|13 December 2018
||Teatr Ludowy — Stolarnia|
Marcin Wierzchowski and the actors of the Ludowy Theatre in Kraków caused the greatest and the most deserved surprise at The Divine Comedy 2017, when its international jury awarded them the Grand Prix for “The Secret Life of the Friedmans”. On the wake of its success, Wierzchowski reached for the book by J.M. Coetzee, winner of both Nobel and Booker prizes, also known from the silver screen thanks to director Steve Jacobs and John Malkovich in the leading role.
The Kraków play takes place in heavy atmosphere of double ignominy, yet, like in an antique tragedy, not everything is clear and obvious from the start for people who participate in it. Primarily, it is not evident what roles they play in the oppressor – victim relationship, and how these change depending on the circumstances, disclosing the interpersonal contacts unrecognised before.
The main protagonist, David Lurie, is an academic professor relegated from the university for an affair with a student. He returns to his house in the wilderness to live there with his daughter. The raid on the professor’s house by mysterious locals and the rape of his daughter bring to mind “the butterfly effect”. We see the professor’s deeds, seemingly obliterated by time and isolated in their past, in a multiplied mirror image, making him realise the nature of the evil he committed.
The director shows that a man can degrade himself in the eyes of other people, yet the true ignominy only touches him in his own eyes. It is before himself that he becomes unworthy, worthless, and tainted. Now he has to face the challenge of rebuilding himself and constituting himself anew. On the stage, the victims stand face to face with the oppressors again, and both parties are allowed to speak. The question is whether this act can bring conciliation or will only be another chapter in the never-ending story of human suffering.
Adaptation and Direction: Marcin Wierzchowski
Author: J.M. Coetzee, translated by Michał Kłobukowski
Dramaturgy: Agnieszka Turek, Daniel Sołtysiński
Sets: Barbara Ferlak
Music: Urszula Chrzanowska
Małgorzata Kochan, Anna Pijanowska, Marianna Zydek (guest appearance), Piotr Franasowicz, Jan Nosal, Tadeusz Łomnicki, Patryk Palusiński (guest appearance), Piotr Pilitowski, Jagoda Pietruszkówna