Kiev hosted the visionary out-door production of Teatr Biuro Podróży. Inspired by Stanisław Lem's witty and poignant diagnosis of the contemporary world, "Planet Lem" reflects on the impact technological progress has on man.
Photo by Jakub Wittchen
Kiev's historic Sophia Square hosted the visionary open-air production of "Planet Lem". Teatr Biuro Podróży performers took their bows four times to enthusiastic applause
Inspired by Stanisław Lem's witty and poignant diagnosis of the contemporary world, "Planet Lem" reflects on the impact technological progress has on man. In the play of Teatr Biuro Podróży, Ijon Tichy, our contemporary, sets out to meet future humans thanks to time travel technology. He encounters beings who are idle and passive, and whose existence has been reduced to the intake of hallucinogen doses. What will be the outcome of this meeting? This question is posed within the setting of a visually elaborate play, which combines a mobile set-design, multimedia projections and a musical score composed especially for the piece.
Paweł Szkotak, the director of Planet Lem:
Lem's genius lies in his capacity of not only predicting technological advancements, but also in the ability to show the impact these advancements will have on mankind. Our humanoid descendant will not only look different, but will also have different family and social bonds. (...) A longing for the sacred, a fantastic decorum and the dream of a better world make science fiction a contemporary 'sanctuary' of commonly understood romantic ideals. (...)
Video of Planet Lem in Kiev:
Teatr Biuro Podróży is a Poznań-based theatre group founded in 1988 by Paweł Szkotak. The theatre's productions have been presented in 46 countries (including Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Columbia, Cuba, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Korea, Lebanon, Mexico, Palestine, Singapore, Taiwan, USA, and most European countries).It has produced thirteen performances including eight outdoor performances and won awards such as the Director Award at the Fadjr Festival in Tehran (for "Macbeth") as well as the Fringe First, Critics’ Award, the Hamada Award in Edinburgh and the Grand Prix at the Athens Theatre Festival for "Carmen Funebre".Their shows have been lauded as "unforgettable", "powerful" and '"highly recommended".
The theatre, which organises many educational opportunities for young people, aims to reach out to audiences who do not normally have access to artistic events (hence their use of outdoor venues). They also organise the annual Maski festival in Poznań, which was established in 1997 and showcases "engaged theatre" from both Poland and abroad.
The group's former performances include "H of D", which focused on class divisions, "Macbeth", which takes place in a nightmarish world populated by ghosts and witches in a production that utilises moving set, motorbikes, stilts and fire, "Pigs", which tells the tragi-comic tale of pigs brought up to love man, who then betrays them and "Carmen Funebre", the inspiration for which was the war in Bosnia, other global conflicts, and deep-rooted national intolerance. In preparation for "Carmen Funebre", members of the theatre company met refugees from former Yugoslavia. The refugees’ accounts of lost homes and relatives gave inspiration to the actors as they worked on various scenes and built metaphors which described universal themes of the condition of displaced people. The troupe is engaged in ongoing project, supported by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute, entitled: "Theatre Without Boundaries" which aims to stage performances in places of heightened social or political tension, such as the West Bank or Chernobyl.
Sophia Square is located in front of St. Sophia's orthodox cathedral, often referred to as the "mother of orthodox churches". Two monuments - a statue decidated to Bohdan Khmielnicky and the tomb of the Patriarch of Ukraine and Russia, Volodimyr - are situated in the square.
Sophia Square hosts both political and cultural events. In the beginning of the 20th century, the Central Council of Ukraine (the national parliament at the time) announced its Universals here, and in 1991 it was also the place where the state of Ukraine officially proclaimed its independence.
Co-produced by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute, Teatr Biuro Podróży's showings take place in Brussels, Paris, London, Berlin, Madrid, Moscow, Kiev, and Beijing
Date: 3rd and 4th of September, 2011, 9 pm
Venue: Sophia Square, Kiev
Organised by: Adam Mickiewicz Institute
Project cofinanced by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland.
Planet Lem is a Flagship Project of the Cultural Programme of the Polish Presidency. For more information on the project, as well as performance trailers, see: Planet Lem
Source: Adam Mickiewicz Institute
See more on the Polish Presidency Cultural Programme in Kiev