Directed by Anna Augustynowicz, Polski Theatre in Poznań, November 2001.
Anna Augustynowicz, far from giving up her theatrical explorations, seems intent on deepening them, once again returning to the work of a young playwright and tackling the topic of the place of young people in the contemporary world. This time she has staged the work of Marius von Mayenburg, one of Germany's young playwriting stars. The Polish public is familiar with Mayenburg's work: Thomas Ostermeier's excellent staging of Fireface / Feuergesicht was shown at the 1999 edition of the Contact Theatre Festival in the city of Toruń.
Parasites is about young people who are unable to meet the challenges which adult life places before them and become dependent on others. Mayenburg's play focuses on two couples who engage in psychological and physical battle and end up destroying each other. They live under the illusion that denouncing any and all principles, the elevated and empty principles, freeing themselves from the falsity and hypocrisy of bourgeois society.
There is no hope in the world that Mayenburg creates. There are no grand ideas. The characters are ruled by their obsessions and a highly developed instinct towards self-destruction. This world is dehumanized in the extreme - it is cold, inhuman, and Godless. I am unable to read Mayenburg without rejecting his point of view. The world he describes is unacceptable.
The five main characters of 'Parasites' are entangled in a series of sadomasochistic dependencies. Their sole motivation to act seems to be their hatred towards all that lives and breathes (themselves included). Friderike (Beata Zygarlicka) and Petrik (Roland Nowak) draw strength from torturing each other psychologically. Their interaction appears to be a kind of primitive ritual in which it is difficult to distinguish between the victim and the torturer. It is likely that the third being involved, which Friderike carries under her heart, will become the hostage in the adults' brutal game of strike and counter-strike.
In staging Parasites, Anna Augustynowicz has achieved a miracle of transformation. A repulsively unfriendly text has been complemented by the truthful performances of a finely tuned ensemble cast. Zygarlicka is superb (as always!), Brzezinski excellent, Bandurska marvelous, and Lotocki purely perfect. Clearly, what the play portrays is neither the entire nor the only truth about the contemporary world. Nevertheless, it may be worth seeing as a penetrating look into ourselves. It is a look that sees the reflection from a distorted mirror, but distorted mirrors have the peculiar quality of strengthening the observer's perception of depth. (Janusz. R. Kowalczyk, Rzeczpospolita daily).
- Marius von Mayenburg, PASOŻYTY / PARASITES / PARASITEN, translated by Elzbieta Ogrodowska-Jesionek, directed by Anna Augustynowicz, scenery designed by Marek Braun, music by Jacek Ostaszewski. Premiere: November 30, 2001 at the Polski Theatre in Poznań.