Nine days as the nine Dantesque circles of the great feast of theatre - a competition of performances, a showcase, and a review of world premieres and debuts all in one - the 5th International Divine Comedy Theatre Festival is fast aproaching!
A theatrical kaleidoscope of various colours, forms and visions is awaiting Festival audiences. The infernal emotions of the competition of Polish performances (Inferno), the purgatory of Festival world premieres (Purgatorio) and the paradise of the freshest of performances created by directors of the young generation (Paradiso) will combine into a fascinating picture of the latest theatre season.
This year's Inferno promises to be really exciting. The competition shaped by the advisory role of selecting critics (Wojciech Majcherek, Grzegorz Niziołek, Witek Mrozek, Joanna Derkaczew, Jacek Sieradzki, Łukasz Drewniak, Jacek Cieślak, and Marcin Kościelniak) will feature the most widely discussed performances of 2012.
Two prominent variations on Shakespeare's themes (Krzysztof Warlikowski's African Tales by Shakespeare and Maja Kleczewska's The Tempest) have also found their way into the Programme. We will also see Twelve Angry Men, directed by Radosław Rychcik, who makes use of a well-known plot from TV and film. Also drawing the attention of the selecting critics are Ivona, Princess of Burgundia (dir. by Krzysztof Garbaczewski) which lies on the border between theatre and film; Endless Story, based on the modern text by Artur Pałyga (dir. by Piotr Cieplak); the dark crime comedy Rootman (dir. by Remigiusz Brzyk); and Snow Queen, a juxtaposition of fable and para-documentary (dir. by Michał Borczuch). The competition would obviously not be complete without a Wałbrzych performance by Monika Strzępka and Paweł Demirski (On Being Good) and Krystian Lupa's Waiting Room.0 which has spurred controversy among theatre critics.
What does the programme of Purgatorio hold in store?
"This year has witnessed a number of changes to the face of Polish religiousness. Taboo subjects have become common bread of press releases. Poles have started to openly discuss their Catholicism. Secularization is slowly giving ground to a tenuous religiousness but one resulting from an internal need, and not just a routine affinity to tradition", says Bartosz Szydłowski, artistic director of the Festival. This is why the 5th International Theatre Festival Divine Comedy will open with a showcase of world premieres, this year combined into a series under the title "FAITH OR NOT FAITH". “I have invited young directors who will try to raise the subject from a variety of viewpoints. In the Festival co-productions we will strive to talk about religious sensitivity without sounding inane and without being accused of anachronism," adds Bartosz Szydłowski.
The invitation to cooperate in productions was extended to, among others, Teatr Nowy from Łódź (Midget, dir. by Wiktor Rubin). One of the world premieres, based on a famous text by Klaus Kinski, was created with the support of Gustaw Holoubek Dramatyczny Theatre in Warsaw (Jesus Christ. The Saviour dir. by Michał Zadara). The programme will also present three coproductions with Laznia Nowa Theatre: The Unfaithful (dir. by Piotr Ratajczak) and Pieta (dir. by Zenon Fajfer) as well as the trailer to a performance titled On One Evening in August (dir. by Radosław Rychcik)
Next to Faith or Not Faith, Purgatorio will also abound in numerous industry get-togethers, lectures, Dantesque Scenes which translate into meetings with theatre creators, theoreticians and critics with the audience as well as accompanying and special performances, including the controversial and award-winning Lubiewo (dir. by Piotr Sieklucki) from Teatr Nowy Krakow, Claude Bardouil's Nancy. Interview - a curious and expressive dance performance from Nowy Teatr, the latest National Stary Theatre in Krakow production of Death and Resurrection of the World (dir. by Ewelina Marciniak) as well as Agnieszka Przepiórska's monodrama There Will Be Holidays (dir. by Piotr Ratajczak) which has been staged with success all over Poland.
Details of the Faith or Not Faith festival section will be announced on November 7th.
Paradiso will acquaint us with young directors and actors who have not yet been discovered or recognized by the theatre world: Ewelina Marciniak (Crime), Bartosz Frąckowiak (Komornicka. An Apparent Biography), and Szymon Kaczmarek (Heart of Darkness). Also, two performances prepared by Magda Miklasz (Ferdydurke) and Paweł Świątek (Healter Skelter) in collaboration with students of The Ludwik Solski State Drama School in Cracow will be presented.
Competition performances will be judged by an international jury comprised of directors of theatre festivals around the world. Eva Maarika Schmitz (Stage Festival in Helsinki), Max Philip Aschenbrenner (Südpol Luzern), Dario Loperfido (Festival Internacional de Buenos Aires) and So Kwok Wan (Hong Kong Arts Festival) will select people who in their opinion turn out to be the best in the six competition categories. The Krakow Theatre Award will be presented for the best production (The Award of the President of the City of Krakow) as well as for best director, best male performance, best female performance, best stage design and best music (awards funded by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage).
The International Theatre Festival Divine Comedy is produced by the Łaźnia Nowa Theatre and the Krakow Festival Office. It first laid siege to the stages of Krakow theatres in December 2008. Since that time it has been one of the most important events on the Polish theatre calendar. The statuette of the Divine Comedian for the Best Production has so far been presented to the following plays: Factory 2 (dir. by Krystian Lupa 2008), No Matter How Hard We Tried (dir. by Grzegorza Jarzyna, 2009), and two productions by Monika Strzępka - There Was Andrzej Andrzej Andrzej And Andrzej (2010) and Rainbow Stand 2012 (2011).