Theatre Biographies

Curator: Łucja Iwanczewska
Co-operation: Marta Bryś

Who inspires us? Tadeusz Kantor… Individual biographies, biographies which are collective, national, communitarian, historical, mythical, fictitious, written, acted, recreated, manufactured… Who inspires us? Who are we? What are we made of? What identity negotiations are we subject to? What symbolic fields do we found?

We want to take a look at biographical strategies present in drama and theatre, as well as social performance. We are interested in diverse modelling and re-modelling procedures in biographical aspects where text, image, memory, physical action and material presence meet.




19 November 2014, 6.00 p.m., Conference Hall:
panel discussion between Joanna Krakowska, Paweł Rodak, Andrzej Leder, Dariusz Kosiński and Małgorzata Sikorska-Miszczuk

Biography as re-creation of history in drama and theatre: between fabrication, reconstruction, truth of an occurrence, rumour, white spot, dead body, archive, performative event. What is history in drama, theatre, literature and art? What is the correspondence between biography and history, and between biography and identity? In what way are stories which create a community told, what kind of collective identity do they found? Which stories do we need in order to create a communitarian biography? What are our biographies like?


8 December 2014, 4.30 p.m., Theatre Hall:
Film screening of Wiera Gran and meeting with Agata Tuszyńska, Moderation: Marta Bryś, performative reading of the play Wiera. Dramat w sześciu obrazach [Wiera. A Drama in Six Images]

Wiera Gran by Agata Tuszyńska, a film directed by Maria Zmarz-Koczanowicz is a story about a well-known Polish cabaret singer of Jewish descent, who at the peak of her career was accused of collaboration with the Germans in the Warsaw ghetto during the Second World War. The accusations, although lacking definite evidence led to Wiera Gran’s total isolation from the world. Tuszyńska’s film is a record of conversations with Wiera Gran which took place in her Paris apartment, as well as with the people who remembered the time of the Warsaw ghetto. Establishing the truth becomes of secondary importance in the film and the issue of morality, responsibility for judgements of others who found themselves under dramatic wartime circumstances become most important.

Wiera Gran
Director: Maria Zmarz-Koczanowicz
Writer: Agata Tuszyńska
Cinematography: Ita Zbrojec-Zajt
Editing: Grażyna Gradoń
Producer: Studio Filmowe Largo
Released: 2012
Duration: 67’

Wiera. Dramat w sześciu obrazach [Wiera. A Drama in Six Images]
Performative reading of a play by Agata Tuszyńska
Dramatisation: Michał Pabian
Director: Piotr Ratajczak


9 December 2014, 5.00 p.m., Conference Hall:
screening of fragments of theatre performance Persona. Tryptyk / Marilyn [Persona. Triptych / Marilyn] and meeting with Krystian Lupa, Moderator: Anna R. Burzyńska

Factory 2 premiered in 2008 at the Narodowy Stary Teatr in Kraków directed by Krystian Lupa. The performance was a loose fantasy on the life of Andy Warhol and his collaborator at the famous Silver Factory in New York. Lupa followed this intensely biographical course when he worked for the Warsaw Dramatyczny Teatre and directed produced two performances: Persona. Tryptyk / Marilyn (based on elements of Marylin Monroe’s biography) and Persona. Ciało Simone [Persona. The Body of Simone] (devoted to the life of Simone Weil, 2010).

The image of Marylin Monroe in Lupa’s production differs significantly from the one known to the general public through her photographs and movie parts. Marilyn impersonated by Sandra Korzeniak (awarded for this part with Polityka’s Passport) becomes a woman lost not only in her relations with her own environment but above all unable to discriminate between her private life and public image, trapped between the fear of crowds and the need to be worshipped.

Dramatyczny Theatre in Warsaw
Persona. Tryptyk / Marilyn
Writer, director, stage designer: Krystian Lupa
Costumes: Piotr Skiba
Music: Paweł Szymański
Video: Jan Przyłuski
Cinematography: Katarzyna Pałetko
Premiere: 18 April 2009


Collective/national/communitarian biographies


15 December 2014, 5.00 p.m., Conference Hall:
screening of fragments of theatre production Mickiewicz. Dziady. Performance [Mickiewicz. Forefather’s Eve. Performance] and meeting with Paweł Wodziński and Michał Kuziak

‘Paweł Wodziński in his production of Mickiewicz. Dziady. Performance. interpreted it more as a drama of weakness. I can point out four strong interpretation and staging gestures implemented by the director. Firstly, the choice of the second and third part of the drama (discarding part four and one). Secondly, clear re-formulation of the concept of the choir and its consequences. In the text of Dziady, the choir disintegrates in the second part of the drama, at the moment when a mysterious ghost appears, part three displays an attempt to integrate dramatic voices in a messianic vision – Wodziński’s choir occurs mainly with the issue of revenge, participants of the ceremony create a community in connection with the feeling of bitterness (at the end of the performance it turns out that the community is a community of zombies). Thirdly, presenting Mickiewicz’s drama without transcendence (it is a version of Dziady without the Messiah, without the perspective of salvation). Fourthly, depriving the drama of poetry (or to putt it better – poetic quality). Obviously, despite the afore-mentioned gestures, we cannot disregard other important aspects of the performance (e.g. harmony rather than opposition between the Great Improvisation and the Vision of Priest Peter, or echoes of pop culture reappearing in different fragments of the performance, threads connecting drama with events of 10 April 2010, as well as the role of dance, replacing music in the prison scene). There also remains the issue of performance, as well as that of the introduced paratext by different voices of important representatives of European culture, colonising Poland with their statements. Wodziński’s vision in the centre of Dziady shows the experience of exclusion and the voice of the excluded, displayed from different perspectives (it refers to exclusion in the field of culture, civilisation, society, politics (nation). Wodziński examines the consequences that such a situation evokes on one’s identity’ – Michał Kuziak, Inny Mickiewicz [A Different Mickiewicz] (2013). The ‘biography of a nation’ will be discussed by the director of Mickiewicz. Dziady. Performance Paweł Wodziński and Michał Kuziak who collaborated in the creation of the performance.

Polski Theatre in Bydgoszcz
Mickiewicz. Dziady. Performance
after Dziady by Adam Mickiewicz
Director, stage designer: Paweł Wodziński
Music: Stefan Węgłowski
Costumes, light director: Agata Skwarczyńska
Video: Remigiusz Zawadzki
Premiere: 22 April 2011


18 December 2014, 5.00 p.m., Conference Hall: screening of a DVD recording of a theatre performance of Tadeusz Kantor’s Wielopole, Wielopole; recording by: Andrzej Sapija followed by a lecture by Katarzyna Fazan

Teatr Cricot 2
Wielopole, Wielopole
Director: Tadeusz Kantor
Performance premiere: 26 June 1980, Florence
Recording: Andrzej Sapija
Production: Wytwórnia Filmów Oświatowych w Łodzi, 1984
DVD Publisher: Centre for the Documentation of the Art of Tadeusz Kantor Cricoteka, Kraków 2006
Duration: 68’


Incorporations of photography in the (a-)biographical theatre of Tadeusz Kantor
Katarzyna Fazan’s discussion about biographicality in Tadeusz Kantor’s theatre. The lecture will be accompanied by an exhibition of Mr. Daguerre’s invention used in Wielopole, Wielopole performance.

Katarzyna Fazan – associate professor at the Chair of Theatre of the Jagiellonian University, professor at the Direction Department of the State Drama School in Krakow, specialist in theatre studies and literature, permanent collaborator with the ‘Didaskalia’. Katarzyna Fazan specialises in the literature and theatre of Modernism, she is preoccupied with contemporary arts and stage design. Her book Projekty intymnego teatru śmierci. Wyspiański-Leśmian-Kantor [The Projects of the Intimate Theatre of Death. Wyspiański-Leśmian-Kantor] was awarded the title of ‘Theatre Book of the Year 2009’ awarded by the Polish Centre of the International Theatre Institute ITI.


Workshops – Łucja Iwanczewska/Marta Bryś

4 December (4.00 p.m. – 6.00 p.m.), 5 December (4.00 p.m. – 6.00 p.m.), 6 December 2014 (4.00 p.m. – 6.00 p.m.), Conference Hall
Biographies/philosophies of a subject/a thing – in Tadeusz Kantor’s theatre and texts, Moderator: Łucja Iwanczewska

Kantor saves material traces by reaching for objects existing in the absence of people but suggesting their existence. Man with Suitcases, Girl with Spoons, Two Hasidim with a Board of Last Resort, Man with a Sack and its Unknown Contents, A Soldier with an Important Object – subjectivity is outside, in the person’s object, this is how the communion between the human the non-human is created, a causative communion of action and existence. We will be contemplating how objects record and replay the biography of characters created by Kantor but also his own biography. As Bruno Latour wrote: ‘Things are too real to be performances, too controversial, uncertain, collective, diversified, dividing to play the part of stable, stubborn, boring, basic qualities which set the world once and for all” . A thing can be a gravestone inscription and at the same time a testimony of life, its utilitarian function fulfills a commemorative function, human action is mediated by the presence of things, and both existences – that of a human and that of a thing – are equal citizens of the world. We will also deal with contemporary theories of subjectivity and identity in the context of Tadeusz Kantor’s work. The Workshop will be accompanied by a presentation of performances and collective reading of Kantor’s texts. Participants will receive an anthology of texts by Tadeusz Kantor as well as theoretical texts from the studies on biography of things which have been prepared for this occasion and are to be used as copies for private and domestic use.


Sign up till 28 November.
Workshops are free of charge. We invite students and all interested in the subject.


12 December (4.00 p.m. – 7.00 p.m.), 13 December (11.00 a.m. – 2.00 p.m.), 14 December 2014 (11.00 a.m. – 2.00 p.m.), Conference Hall
Tadeusz Kantor. Przewodnik [A Guide Book], Moderator: Marta Bryś

The workshop is addressed to anyone who would like to get to know Tadeusz Kantor’s work – mainly in the field of theatre. In the days of the workshop we will present fragments of performances, commentaries by Tadeusz Kantor himself, photographs and archive recordings. By getting to know successive works, participants will create a concept map which will help them see the differences and similarities between Kantor’s artistic concepts, as they changed in time. The workshop will be a creative work, based on discussions on the presented archive material. The objective of the workshop is to familiarise its participants with the vast and very complex work of Tadeusz Kantor and inspire them to further unassisted work.

Sign up till 3 December.
Workshops are free of charge. We invite students and all interested in the subject.



2 December 2014, 7.00 p.m., Theatre Hall:
Stand_up Witkacy performance

Buy a ticket.

The performance connects the form of a stand-up with the work of Witkacy, an artistic rebel, a life performer and a rebel fighting for values. It is a one-man-show performed by the charismatic Wiesław Cichy, illustrated with excellent music and outstandingly arranged songs. The show quotes fragments of several productions of Witkacy’s plays: …córka Fizdejki [Fizdejka’s Daughter] directed by Jan Klata (the Jerzy Szaniawski Dramatyczny Theatre in Wałbrzych, 2004) and Nienasycenie [Insatiability] directed by Tomasz Hynek (the Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz Studio Theatre in Warsaw, 2009)

The Polski Theatre in Wrocław
Stand_up Witkacy
after Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz
Writer, director, performer: Wiesław Cichy
Stage design and costumes: Małgorzata Matera
Light and video: Mirek Kaczmarek
Music: Rafał Karasiewicz
Dramatic cooperation: Piotr Rudzki
Vocal consulting: Magdalena Śniadecka-Skrzypek
Movement consulting: Maćko Prusak
Premiere: 27 March 2014
Duration: 80’ (no break)



    Twój koszyk
    Twój koszyk jest pustyWróć do sklepu