Nowy Teatr, Warsaw, Poland, 2015
Author: Tomas Śpiewak
Directed by Michał Borczuch

about the production

Following the two World Wars shred of ideologies continue to penetrate Europe. Pier Paolo Pasolini meets Ingmar Bergman and other members of Sweden’s film avant-garde in Stock- holm. He gives an explosive interview to newspaper L’Espresso to touch upon his favourite topic: “I deem consumerism to be a worse version of fascism in its classical version.” He dies a few hours later. His mutilated body, found on a beach in Ostia near Rome, becomes a grim sign for Europe. The next day Oriana Fallaci writes Pasolini a letter that unveils the secret of their ambivalent friendship. There is a stranger on the gates of Italy who wishes to join the proletarian masses...

The fictitious encounter between Oriana Fallaci and Pier Paolo Pasolini, the confrontation of two different standpoints, are placed at the core of Apocalypse, a production by director Michał Borczuch and screenwriter Tomasz Śpiewak. Oriana Fallaci, one of the world’s most lauded journalists, foresaw the demise of European civilisation in the influx of immigrants from the South. She expressed her emotional defence of Western civilisation expressed in her book The Rage and The Pride. She wrote it in her beloved New York, her adopted home, in frantic pace following the attacks on the World Trade Centre. The book triggered controversial reactions worldwide. Groups of extremists and Islamophobes alike identified with its passages torn out of context.

Director and poet Pier Paolo Passolini, however, saw the adoption of foreigners to be the only option how to escape the violent context of Europe’s bourgeoisie. The two radically different and opposing positions on Western civilisation and its “Others” face each other. Our encounter with the “Other”, the unknown, strange, has been one of the archetypal topics of European culture ever since the ancient times. No matter what the forms of the encounter – travels and expeditions to faraway places, defence of one’s own or conquest of that which belongs to the other – we always fight our inherent fear of the Other. At the same time, we long to get to know or rule the Other. We are forever forced to rethink our own values. The topic comes considerably back to life with the influx of immigrants from Africa and other war-torn regions.

Borczuch’s production depicts the space between Fallaci’s fierce pride and Pasolini, beguiled by the character of the Others. In the middle of the piece, the cultural apocalypse, Borzuch arranges the encounter of the ‘last European’

  • the reporter who dies at the beginning of the 21st century
  • with Europe’s ‘troubled son’ – director murdered in the 1970s in unclear circumstances.

The absorption by obsession, fear, passion and melancholy is unbalanced between them. Yet they both set a diagnosis of the culture and society in which they live; and die. Borczuch adds to all this a discussion and asks whether, in defining European identity, we will follow Pasolini or Fallaci.
Ján Šimko

“The production is based on three strong people about whom one can say anything except that they did not take things seriously enough. The three have fundamentally become the icons of aesthetic, social and political radicalism in the last decades of the 20th century. It cost them the highest price. Umberto Eco wrote about Pasolini, the Saló director murdered in 1975 in unclear circumstances on the beach of Ostia, that he was ´the last poet whose life was the testimony of his aesthetic ideals...´. During the last phase of her career, Oriana Fallaci, the 20th century icon of Italian journalism, saw Islam and immigrants from the South and the East to be a threat to European civilisation. Her radical and inappropriate views, deemed such in terms of the canons of European political correctness, cost her rejection. Kevin Carter, South African photojournalist and the winner of the 1994 Pulitzer Prize for his legendary photo of a vulture waiting for the death of a child dying of hunger, committed suicide shortly after receiving the award.”
(Agata Chałupnik, Didaskalia, http://www.dziennikteatral- ny.pl/artykuly/kiedy-lzy-nie-placza.html)

“… the author of the play (Tomasz Śpiewak) offers individual scenes as if torn out of context and stripped of solid points of support. Yet his strategy is more the outcome of dramatic structure of the world’s “apocalypse” than of a lack of communication competency.”
(Anka Herbut, Dwutygodnik, http://www.dwutygodnik. com/artykul/5504-milosc-umarla-przecinek-milosc-umarla-kropka.html)

“The Apocalypse is not a biographical production. Though it contains some scenes reminding the key facts from the lives of Fallaci and Pasolini, the journalist and the artist serve rather as a pretext here. (...) The Apocalypse – a play with kitsch and sentimentalism through which we reveal ourselves when speaking of the suffering of the hungry from the position of the fed ones. What is left of social issues are aesthetic clichés conscious of the powerlessness of art.”
(Witold Mrozek, Gazeta Wyborcza, http://www.nowyteatr. org/public/upload/pdf/gazeta_wyborcza_2014_10_09_ apokalipsa_za_oknem_kawiarni      pdf_k.pdf)


directed by Michał Borczuch
text and dramaturgy: Tomasz Śpiewak
set design, costumes: Dorota Nawrot
light design: Katarzyna Łuszczyk
music: Bartosz Dziadosz „Pleq”
mural: Krzysztof Mężyk, Ludmiła Woźniczko
cast: Bartosz Gelner, Marek Kalita, Sebastian Łach, Marta Ojrzyńska, Piotr Polak, Jacek Poniedziałek, Halina Rasiakówna, Krzysztof Zarzecki


Michał Borczuch (1979), Polish theatre director and author of adaptations. He studied sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow and directing at the Academy of Performing Arts in Krakow. He was a Rolex Mentor’s programme scholar having worked under the tutelage by the French director Patrice Chéreau. As student he assisted a number of major Polish directors, such as Kazimierz Kutz and Paweł Miśkiewicz on the production of Innocence (Stary Teatr Krakow) – he also hosted in the production as actor at the 2004 Divadelná Nitra Festival. Since 2005 he works as director in renowned Polish theatres, producing plays by modern playwright as well as classics, including Leonce and Lena by George Büch- ner (Teatr Dramatyczny Warsaw, 2007), The Picture of Dorian Gray (TR Warsaw, 2009), Werther (Stary Teatr Krakow, 2009), Hans, Dora and Wolf (Teatr Polski, 2012). At the Schauspiel- haus in Düsseldorf he produced in 2012 the piece by Swietłana Aleksiewicz War Has no Female Face. Today he is deemed to be among the most talented theatre artists of the younger generation, having been nominated twice for the prestigious award by the leading Polish weekly, Polityka.


Materials available

Video of the production: yes
Script of the production SK

If you are interested in these materials, write to archivy@nitrafest.sk