Contemporary Theatre in Szczecin
Wały Chrobrego 3
The Teatr Współczesny (Contemporary Theatre) in Szczecin became a separate institution in 1976. Prior to that, Szczecin's two theatres - the Teatr Polski (Polish Theatre) and the Teatr Współczesny - operated as two venues of a single artistic institution: the State Drama Theatres. Maciej Englert was appointed the Teatr Współczesny's manager in 1976, and this was also when the acting ensemble was put together.
The first show of the "new" Teatr Współczesny was the premiere production of Edward Redliński's JUBILEUSZ / THE JUBILEE directed by Maciej Englert with stage design by Marcin Stajewski (1976). During his three-year tenure Maciej Englert directed many projects in Szczecin, such as the critically acclaimed and popular MACBETT by Eugene Ionesco (1976), this time with stage design by Marek Lewandowski, the Polish premiere of Tennessee Williams' SUMMER AND SMOKE (1976), Aleksander Fredro's DOŻYWOCIE / THE ANNUITY (1977), and a famous and controversial production of Stanisław Wyspiański's WYZWOLENIE / THE LIBERATION with stage design by Marek Lewandowski (1978). Englert proposed a very diverse repertoire, from Shakespeare (THE TEMPEST directed by Englert, 1977), through Maxim Gorky (THE LAST ONES directed by Alexander G. Tovstonogov, 1977), to Witkacy (KURKA WODNA / THE WATER HEN directed by Englert, 1978), and Sławomir Mrożek (KRAWIEC / THE TAILOR directed by Janusz Nyczek, 1978). He developed a theatre distancing itself from any auteur-like staging experiments, a theatre where the actors were of primary importance. By the time his contract expired and he left, the theatre already had its faithful audience. Szczecin's Teatr Współczesny also managed to make a name for itself nation-wide, winning a number of festival awards.
The next manager, Andrzej Chrzanowski, focused mainly on contemporary repertoire. During his tenure the theatre staged premieres such as Janusz Głowacki's KOPCIUCH / CINDERS (1979), Jerzy Krzysztoń's KAMIENNE NIEBO / THE STONE SKY, and the Polish premiere of British writer Brian Clark's WHOSE LIFE IS IT ANYWAY?, all directed by Chrzanowski. The theatre's Mała Scena (Small Stage) at the Pomeranian Dukes' Castle opened in 1980. This was where Molière's THE BOURGEOIS GENTLEMAN was produced by Krzysztof Zaleski (1980), and where two monodramas were staged - Jaroslav Hašek's THE GOOD SOLDIER SVEJK adapted and directed by Waldemar Wilhelm (1980) and SĄDZONE MU BYŁO WYBIERAĆ / HE WAS DESTINED TO CHOOSE based on two novels by Halina Auderska, directed by Chrzanowski (1980). Tadeusz Zapaśnik was a success in both these one-actor productions. While initially the contemporary repertoire and its stage interpretations brought the theatre mainly favourable opinions, the next season and new premieres, to mention Wyspianski's WARSZAWIANKA / THE VARSOVIENNE combined with Anna Janko's RZEŹNIA LALEK / THE DOLLS' SLAUGHTERHOUSE, directed by Chrzanowski (1980), and THE WHITEWASHERS' CONGRESS based on Bertolt Brecht, directed by Chrzanowski and Jacek Koprowicz (1981), were flops.
Ryszard Major was the theatre's next manager, remaining in the post for eight years (1982-1990). He successfully directed Jean Genet's THE MAIDS (1982), Witold Gombrowicz's OPERETKA / OPERETTA (1982) and OPĘTANI / POSSESSED (1987), and Samuel Beckett's WAITING FOR GODOT (1983), a project begun by Stanisław Hebanowski and interrupted by his death. Wiesław Górski put on some interesting shows: LIST DO POZOSTAŁYCH / A LETTER TO THOSE REMAINING based on Edward Stachura (1983), and Peter Shaffer's AMADEUS (1985). Summing up the 1980's at the Teatr Współczesny, Artur Daniel Liskowacki asked:
"And what was the best thing? Probably a mutual curiosity, about oneself and theatre, an open attitude to different ways of thinking about theatre, with a concurrent slightly 'literary' attitude to the stage, though saturated with an aversion to clichés and shallow tradition." ("Nasz Współczesny. Teatr Współczesny w Szczecinie w latach 1976-1996" / "Our Wspolczesny. The Teatr Wspolczesny in Szczecin in 1976-1996")
Boguslaw Kierc was the theatre's artistic manager in 1990-1992. This was a time dominated by poetic, contemplative productions in which attempts were made to present the lyrical word on stage. Projects of this period included ŻONA LOTA / LOT'S WIFE based on Wisława Szymborska (1990) and SODOMA / SODOM based on Julian Stryjkowski (1990) directed by Kierc, as well as the critically acclaimed KLĄTWA / THE CURSE by Stanisław Wyspiański directed by Anna Augustynowicz (1991).
In 1992 Anna Augustynowicz took over as artistic manager. The theatre gained the Malarnia (Paint Shop) - a small stage which opened in 1992. Augustynowicz gave the Teatr Współczesny a distinct profile as a theatre of artistic search which staged contemporary Polish and foreign drama touching on important social issues. It was at the Malarnia that Augustynowicz presented, in a series of Polish premieres, Stig Larsson's C.E.O (1993) and SISTERS AND BROTHERS (1995), Clare McIntyre's LOW LEVEL PANIC (1995), and Marek Koterski's KOCHAM. NAS TROJE / I LOVE YOU. THE THREE OF US (1998). On the main stage, Augustynowicz produced many more Polish premieres, including Grzegorz Nawrocki's famous MŁODA ŚMIERĆ / YOUNG DEATH (1996) and the no less remarkable PEOPLE ANNIHILATION OR MY LIVER IS SICK by Werner Schwab (1997), Ben Elton's POPCORN (1999), and Mark Ravenhill's SOME EXPLICIT POLAROIDS (2002). This kind of repertoire made the Teatr Współczesny in Szczecin one of the most fascinating venues in Poland in the late 1990's and at the start of the next decade. Today the theatre is an almost model example of a theatre harmoniously combining risky searches when staging new plays with interesting interpretations of "classic" drama.
translation: Joanna Dutkiewicz - 2007
Teatr Współczesny w Szczecinie
Wały Chrobrego 3
Phone: (+48 91) 434 24 67, 434 24 51, 434 54 14
Fax: (+48 91) 434 17 77
Wały Chrobrego 3