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The Warsaw Voice » Culture » June 11, 2008
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Echoes of Babel
June 11, 2008   
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After his successful directorial debut with Peter Turrini's Austrian drama Rozznjogd (Hunting for Rats) for the Wytwórnia Theater in 2007, youthful German director Thomas Harzem has decided to take on another German-language piece.

For a Better World, a play by young German playwright Roland Schimmelpfennig, boasts an epic montage of dialogue (the actors each take on the parts of several characters and even speak the stage directions out loud), evoking loosely connected war scenes somewhere in the Near East or Africa, and scenes of social decay in cities. The montage technique here serves as a means to show the lack of communication between the dramatic characters and in symbolic terms between men in modern society.

Footage showing helicopter attacks in Iraq is projected onto the set, which also echoes with the sounds of a television viewer busy channel surfing. The actors change the performance space themselves by continually rearranging red and blue square lamps on stage. The dynamics of the speech sometimes do not engage the spectator enough to maintain their attention for the whole of the play (especially after the break), but the performance that I saw was only the third and perhaps this shortcoming will be ironed out with time. The last part of the play, a paean to childhood utopia, is spoken by the director himself. A pleasant experience for those who like to watch modern theater in the raw surroundings of a former factory.

L.S.

June 20, 21 and 22 at 8 p.m., Wytwórnia Theater, 18 Markowska St. (corner of Białostocka St.), Warsaw
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