Lauren Dubowski

Lauren Dubowski
regional managing editor - Poland

Lauren Dubowski is a theatre artist, producer, and scholar. She has written on the arts and culture for publications such as Culturebot, European Stages, and Words Without Borders and served as web managing editor for Theater magazine. Currently a Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism at Yale School of Drama, Lauren was also a Fulbright research fellow in Poland. With her contributions to The Theatre Times, she hopes to encourage global connections to Polish theatre, from its traditions to today.

Ten Years Of The Divine Comedy Festival In Kraków

In December 2017, the Divine Comedy International Theatre Festival (Międzynarodowy Festiwal Teatralny Boska Komedia) celebrated its 10th anniversary in a characteristically festive and wintry Kraków. The two-week program continues to showcase cutting-edge Polish premieres, curated from theatres around the country by Artistic Director Bartosz Szydłowski. Over its first decade, the festival has grown in scale and scope—its much-anticipated events now extend to venues around the city and include select productions by international artists. Today, as both a presenting and a producing organization, the Divine Comedy serves as an anchor of Polish work in contemporary theatre worldwide. The Divine Comedy now operates across...

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Cricoteka: A Centre Of New Life For Tadeusz Kantor’s Art

During Tadeusz Kantor’s lifetime (1915-1990), his singular performances found their way to many different and disparate spaces as they reached—and made a powerful impression on—audiences worldwide. Kantor’s earliest theatre productions took place in secret while Kraków was under Nazi occupation, in private apartments among fellow artists and friends.  Polish audiences would later witness other works by Kantor and his Cricot 2 company in several spaces around that city—from a basement at 5 Kanonicza Street to the Krzystofory Gallery—as well as the Foksal Gallery in Warsaw. Greater recognition for Kantor’s visual art would take him as far as New York,...

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Liberty, Equality, And Feminism: “Stateswomen, Sluts Of The Revolution, Or The Learned Ladies”

To probe the practices of both protest and theatre-making, Teatr Polski of Bydgoszcz looked to Revolutionary France with its Stateswomen, Sluts Of The Revolution, Or The Learned Ladies. The 2016 show, presented at December’s Divine Comedy festival in Kraków, centered around the story of Anne-Josèphe Theroigne de Merincourt—an early, and lesser-known organizer of the rebellion that would topple the French monarchy. Directed by Witkor Rubin, the production featured text, dramaturgy, and costume design by Jolanta Janiczak. As audiences entered the Stary Teatr’s main space, they encountered Sonia Roszczuk, who stood on a row of seats, dressed in a bright-red...

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“To The Depths,” Together: A Show In Folk Songs With A Story

The Polish production To The Depths or To The Bottom (Do Dna), which appeared at the 2017 Divine Comedy festival in Kraków in December, has a story as rich as the performance itself. Originally, the just under two-hour set of reimagined folk songs was the final performance for a class of actors in the vocal performance track at the AST National Academy of Theatre Arts in Kraków (Dominika Guzek, Agnieszka Kościelniak, Weronika Kowalska, Jan Marczewski, and Łukasz Szczepanowski). Their director and professor, Ewa Kaim, together with dramaturg Włodzimierz Szturc and music director-arranger Dawid Sulej Rudnicki, led the group of students in...

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The “Very Last Wedding” At The Divine Comedy Festival

Traditionally, the veil of a Polish bride—removed at the end of the ceremony to mark her passage into womanhood, then tossed to or passed around her wedding party—would grace her again in death, part of the preparations for her burial. Perhaps You’ll Be Pleased, Madam, Or The Very Last Wedding In Kamyk Village is only customary, then, in its conflation of merry nuptials and much darker affairs. The production, which premiered at Poznań’s Teatr Nowy last March, took two prizes at the Divine Comedy festival in December—Best Director, awarded to Agata Duda-Gracz, and Best Actress, to Edyta Łukaszewska. As inspiration, Duda-Gracz—also...

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From “Tarantella” To Theatre Design: Prampolini And Polish Futurism At The Łódź Museum Of Art

Three gramophones affixed to angular wooden boxes stood tall, almost animal-like, on wiry metal legs. Nearby, colorful patches of outrageous, yet sleek costumes nearly lept off the stark white mannequins they adorned. Angular theatrical models, small, but magnificent, could easily be imagined to contain the large-scale, black-and-white photos of theatre productions that loomed from the walls. The inspiration for Enrico Prampolini. Futurism, Stage Design, And The Polish Avant-Garde Theatre, an exhibition curated by Przemysław Strożek at the Łódź Museum of Art (Łódź Muzeum Sztuki), was a painting: Tarantella, by the pioneering Italian Futurist of the show’s title. This bright, dynamic,...

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Poland on Stage: What, When, and Where

The Polish Theatre in Poznan / The Jewish Theatre in Warsaw The Painted Bird, based on a novel by Jerzy Kosiński Directed by: Maja Kleczewska Dramaturgy: Łukasz Chotkowski Set design: Marcin Chlanda, Wojciech Puś Choreography: Kaya Kołodziejczyk Music: Cezary Duchnowski Premiere: March 26th, 2017 More information about the performance at: http://teatr-polski.pl/spektakle/malowany-ptak From the reviews: “Published in the United States in 1965, The Painted Bird by Jerzy Kosiński is a famous novel about a Jewish boy who suffers from extreme violence while seeking shelter among Polish Catholic peasants during World War II. Initially, it was assumed that it was an...

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Nowy Teatr’s “Generation After” Showcases “New School” of Polish Dance and Theatre

From March 23 to 25, Warsaw’s Nowy Teatr, together with the Adam Mickiewicz Institute, presented “Generation After”—a showcase of 16 performances that explored the latest artistic impulses among Polish dance and theatre artists today. The curators for “Generation After” included Piotr Gruszczyński, Nowy Teatr’s dramaturg; Karolina Ochab, its director; and Mateusz Szymanówka, a Berlin- and Warsaw-based curator, dramaturg, and researcher of Polish dance. Their selections drew from the recent repertory of Nowy Teatr and the festival’s Warsaw partners—the State Jewish Theatre, Komuna//Warszawa, the Institute of Music and Dance, Teatr Studio, and TR Warszawa—as well as kolektyw1a of Poznań, the Maat Theatre Project of Lublin, and other...

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A Report From the 2016 Divine Comedy Festival

The International Divine Comedy Festival (Boska Komedia), in Kraków has grown, over nearly a decade, into one of Poland’s most anticipated theatre events. Since 2008, Artistic Director Bartosz Szydłowski has curated its 10-day program of performances from around Poland—a country home to more than 100 theatres. Describing itself as a theatre “holiday” that promotes international dialogue about contemporary Polish work, the festival is organized by Kraków’s Teatr Łaźnia Nowa and the Kraków Festival Office, with support from the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage. This year, from December 8 to 17, the festival presented 10 productions in its Inferno program, which competed for prizes awarded by an international jury composed of leaders...

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Anna Smolar Awarded the Passport Prize in Theatre

The French-Polish director Anna Smolar, born in 1980, was awarded the 2016 Polityka Passport in Theatre on January 10, 2017. One of Poland’s most prestigious honors, the Passport prizes are given annually by the popular news weekly Polityka in categories related to art, music, literature, and theatre. The magazine’s statement on Smolar’s award recognized three of her recent productions: Jewish Actors with the State Jewish Theatre in Warsaw; The Dybbuk, which premiered at Teatr Polski in Bydgoszcz; and Henrietta Lacks at Warsaw’s Copernicus Science Center, co-produced by Nowy Teatr. Smolar has been active in theatre for more than a decade in both Poland and Paris, where she was raised,...

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Poland On Stage: What, When, and Where

Warsaw, The Centrala Theatre/Zachęta, National Gallery of Art: Orestes, directed by Michał Zadara Poznań, The Polski Theatre: Hunting Scenes From Lower Bavaria, directed by Grażyna Kania Warsaw, The Zygmunt Hübner Powszechny Theatre in Warsaw:  Rage, directed by Maja Kleczewska Łódź, The Stefan Jaracz Ateneum Theatre: Waiting for Godot, directed by Michał Borczuch Gdańsk, The Wybrzeże Theatre: The Map and the Territory, directed by Ewelina Marciniak Andrzej Wajda has died aged 90 Congress of Culture 2016 Awards of the monthly Theatre on the 70th anniversary of the magazine 7th edition of Theatre Olympics in Wrocław Katowice “Interpretations” Theatre Festival, November 5th...

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Dziady Recycling Festival Explores Memory, Performance, and Ritual Across Cultures

It is noteworthy that the custom of banqueting the dead seems to be common to all pagan peoples, whether we be speaking of Homeric Greece, the Scandinavian countries, the Orient, or the far-off islands of the New World. —Adam Mickiewicz, Dziady, Part II (trans. Charles S. Kraszewski) If you were to drive through the roads of Poland on the first two days of November each year or fly low over its terrain, you would catch a magical sight—the glitter of thousands of candles aglow behind the gates of cemeteries across the country. These are offerings brought by Poles to lost loved...

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Remembering Andrzej Wajda (1926-2016) The Iconic Polish Theatre and Film Director

Andrzej Wajda, the internationally renowned Polish film and theatre director and icon of the “Polish School” of filmmaking, passed away in Warsaw on October 9, 2016 at the age of 90. Wajda’s more than 60-year career began with degrees in painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków and in directing from the Łódź Film School. He began these studies after World War II, during which he fought in the Home Army of the Polish underground resistance to Nazi occupation. His first film, A Generation (1955), is a coming-of-age story set in Warsaw against this very backdrop. Like this one,...

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Warsaw’s Jewish Theater On the Move

For the last several months, the Ester Rachel Kamińska and Ida Kamińska State Jewish Theater in Warsaw, led by Director Gołda Tencer, has struggled with the loss of its historic building, the institution’s home since 1970. The building’s owner, Ghelamco, sold the space to a developer, with plans to build an office building at the site, as well as a new Jewish Theater. The original building’s condition was deemed unacceptable, which the institution contested. Over the summer, the company performed Fiddler on the Roof outside of the building in Grzybowska Square in protest, amid ongoing questions as to where the theater’s next season would take place. (Video...

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Krzysztof Warlikowski and Song of the Goat in BAM in New York

The Brooklyn Academy of Music‘s theatre season features two works by renowned Polish theatre artists this September. Krzysztof Warlikowski, the Artistic Director of Warsaw’s Nowy Teatr, brings his production of Phaedra(s), adapted from Sarah Kane, J.M. Coetzee, and the Lebanese-Canadian writer Wajdi Mouawad, and starring the French actress Isabelle Huppert. Co-production between Warsaw’s Nowy Teatr and Odéon–Théâtre de l’Europe, Phaedra(s)  will be performed from September 13-18, 2016.  This U.S. premiere production, performed in French, will also be part of the French Institute/Alliance Française’s Crossing the Line festival. Confess or repress: those are the options available when you lust after your...

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Poland on Stage: What, When, and Where

New and Noteworthy Productions Warsaw, TR Warszawa: http://trwarszawa.pl/ Marta Sokołowska’s Holzwege Directed by Katarzyna Kalwat Set design: Anna Tomczyńska Video: Ewa Łuczak Lights: Paulina Góral Premiere: January 15th, 2016 More information about the performance: http://trwarszawa.pl/spektakle/holzwege/ Holzwege (in German referring to wandering, leading astray) is the title of the work by Tomasz Sikorski, one of the greatest composers of the second half of the twentieth century. The performance is an attempt to understand the works of Sikorski but also his life, which ended prematurely with a mysterious death. Holzwege is a combination of a theatre performance and a concert. Besides the...

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