The French (2015, Poland), is Krzysztof Warlikowski’s latest theatrical expedition in search of the roots of present-day Europe’s mentality and identity. Its starting point is Marcel Proust’s monumental novel, In Search of Lost Time, which depicts a society in upheaval, shaken by the erosion of the old hierarchy, rampant antisemitism, and, above all, by the outbreak of the Great War. Channeling Gilles Deleuze’s remark that “the only dead who return are those whom one has buried too quickly and too deeply,” Warlikowski invokes Proust to reflect on the condition of today’s Europe, ironically encapsulated by the French people a century ago—explaining the play’s thought-provoking title. Doing justice both to Proust’s vision of various times that exist in parallel and his efforts to convey the complexities of time generates the creation of parallel situations. The intention is not to produce an on-stage equivalent of the novel, but to find a parallel world. “The French” creates a structure through which our period can be passed as if through the needle’s eye of Proust’s critical gaze, keeping his clarity of vision and brilliant wit. Immersed in non-linear time, the audience can examine Proust’s radical image in the ideal setting of the theatre, with all its social and spiritual energy. This is theatre about a continent’s inner sense of self thrillingly realized through performance, video, dance and live music. Direction: Krzysztof Warlikowski Adaptation: Krzysztof Warlikowski, Piotr Gruszczyński Collaboration: Szczepan Orłowski Set design: Małgorzata Szczęśniak Music: Jan Duszyński Cello: Michał Pepol Lighting design: Felice Ross Choreography: Claude Bardouil Video: Denis Gueguin Graphic animations: Kamil Polak Dramaturgy: Piotr Gruszczyński Cast: Agata Buzek, Magdalena Cielecka, Ewa Dałkowska, Małgorzata Hajewska-Krzysztofik, Maria Łozińska, Maja Ostaszewska, Claude Bardouil, Mariusz Bonaszewski, Bartosz Gelner, Wojciech Kalarus, Marek Kalita, Zygmunt Malanowicz, Piotr Polak, Jacek Poniedziałek, Maciej Stuhr
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