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The Supplicants

13 December 2016
  The National Stary Theatre in Krakow - Chamber Stage

Directed by:

Paweł Miśkiewicz


Elfriede Jelinek, Joanna Bednarczyk


180 min.

Elfriede Jelinek wrote “The Supplicants” in 2012. The play, a kind of social and political intervention, was inspired by true events—the occupation of a church in Vienna by the illegal immigrants who spent weeks there waiting for a final ruling on their fate. The playwright channels her rage and frustration here, not only for the fact that the group was deported from her country, but also for her own helplessness. Nobody had expected at that time that a wave of refugees was literally going to overflow Europe and a singular case in Vienna would transform into a continental conflict that would change the Old World forever. In his adaptation of the play, Paweł Miśkiewicz takes full advantage of its critical potential, not only to expose a condition, including the Polish condition, shaped by fear of the Other, but first and foremost taking a closer look at what is considered to be familiar and “ours”. Moreover, he adds another context here, a highly meta-theatrical one, by quoting some of the immigrant scenes from his iconic piece from over a decade ago, “Innocence”, written by Dea Loher. What emerges from this conglomeration of voices, discourses, theatre games and the palimpsest of hate speech is both a terrifyingly realistic vision of the collapse of civilization and a desperate cry for spiritual and cultural change in the modern social landscape.

The actors of the National Stary Theatre impress in Miśkiewicz’s piece with an astounding ability to coordinate and synchronize with one another and genuine virtuoso talent. As a result, the audience watches a singular theatrical organism that not only embodies the experience of refugees coming to Europe, but also serves as a habitat for the racial and cultural stereotypes and prejudices that rule both the stage world and our reality. Nevertheless, the artists try to find a way out of this civilizational and cultural predicament, at any cost. 



Directed and adapted by Paweł Miśkiewicz

Translation: Karolina Bikont

Dramaturgy and adaptation by Joanna Bednarczyk

Set design by Barbara Hanicka

Music by Rafał Mazur

Light design by Marek Kozakiewicz

Choreography by Maćko Prussak

Stage Manager/Prompter: Iwona Gołębiowska

Musicians: Paulina Owczarek, Sebastian Mac, Tomasz Chołoniewski, Rafał Mazur




Iwona Budner, Aldona Grochal, Ewa Kaim, Urszula Kiebzak, Ewa Kolasińska, Katarzyna Krzanowska, Marta Nieradkiewicz, Jaśmina Polak, Marta Ścisłowicz, Bartosz Bielenia, Szymon Czacki, Roman Gancarczyk, Krzysztof Globisz, Zygmunt Józefczak, Zbigniew W. Kaleta, Patryk Kulik (PWST), Jan Peszek