The Edinburgh Fringe Festival hosts Poland's Teatr Wiczy, a living legend of alternative theatre in Poland. Edinburgh audiences have an opportunity to come face to face with Charlie Chaplin (played by Krystian Wieczynski) as he psychs himself up for the last scene of the "The Great Dictator" film.
Krystian Wieczyński in "I, the dictator," Romuald Wiczy-Pokojski; photo by Marcin Gladych / Teatr Wiczy
The Edinburgh Fringe Festival features "I, Dictator" a surprising one-man show by Polish Teatr Wiczy
The Edinburgh Fringe Festival hosts Poland's Teatr Wiczy, a living legend of alternative theatre in Poland. Edinburgh audiences have an opportunity to come face to face with Charlie Chaplin (played by Krystian Wieczynski) as he psychs himself up for the last scene of the "The Great Dictator" film. In an avant-vaudeville style the protagonist prepares his show about the desperate pursuit of power. We see an artist who defies the authorities and a man, who struggling with his weaknesses, must make a crucial career decision. Using tap-dance, jazz, mime and an expressive visual style that creates an exciting and intimate theatrical experience, the story reveals human relationships and the international community's attitude towards Nazi Germany just before World War II. Mark Brown, the Fringe festival writer, further explains that in the show:
Chaplin is working on a movie in the face of the indifference and even hostility of a largely isolationist American establishment, which does not want an English actor – no matter how great – dragging the United States into Europe's war against fascism. This real-life situation created in the mind of writer/director Romuald Wicza-Pokojski has been developed into a fictional drama in which a representative of the Hitler regime inveigles his way into Chaplin's dressing room in Hollywood and, playing upon the actor's isolation, attempts to buy him off with Nazi cash.
Charlie Chaplin once said that: "We think too much, and feel to little. More than machinery, we need humanity". And not unlike the master's earlier words, Romuald Wicza-Pokojski, the leader of Teatr Wiczy defines its work as "the expression of our lives, the lives of other young people, and the world we inhabit (...). Our problems, complexes and failures 'create' our protagonists, both on stage and in our everyday existence (...). Today, the theatre is searching, touching, analysing, and asking questions".
Teatr Wiczy was established in 1991 by Romuald Wicza-Pokojski - a director, dramatist and culture activist. The Company, currently based in Toruń, addresses crucial social issues by searching for new means of stage expression. A close observation of everyday life has become the principal aim of the company who create their own shows using improvisation and performance techniques issuing from the collaborative effort of the whole group.
The only limitations accepted by the artists involved are those imposed by the word "theater". And for a number of years now, Teatr Wiczy has made a major impact on the alternative theatre stage in Poland. Their shows are eagerly awaited and broadly discussed in the country and abroad.
Performances in Edinburgh are part of Teatr Wiczy's programme across Europe and Asia as part of the Cultural Programme of the Polish EU Presidency.
Date: 4th-14th and 16th-28th of August 2011.
Venue: New Town Theatre, Edinburgh
Source: press release, www.wicza.com, www.edinburghfestival.list.co.uk.