Workshop by Bogdan Renczyński

17-21 October 2016, 10.00 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Facilitator: Bogdan Renczyński
Maximum number of participants: 10


Buy tickets here*


* To enrol in the workshop, buy a ticket online or at the box office no later than 10 October. By purchasing a ticket a participant agrees to the terms and conditions which require a signed consent of all workshop participants.

The workshops participation fee is 120 PLN. The fee for each additional workshop will be reduced by 50% (60 PLN). The offer is also valid for participants of last year’s edition. For those aged 65 and older the workshops are free.


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Workshop concept:

Confusing attitudes and conditions related to the trap of being something else than we really are, inspired by Tadeusz Kantor’s ‘confusing concepts’ will constitute the topic of the workshop. With such an attitude, as with any similar ‘confusing’ phenomenon, one strives in madness to transcend one’s competences and principles (Tadeusz Kantor, Contact point: illusion and reality). Deliberations on imitation, copying, pretending, mock-up and wreckage will be inspired by two books.

The first one being the latest novel by Emmanuel Carrère ‘The Kingdom’ (translated into Polish as Królestwo by Krystyna Arustowicz, published by Wydawnictwo Literackie, Kraków 2016). The author assumes that the Kingdom of Heaven begins on earth; the Kingdom lies within each one of us. One of the principles of Christianity is to love your enemies and tormentors. However, it has not been reflected in the history of humanity – all revolutions assumed destruction of opponents, and doing good (becoming a better man) always occurred through violence. The key questions which influence correction of attitudes are: does destiny exist, is there free will? What are the limits of free will? Is a non-believer closer to the Kingdom than the one who prays, obeys the law, and practices rituals? Carrère is most interested in the weak being stronger than the strong. What is more confusing here: copying or pretending?

The other book is a doctoral dissertation by Manfred Deselaers ‘And Your Conscience Never Haunted You?’ The life of Rudolf Höss, commandant of Auschwitz, and the issue of his responsibility before God and humanity (translated into Polish as I nigdy oskarżony nie miał wyrzutów sumienia? by Juliusz Zychowicz, published by Państwowe Muzeum Auschwitz-Birkenau, Oświęcim 2014). This anthropological and theological analysis of Höss’s life brings closer his position as ‘murderer of millions’ and, at the same time, as a man, who in his autobiography stressed that ‘he had a heart and was not bad’. One of the topics discussed will be setting humanity against concepts such as mock-up or wreckage. The commandant’s position as a mock-up – passivity in face of a catastrophe of human existence, rejection of the risk of abandoning one’s duties mistaken for common sense. On the other hand the condition of prisoners as wreckages – obstacles, worthless beings identified by numbers. However, the condition of wreckage is misleading, when we look at the loss of ‘millions’ from the perspective of the question: what happened with the love, hate and hope of those people? What happened to an interrupted work of art or perished talent (e.g. unwritten piece by the pianist Mischa Hillesum which was playing only in his head when he died in Treblinka)?

It is not a drama workshop but a debate within stage space and an attempt at conveying the debate to acting and scene actions. Rising up to the challenge of making a statement on historical motifs with one’s body and language.

The workshop is addressed mainly to senior citizens who will agree to share their life experience and relate it to the postulates suggested. It would be interesting to see a certain borderline quality related to the questions posed, such as: who would I be if I were to be born again (in the sense of attitude)? Who would I like to be? Who did I want to become?

Shifting and correcting of meanings during the workshop will be related to the works of Tadeusz Kantor who in his theoretical writings as well as theatre and art, exposed traps based on ambiguity and negation. We will be analysing Kantor’s attitude, expressed in many of his texts and speeches, i.e. that an artist must be free and that life is the area where one looks for freedom and where one finds the freedom to act as an artist (Kantor: art is made of one’s failures, from one’s own self). In the context of the concepts analysed during the workshops it will be particularly important to focus on the ‘poor’ individual quality of each person, often emphasised by Kantor as the most valuable quality. Tadeusz Kantor’s productions as a confession. Theatre as a testimony of attitudes, expectations or dreams, but also as space for questions and accusations.


Literature for workshop participants (scanned copies will be sent by email):

1. Ewangelia według agnostyka, an interview with Emmanuel Carrère by Szymon Łucyk, in: Tygodnik Powszechny, No 18 (3486), 1 May 2016, pp. 30-32.

2. Kalina Wojciechowska, Królestwo już jest, in: Tygodnik Powszechny, No 18 (3486), 1 May 2016, pp. 33-34.

3. Manfred Deselaers, I nigdy oskarżony nie miał wyrzutów sumienia?. The life of Rudolf Höss, commandant of Auschwitz versus the problem of his responsibility before God and humanity, translated into Polish by Juliusz Zychowicz, Państwowe Muzeum Auschwitz-Birkenau, Oświęcim 2014 (fragments).


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An actor of the Cricot 2 Theatre from 1982 to 1992, and later of Compagnie du Singulier Theatre from 1994 to 1996 and MIST Theatre from 1996 to 1997.
He performed in Tadeusz Kantor’s productions The Dead Class, Let the Artists DieWielopole WielopoleI Shall Never Return, and Today Is My Birthday.
Since 1980, he has been working at the Centre for Documentation of the Art of Tadeusz Kantor ‘Cricoteka’ in Krakow. A curator of numerous exhibitions of Tadeusz Kantor’s work in Poland and abroad.

Bogdan Renczyński conducted the following theatre workshops:

  • 2015 Atelier théâtral. Methode Kantor?, Universite Toulouse – Jean Jaures2015 The Work of Tadeusz Kantor, The Watermill Center, New York
  • 2015 The Work of Tadeusz KantorYale University Theatre Studies, New York
  • 2014 Workshop during the CROSSROADS 2014 project ‘The 21st International Meeting of Live Arts. Performances by artists from France and Poland’, Center for Contemporary Art Zamek Ujazdowski in Warsaw
  • 2013 L’arte del vivere in viaggio di Tadeusz Kantor e Pina Bausch, Carovana SMI, Cagliari
  • 2013 Mom… It’s me, Lazarus, BAI Bizkaiko Antzerki Ikastegia, Bilbao
  • 2012 Meeting with the Theatre of Death, Center for Documentation of the Art of Tadeusz Kantor Cricoteka
  • 2011- Weston College, at the invitation of Gerard Stephenson (I’m Lady Macbeth).
  • 2010 – l’ARTA (Association de Recherche des Traditions de l’Acteur) in Cartoucherie, Paris (Aussi pres des poubelles que de l’éternité / As Close to Dumpster as to Eternity).
  • 2008 – Ferme de Trielle, Thiézac, Auvergne (Le Seuil Threshold).
  • 2008 – École des Beaux-Arts KASK, Gent, Belgia (he collaborated with Rene van Gijsegem on a graduation performance La mer des arbres The Wooden Sea).
  • 2006 – Théâtre des Asphodeles, Lyon, as part of the Kantor en Rhône-Alpes festival (La Perte des feuilles Trees Shed Their Leaves).
  • 2006 – Regional Cultural Center, Łańcut (Chair).

Renczyński directed the production What Shall We Do With the Cello  by Matei Vişniec of Théâtrè des Collines in Etoile (France, 2007). He staged his own productions: Rebecca, My Mother at Théâtre du Radeau in Le Mans (France, 2010) and Mama da at the Maska Theatre in Rzeszów, premiere in October 2012.


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