About the repertoire of this year’s 62nd Calis Theater meetings, theatrical assistance to Ukraine and upcoming premieres of Director Wojciech Bogusławski Bartosz Zaczykiewicz you talk Peter Jawrovsky.
Jacob Sedak’s photo
Ahead are the 62nd Calis Theater Meetings – Festival of Performing Arts, which begins on Saturday 7 May. What shows and stars will we see at this year’s festival?
– This year, in the competition, we will be showing 14 shows from 18 theaters across Poland. You may be surprised that there are more theaters than performances, but there is nothing unusual in it – nowadays many shows are being created in co-production of different scenes and thanks to this we will see, for example, “Snow” by Orhan Pamuk, created by theaters From Krakow, Warsaw, Katowice, and Gdansk, such as Teatr Łaźnia Nowa, Teatr Studio, Teatr Śląski and Gdańsk Shakespeare’s Theatre, all directed by Bartosz Schedowski, who directs the prestigious Nowa Comedy Krakow.
The 62nd Kalisz theater meetings unusually began on April 23 with a presentation away by Dziady directed by Maja Kleczewska at Teatr im. Julius Swaki. This is a rowdy and controversial performance for some, and it has big roles – including Dominika Bednarczyk, in the unusual role of actress Gustaw-Konrad and Jan Peszek in the daring role of Senator. This performance, like “Snow”, became the topic of the hour for very sad reasons, such as Russia’s criminal attack on Ukraine. Later in the festival we will see other stars and many winners of previous editions of KST. On May 7, the Kalisz part of the event will open with Goldoni’s “Argument in Chioggi,” a frenetic 18th-century comedy set at the Wybrzeże Theater in Gdask by Pawe Aigner. Among the artists, Grzegorz Gzyl is known and loved by our audience. On May 8th we will be showing Grzegorz Chrapkiewicz’s excellent performance “Bad Jews” at the Gdynia Cultural Center with four young actors. Joshua Harmon’s play is a contemporary success for American scenes, somewhat in the style of Woody Allen, a wise comedy about Jewish youth, delving into the global problems of identity and references to ancestral legacy. On the same day, a “top secret research” by Ivan Verebayev, pushed the diagnosis of modern man into a chair. On May 9, an excellent theatrical performance based on a wonderful adaptation of “The Plague” by Albert Camus – “The Plague” from Teatr im. Stefan Siromsky in Kielce. An interesting fact is that UnaThorleifsdottir, an actor of Icelandic theater at a very high level, was invited to direct this performance, so this year we have a truly global theme. Then we will see Duncan Macmillian’s “Breath” by Grzegorz Małecki – the debut of a brilliant, award-winning actor, among others 61. KST – at the National Theater in Warsaw. It’s an all-act performance – no scenery, no play of lights, no music, just great young artists. Something for everyone and everyone, sometimes very funny, but also thought-provoking.
On May 10, we will show “The Art of Toning” directed by Tadeusz Sobodzhanek, directed by Anna Vikzor from the Dramatic Theater in Warsaw, with the participation of Adam Ferencci and Lukas Lewandowski and others. It’s a great drama about theater and creativity, but it’s really about a man, his genius, and his weaknesses. The show, which lasted nearly four hours, is followed by untiring interest. A must see for theater lovers.
The next day is “Snow” and “Doll House” already mentioned. Part 2 “Lucas Hanath. It’s also a hit in American scenes, also full of acting flavours, and it’s a sequel to Ibsen’s “Burrow” with Magdalena Waligórska, written today. Anna Koneczna, a native of Kalisz, plays there as well, and the show was produced by Nuclear Theater in Zabrze. On May 12, we will see Chekhov’s “Uncle Wanya” from the Ludoi Theater in Krakow, directed by Magorzata Pogagioska with the wonderful Maja Pankiewicz as Sonia. Several winners of the 59th KST Grand Prix, which was awarded collectively to “Disgrace”, They also play in this performance.The second performance of the day is “An Unexpected Return” of IMKA Theater and Gudejko Theater from Warsaw.A play for two by Serge Krebus in which we will see Thomas Karolak and Daniel Olbrichsky, two giant stars.It is hard to find a bigger advertisement for this event.
The penultimate day of the festival is also one of the stars in Marek Modzelowski’s very important play “Who Wants to Be a Jew” from the Współczesny Theater in Warsaw, directed by Wojciech Malajkat. Anyone who saw “Shame” last year, Most Bogusławski’s performance of KST 61, already knows that it is necessary to whet the aesthetic appetite for another work by the Modzelewski-Malajkat duo. On the stage, we will see, among others, Isa Kona, Andrei Zelensky, Krzysztof Draks and the next Kalizanka, Barbara Webic. The Last Day is a show by the host, Teatr im. Wojciech Bogusławski – “Who is Mr. Schmidt” by Sebastian Terry, in which the main role is performed by another native of Kalisz, Marcin Trzosławski – and “foreign” according to the novel by Maria Konsiewicz of the Polish theater in Pozna, excellent theater performance with Alona Szostak prepared by Katarzyna Minkowska, a young director whose name is worth remembering.
In short, the program is very rich and diverse – to paraphrase Gombrowicz, “He who does not see, is a trumpet.”
Have events taking place in the world today, such as the war in Ukraine and the epidemic, affected the KST 62 ammunition?
— the vast majority of this year’s shows happen to have a lot of thought in the contemporary world, even if, as in Shakespeare’s tragedies, they are often intertwined with humor. All performances were first shown before the outbreak of the war, but war often influences their meaning today. It can be seen most clearly in Dziady and Snow, who touch, after all, on the issue of terrorism and religious and national oppression. I think the pandemic itself and its effects have had an impact on theatrical creativity. In the face of closures, as if against restrictions, a lot of very important shows have been created, global, but also speak powerfully about the here and now. Although the previous edition of KST wasn’t held until September, we had the unusual problem of choosing fortune. Finally, focusing on the pandemic itself, a scene has been created in Kilchi that touches on our experience with the coronavirus. Interestingly, the quote “The Plague” of which I am talking was made two or three years before the outbreak of the pandemic, and today it is one of the most literal theatrical paintings, without losing any of its timeless meaning. The universality of Camus’ novel, for whom the plague in Oran was a metaphor for the plague not only as a disease of the body, was captured on stage perfectly.
Did Kalish Theater participate in activities for refugees from Ukraine?
– Yes, we are committed to corporate assistance, and I also know that our employees have helped a lot on their own. As part of the solidarity with Ukraine, we have copied many symbols in our promotional activities, after the performances in which the actors come out with the Ukrainian flags to bow, we encourage fundraising, at the end of the last week of March, the actors themselves raised funds after the performances, we also made our rooms available for refugees, something that was of particular importance in the first weeks of the war. In “Fairy Tale of Happiness” we hired an actress from Ukraine, from Mikołajiw, who lived with part of her family in the theater building. Since there is a translation of this play into Ukrainian, Nastia Bołgowa read the script of this play to children from Ukraine, young refugees, whom we have invited to these performances. There is a very touching moment in the performance, when he talks about coming home… The actors had a great experience playing this piece for guests without their homes…
Back to the festival: at the end, during the ceremony before the jury verdict, the Dziczka group, led by the Ukrainian ethnomusicologist Tetiana Sopiłka, will sing beautiful traditional Ukrainian songs. The Dziczka team specializes in imitating authentic performances as faithfully as possible. We will hear many songs from their latest album, which was in the finalist of the competition for the best sound recording of the year, organized by Polish Radio. The concert is called “Drink Across Ukraine”. “Pa” is an old Polish word meaning road, journey, pilgrimage – the word “pilgrim” comes from it, among other things.
As a matter of fact, the festival starts on May 7th, but this year’s Kalish viewers can witness the performance of one competition in April. Dziady’s show has been away at the Słowacki Theater in Krakow. Will such outdoor performances continue at subsequent festivals?
“I hope it’s an exception – we don’t have any such plans, anyway.” One of the features of the festival is the possibility of meeting simultaneously and in one place. However, for technical reasons, we could not transfer Dziadi to Kalises without fear of major technical losses. A festival in ód did a similar thing. It must also be remembered that the same teatr im. Słowackiego and its beautiful neo-baroque interior are part of the spectacle of this landscape. The modern interior of “Bogusławski” will give a different impression.
Last year, due to the pandemic, the festival in Kalisz was moved from May to September. Should viewers take into consideration any restrictions and limits on entry to the 62 KST audience this year?
– There are no limits at the moment, I hope it stays that way not just for NTN. However, we must remember that the epidemic has not been canceled, so we recommend wearing masks in our regulations. It is always safer. Thanks to safety, we were even able to perform the jubilee version in 2020. It was probably the largest theater festival in Europe in the first year of the epidemic – in Poland for sure.
What first shows will we see at “Bogusławski” after the end of KST and when will they take place?
– At the end of the last week of May, we invite you to “Solness Builder”. This is a lesser known play by Henrik Ibsen. An interesting translation was provided by Szymon Kaczmarek, producer of “Versus” and “Cocaine and Justice for All”, known to our audience, as well as the excellent “Merchant of Venice” presented at KST two years ago, which he received. Golden Yorick Award for Best Shakespeare Performance. In The Builder, Ibsen touched on things that were not widely talked about in his day. I think there could be a very important performance with a contemporary sound.
On June 1, we invite you to a children’s music show – “ZęboveLOVE. For the love of teeth”. An informative story with songs written by Anthony Machui, whom we met at the end of the previous edition of KST – and we were fascinated by his poetic improvisations during the performance of the Impro Comedy Theater from Lodz, we offered him a collaboration. The world premiere will be directed by the creator of the show, Małgorzata Kałędkiewicz, our great actress, but also the creator of the stage “Tadek Niejadka”.
In the fall, we prepare Edward Albe’s “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf”, a contemporary classic, an excellent drama known, among other things, from the film by Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, directed by Radosław Maciąg – and the stage adaptation of Jerzy Andrzejewski’s novel “Idzie skacząc na góry” by Igor Gorzkovsky. We have other plans to produce “Bad”, the legendary novel by Leopold Termand, directed by Radosław Rychcik, but the effectiveness of our plans depends on the financing of this project.