Krzysztof Warlikowski's latest play premieres in Warsaw, drawing upon Kafka, Coetzee and an unproduced film script by Bernard-Marie Koltès in a production that examines the human curiosity for transgression and the burden of guilt.
Maja Ostaszewska and Maciej Stuhr on stage, photo credit: Marek Dusza
Krzysztof Warlikowski's latest play premieres at Nowy Theatre in Warsaw, drawing upon Kafka, Coetzee and an unproduced film script by Bernard-Marie Koltès in a production that examines the human curiosity for transgression and the burden of guilt
In putting together Koniec / The End, Krzysztof Warlikowski drew upon fragments of three different texts: Nickel Stuff, an unproduced film script by Bernard-Marie Koltès, along with Franz Kafka's novel The Trial and Elizabeth Costello by John Maxwell Coetzee. The protagonists of those three stories have one particular pursuit in common: they all get a glimpse of the edge of their situation, standing at the gates of law, life and death. They are all tempted to cross the line and explore the mystery on the other side.
Like Orson Welles in his time, Warlikowski is fascinated by the treatment of these aspects in Kafka's novel, putting forth the theory that there is no mystery or second layer, that there is nothing to explain in a labyrinth of dreams. And that there is no exit to be found. For Warlikowski, theatre provides a passageway between the real world and this world of dreams and imagination.
"After '(A)pollonia' I needed to recover before I could focus on a new project", explains Warlikowski, "I read the recently uncovered text by Koltès after I had staged his 'Roberto Zucco' and 'Quay West'. 'Nickel Stuff' was interesting in that it was not perfect, unpolished, open, which provides a lot of room to such a director as me who needs a lot of freedom in handling a text".
Nickel Stuff is the story of a boy who works in a supermarket and dances in a club at night. The decision to quit his job pushes him to commit a crime. While reading the text, Warlikowski discovered many parallels to Kafka's work and biography, also drawing upon Coetzee, who was inspired by The Trial in Elizabeth Costello.
"Coetzee puts his female protagonist in a Kafka-esque situation - he paints a new picture of the human at the gate, trying to get on the other side. In front of the gate stands a guard, who denies her entrance. Elisabeth Costello has to hand a declaration of faith to pass the gate. In this way, Cotzee confronts himself with the Kafka myth, inspired, in turn, by the Bible. Koltès' character, on the other hand, stands at the gate, at the edge of murder. In those texts, it is actually all about guilt", says the director.
The performance was produced with the participation of: Théâtre de l'Odéon in Paris, Théâtre de la Place in Liège, La Comédie de Clermont-Ferrand - Scène Nationale in Clermont-Ferrand, Hebbel am Ufer in Berlin.
- Koniec / The End, based on Nickel Stuff by Bernard-Marie Koltès, The Trial and The Hunter Gracchus by Franz Kafka, and Elisabeth Costello by John Maxwell Coetzee. Adapted by Krzysztof Warlikowski, Piotr Gruszczyński, in collaboration with Wojciech Kalarus. Directed by Krzysztof Warlikowski. Stage design and costumes by Małgorzata Szczęśniak. Music by Paweł Mykietyn. Lights by Felice Ross. Choreography by Claude Bardouil. Video projections by Denis Guéguin. Cast: Stanisława Celińska, Magdalena Cielecka, Ewa Dałkowska, Wojciech Kalarus, Marek Kalita, Mateusz Kościukiewicz, Zygmunt Malanowicz, Maja Ostaszewska, Magdalena Popławska, Jacek Poniedziałek, Anna Radwan-Gancarczyk, Maciej Stuhr and others. Musicians: Paweł Bomert, Paweł Stankiewicz, Fabian Włodarek.
The premiere takes place at the Farat Film Studio, 22 Notecka Street in Warsaw: September 30, 2010; repeat performances at Nowy Theatre on October 1-3, 6-9, 2010.
- Nowy Theatre
10/16 Madalińskiego Street, 02-513 Warsaw
tel. (+48 22) 849 35 53
fax (+48 22) 849 35 51
Sources: press materials, www.nowyteatr.org