Krzysztof Warlikowski's production featuring the actors from the Nowy Theatre premiered on the 2nd of December, as part of the international Prospero project
How to stem a bleeding of gods? Try it and you are bound to fail. The twilight of gods has touched all areas, even those secular, interpersonal described by Shakespeare. So we bleed together with gods and our blood falls upon us as a black rain which neither brings relief nor refreshment. Exactly the opposite, in the scorching African sun which beats down the characters of J.M. Coetzee's novel blood dries up with scabs sticking to clean clothes which we wear to hide our decomposition progressing day by day.
Warlikowski has called Shakespeare his "master", valuing the playwright's unwillingness to compromise in telling the story of the world, not just a scrap of reality. His first Shakesperean production - The Merchant of Venice - took the stage of the W. Horzyca stage in Toruń in 1994. Ever since then he has brought Hamlet, The Taming of the Shrew, The Tempest and more to Polish audiences with a new, contemporary perspective within a global context.
Lear, Shylock and Othello – three Shakespearean heroes deprived of safe narration, stand before us with the genuine force of their demise. A bleeding god is a man who desperately seeks love. A man who suffers the miseries of race, legacy, social position and difficult choices, each of the three is shunned from society - surrounded by women entangled with his weakness. Sooner or later everyone is to experience the condition of Lear, Othello or Shylock by becoming an animal banned from its herd. Shakespeare depicted these states through a tragic prism of history's titans acting in circumstances of tale and myth. Coetzee, through his telling of the apartheid reality, describes his characters only through categories of existence. He does not create soaring plots but instead designs intimate and unbearable psychotic worlds through which his own broken pride is filtered.
African Tales by Shakespeare, the show by Polish director Krzysztof Warlikowski produced together with the Nowy Theatre's actors as part of the international Prospero project, references a spectrum of Shakespearean works - "Othello", The Merchant of Venice, King Lear and the novel by J.M. Coetzee entitled Summertime. The director who has already staged ten Shakespearean dramas now creates his own fascinating vision of man extracted from the space of border experiences.
The show is a co-production with the Prospero project which is an initiative launched by a network of 6 European theatres; Théâtre de la Place (Liege – Belgium), Théâtre National de Bretagne (Rennes – France), Emilia Romagna Teatro Fondazione (Modena – Italy), Schaubühne am Lehniner Platz (Berlin – Germany), Fundação Centro Cultural de Belém (Lisbon – Portugal), Tutkivan Teatterityön Keskus (Tampere – Finland), Grand Théâtre de la Ville de Luxembourg from Luxembourg as well as Paris Théâtre National de Chaillot. This year Krzysztof Warlikowski is the featured director this year, following in the footsteps of Thomas Ostermeier and Alvis Hermanis. The initiative is aimed at creating major cultural events and promoting a common cultural platform across national borders. The project promotes creativity, exchange and cohesion between nations while aiming to stimulate social and economic progress.
The production features Warlikowski's longtime partners: Małgorzata Szczęśniak – costumes and stage design, Paweł Mykietyn – music, Piotr Gruszczyński – dramaturgy, Felice Ross – light design.
Cast: Stanisława Celińska, Ewa Dałkowska, Małgorzata Hajewska-Krzysztofik, Maja Ostaszewska, Magdalena Popławska, Adam Ferency, Wojciech Kalarus, Marek Kalita, Zygmunt Malanowicz, Piotr Polak, Jacek Poniedziałek.
The African Tales by Shakespeare premiered on the 5th of October 2011 in Liege.
The Polish premiere took place on the 2nd of December 2011 at 19:00 at the Nowy Teatr in Warsaw. Repeat performances: 3-4, 7-9, 11 December 2011.
Source: press materials