Janek Turkowski’s Margarete tells the story of a woman he didn’t and couldn’t have ever known. He attempts to reconstruct her life based on snippets of film he discovered in an old cardboard box. The performance is a reflection on memory, how it can be recorded and perceived. The play will be performed at the prestigious Under the Festival in January 2018.
In 2008, Janek Turkowski discovered a cardboard box containing 64 reels of 8mm film in a North German market close to the Polish border. Each reel consisted of images of the same woman, Margarete Ruhbe. Captivated by the celluloid subject, Turkowski embarked on an artistic reconstruction of the life of a woman he didn’t and possibly couldn't know.
Set against powerful images of the Communist Bloc, the story of Margarete unfolds from Turkowski's curiosity-driven purchase to his private investigation into the identity of a woman who left only a brief but indelible mark through home movies. Using digital and 8mm projections that he edited from the found footage, this intimate solo performance is a reflection on memory, how it can be recorded and how it can be perceived.
Margarete tells the story of a purchase inspired by simple curiosity: a set of 64 film reels which belonged to an unknown person, living in a borderland region of East Germany. The author’s fascination with the aesthetic aspects of images captured on old film and also with the sentimental journey back into the time of communism led him to convert and reuse these original materials. Thus they became a reflection on how we register memories and a private investigation into individual identities, in this case, of the person who left behind traces of themselves imprinted upon those celluloid reels.
Janek Turkowski's play will be performed at the Public Theatre in New York City during the Under the Radar Festival.
Read the New York Times' review of Turkowski's performance here.
Over the last 14 years, The Public Theatre’s Under the Radar Festival has presented over 229 companies from 42 countries. It has grown into a landmark of the New York City theatre season and is a vital part of The Public's mission, providing a high-visibility platform to support artists from diverse backgrounds who are redefining the act of making theatre. Widely recognised as a premier launching pad for new and cutting-edge performance from the U.S. and abroad, Under the Radar Festival has presented works by such respected artists as Elevator Repair Service, Nature Theater of Oklahoma, Gob Squad, Belarus Free Theatre, Guillermo Calderón and Young Jean Lee. These artists provide a snapshot of contemporary theatre: richly distinct in terms of perspectives, aesthetics, and social practice, and pointing to the future of the art form.
Margarete, dir. Janek Turkowski
Dates: 4th – 8th and 10th – 15th January 2018
Venue: The Public Theatre, New York
Created and performed by: Janek Turkowski
Video: Margarete Ruhbe, Martyna Głowacka, Adam Ptaszyński, Marcin Piątkowski and Janek Turkowski
Set Design: Wiesława Turkowska and Janek Turkowski
Music: Roger Anklam and Przemek Radar Olszewski
Translators: Jeannette Boettcher, Marcin Piątkowski and Andrzej Wojtasik
Management: Iwona Nowacka
Find out more: Public Theatre website
The event is organised in cooperation with the Adam Mickiewicz Institute.
Source: press materials, compiled by NR, 21 Dec 2017