz / Teatr Nowy
(A)pollonia by Krzysztofa Warlikowskiego was first staged at the Teatr Nowy in Warsaw in 2009. It has travelled the world with its intricate weaving of classical and contemporary texts to present a grand-scale portrait of civilisation throughout history. The work deals with the question of sacrificing one's life for the sake of a just cause through a combination of ancient Greek myths with texts on the Holocaust and war-time reality under the German occupation. Warlikowski presents the stories of three women who sacrifice themselves in the name of different values, as a result of different circumstances. These realities are confronted with the silent consent to the suffering of other person, prevalent in contemporary culture.
With Greek tragedy as backbone, the first scene opens in the Warsaw Ghetto with Janusz Korczak and the children in his care just before they are sent off to the death camp in Treblinka. Such an opening, fraught with emotion, takes the audience on a journey of cruelty, darkness and deeply into the question of humanity.
(A) pollonia is based on multiple classical and contemporary texts, including Euripides' Alcestis, the Oresteia by Aeschylus, and Hanna Krall's Apolonia, along with minor references to Jonathan Littell's Les Bienveillantes, J.M Coetzee's Elizabeth Costello and Rabidranath Tagore's drama The Post Office. This almost-controversial work examines the history of war and civilization over thousands of years. The discussion of war is not simply about killing, but about righteousness, conflict and sacrifice, specifically self sacrifice.
The performance at the Taipei festival features multimedia projection of violent images and songs performed by the Austrian actress and singer Renate Jett , and the entire company of Nowy Teatr. The set-design is by Warlikowski's long-time collaborator, Małgorzata Szczęśniak, a score by Paweł Mykietyn and lighting by Felice Ross.
The third edition of the festival takes place between February 10 - March 27, 2011 at the National Chiang Kai-Shek Cultural Center. The festival was launched in 2009 with the aim of "crossing borders" in the arts, featuring a programme of original international productions and traditional Taiwanese theatre.
Source: Taiwan International Festival of Arts 2011