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The Warsaw Voice » Culture » August 29, 2013
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Metaphysics and a Search for Meaning
August 29, 2013   
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TR Warszawa, an innovative, award-winning theater based in Warsaw, opens a new season Sept. 6 with Krum, a play written by Israeli dramatist Hanoch Levin and directed by Krzysztof Warlikowski.

TR Warszawa has for more than 10 years been one of Poland’s most popular theaters and one that welcomes new ideas as well as embracing tradition. The young company is well regarded in Europe and has won prizes at many theater festivals in Poland and abroad. Since 2006, the theater’s general and artistic director has been Grzegorz Jarzyna, known to international audiences for his provocative takes on classic plays and inventive adaptations of challenging contemporary plays.

The new staging of Levin’s Krum, directed by talented Polish theater director Krzysztof Warlikowski, is a joint effort by TR Warszawa and the Stary Theater in Cracow. Written in 1975, the play tells the story of Krum, a middle-aged man who returns to his hometown after many years. Awaited by his mother, friends and the entire local community, Krum finds that everybody he meets is lethargic and apathetic. The people try to find meaning in their lives, but all their attempts are in vain. Life in the town follows a centuries-old pattern marked by births, weddings and funerals. Daily routines interspersed with comic and grotesque events are juxtaposed in the play against a backdrop of sickness and death which nobody ever sees coming.

The next play which TR Warszawa will stage this September is Nosferatu, directed by Jarzyna and inspired by Dracula, the 19th-century Gothic horror novel by Irish writer Bram Stoker. Transylvanian Count Vlad Dracula is trapped between life and death, feeding on the beauty and innocence of others to satisfy his own desires. Jarzyna’s offering is a metaphysical thriller built around the vampire mythology. Nosferatu tells the story of the dark forces hiding in every human being, exploring how the fear of the unfathomable clashes with man’s fascination with nature’s secrets.

This September, TR Warszawa will also stage Miasto Snu (Dream City), directed and with sets by Krystian Lupa. The play, co-produced by the Théâtre de la Ville from Paris, is a stage adaptation of The Other Side by Alfred Kubin, regarded as one of the most extraordinary novels of the 20th century. Born in Litomerice in the present-day Czech Republic, Kubin was a book illustrator whose literary work heralded the dawn of expressionism. The Other Side, his only novel, has been frequently compared to prose by Franz Kafka and Bruno Schulz. Lupa’s play is the story of one man’s search for a happiness which can never be attained. The main character, a visual artist from Munich, travels to the Dream Kingdom which his friend Patera founded somewhere near Tibet. The Kingdom is populated by Europeans who came there in search of a “new spirituality” after the ideals of progress let them down. But what is meant as a refuge from the dictatorship of rationalism turns out to be a totalitarian state that calls to mind nightmares from Kafka’s novels. The main character makes futile attempts at getting in touch with Patera, his wife dies and a revolution breaks out in the capital of the Dream Kingdom, incited by a mysterious millionaire.

TR Warszawa, 8 Marszałkowska St.

Upcoming performances:
Krum: Sept. 6, 7 and 8, 8:30 p.m.
Nosferatu: Sept. 13, 14 and 15, 7 p.m. (staged at the Narodowy Theater, Bogusławskiego Hall, 3 Teatralny Sq.)
Miasto Snu: Sept. 21, 6 p.m. and Sept. 22, 3 p.m.
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