Divine Comedy Festival 2017

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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Krystian Lupa’s “The Trial” At Divine Comedy Festival 2017

It is almost impossible to describe the experience of seeing the work of the legendary Polish director Krystian Lupa. Imagine a trance-induced theatrical experiment that draws you into a bottomless abyss insidiously. Lupa chisels an unimaginable territory that you wouldn’t even dare or be able to dream in your deepest slumber. The way Lupa’s actors speak and move on the stage is reminiscent of a broken phonograph that repeats unspeakable horrors of humanity in a monotonous, indifferent tone. Nothing is dramatized or emphasized. Lupa’s dramaturgy visualizes a flat terrain without horizons. Characters wander on this barren land, aimlessly but...

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“To The Depths,” Together: A Show In Folk Songs With A Story – Is This The Best Theatre Show Out of Poland?

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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“Hymn To Love” At Divine Comedy Festival 2017

The chorus, as Nietzsche states in The Birth Of Tragedy, “can only be understood as the cause of tragedy and of the tragic itself,” and “tragedy is originally only ‘chorus’ and not ‘drama.’” Marta Górnicka embarked on her audacious project The Chorus of Women in 2009. Supported by the Zbigniew Raszewski Theatre Institute in Warsaw, she found a solid laboratory in which to experiment and develop her modern tragic chorus. Górnicka made an open casting call to the public, attempting to diversify the chorus as much as possible regardless of age, profession or musical experience. The description of the...

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“The Rage” at Divine Comedy Festival 2017

Divine Comedy Festival 2017 situates itself awkwardly around the peaceful Christmas Market in the Main Square, Krakow. The 2017 festival, provocatively themed “Theatre in Ruin,” embodies an unusually rebellious, angry, yet still divine spirit in response to the tumultuous political situation in Poland. Artists have responded violently, directly and confrontationally via the broadest possible range of theatrical forms and media. Given that Divine Comedy is one of the biggest mainstream theatre festivals in Poland, it stunned me that almost every show I saw was a hardcore political theatre piece, desperately and fearlessly trying to find an answer with audiences...

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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 Nowy Teatr 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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