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The Warsaw Voice » Stage & Screen » May 7, 2015
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Top Theater
May 7, 2015   
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Warsaw audiences saw nine of the best plays staged in Poland last year during the 35th Warsaw Theater Meetings festival, which took place March 21-April 1.

The festival performances were held at the Dramatyczny, Powszechny and Studio theaters and the ATM Hall. The venues were packed for most shows and since English subtitles were provided for the majority of performances, foreign audiences got a unique opportunity to see the best productions from across Poland.

Just days after the program was announced, several shows were sold out and the organizers decided to schedule extra performances of the most popular plays. These included Nie-Boska Komedia. Wszystko powiem Bogu (The Un-Divine Comedy. I’ll Tell God), written by Pawel Demirski and directed by Monika Strzepska from the Stary Theater in Cracow, and Wycinka (Woodcutters), based on the novel by German writer Thomas Bernhard, directed by Krystian Lupa and staged by the Polski Theater from Wrocław.

The 35th Warsaw Theater Meetings festival coincided with the 250th anniversary of the emergence of theater sponsored by the public authorities in Poland. To mark the anniversary, this year’s festival focused on Polish theater classics. Some of the plays, however, were given a modern twist. Festival audiences saw two versions of the Romantic drama Dziady (Forefathers’ Eve) by Adam Mickiewicz, one of Poland’s most celebrated poets. One version was staged by the Nowy Theater from Poznań and directed by Radosław Rychcik, who updated the Polish classic with American pop-culture themes, which, visible in the set design, costumes and makeup, gave the drama a more universal meaning. The other version, staged by the Polski Theater from Wrocław, remained faithful to the original play. Director Michał Zadara gave his viewers the full and unabridged version of the drama, so they could hear all dialogues and monologues exactly the way they were written by Mickiewicz. Over the years, theaters across Poland have staged more than 100 versions of Dziady, but before Zadara, nobody has ever taken on the drama in its entirety.

The 35th Warsaw Theater Meetings featured a best-of selection of plays that, staged at the festival in previous years, were recorded for the Polish Television Theater. These archival performances were screened at the Dramatyczny Theater’s Przodownik stage and included Dzi¶ s± moje urodziny (Today Is My Birthday) by Tadeusz Kantor and ¦lub (The Wedding) by Witold Gombrowicz, both recorded during the 21st Warsaw Theater Meetings in 1992; Thomas Bernhard’s Kalkwerk directed by Krystian Lupa (1993); Eugene Ionesco’s Exit the King, directed by Jerzy Grzegorzewski (1998); and Fyodor Dostoyevski’s Crime and Punishment directed by Andrzej Wajda (1987).

This year’s festival also featured a selection of the best plays for children staged in Poland over the past several years. The performances included A niech to gę¶ kopnie! by Marta Gu¶niowska and staged by the Animation Theater from Poznań; The Magic Flute, a music show inspired by the famous Mozart opera and directed by Marek Zakostelecky from the Wrocław Puppet Theater; and Jacek Timingeriu’s Władca skarpetek (Lord of the Socks), staged by the Puppet and Actor Theater from Wałbrzych.

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