Teatr Wspołczesny, Wroclaw; Teatr Rozmaitości, Warsaw; Teatr Polski, Poznan, Poland, 2002
Author: Sarah Kane
Directed by Krzysztof Warlikowski

about the producion

Krzysztof Warlikowski’s last production of Cleansed is almost indescribable – it contains words that kill and scenes that deprive you of peaceful sleep. All the protagonists want to free themselves of their bodies that incessantly fight and strive to attain the unattainable. (...) Life is perceived here as a "bath" in which we cleanse ourselves by suffering and death. (...) The production Cleansed is a co-production of the three most productive Polish theatres – Teatr Wspołczesny from Wroclaw, Teatr Polski from Poznan, Teatr Rozmaitości from Warsaw and the international producers Hebbel Theatre and Theorem. Immediately after its presentation it was invited to the prominent international festivals Avignon in France and New Drama in Lithuania. It is not accidental. For the present young artist, rather than being a lo-ad or burden, Polish sensitivity, style and theatrical tradition are phenomena suggesting the arrival of something new which is substantial and significant in Polish theatre of this millennium.

Łukasz Drewniak, Medusa’s raft, Przekrój no 2/02

Warlikowski’s production is an event that extends its reach beyond the theatre. Not only does it open up the Polish theatres to Sarah Kane, but it also alters the value of such words as "violence", "love", "pain" and "death". It is the road to the inside of modern people who cannot bring their own demons under control. It is a purifying psychoanalytical session, and after it neither theatre, nor life will be the same as before.

Roman Pawlowski, Gazeta Wyborcza, 19 February 2001

It is an exceptional and spectacular work. Horrifying like a look into a dark abyss. But can we be cleansed in any other way today? There is no other way to eliminate hypocrisy and complacency but through theatre penetrating to the core. Warlikowski succeeded in shocking us through poetry. He physically stupefied us by poetry. (...) All the actors acted brilliantly. This masterpiece will change Polish theatre again, since it opens up the territory of which presence we were aware, but we feared to enter it. It is the road towards the night’s end. Where the night ends, there is hope for love.

Piotr Gruszczyński, Tygodnik Powszechny no 1/02

(…) I think that scenes of cruelty in Sarah Kane’s works express the atmosphere of chaos and uneasiness in which we live today. Rather than showing that we are watched wherever we go, Sarah Kane’s work is a-bout the expression of anxiety experienced by a human idling around in the house, hopelessly striving to escape from the terrible world. What does this text speak of in essence? Of human effort to under-stand what love is. Despite that I know that it is impossible to under-stand love. It is possible to fall in love, thus approximating to it – but still without understanding it. (...) To me, The Cleansed is a stream of painful scenes. (...) To me, the power of straightforwardness of Sarah Kane’ text was of major importance. It approximated most to my staging style, which the audience must feel under the skin, and they should not come to the theatre to see an instructional puzzle. In working with the text I grasped that it must be laid bare up to the level of the repudiation and destruction of the theatre itself.

Krzysztof Warlikowski, interview for the Didaskalia journal, 2002



directed by Krzysztof Warlikowski
translation: Krzysztof Warlikowski & Jacek Poniedziałek
music: Paweł Mykietyn
set: Małgorzata Szczęćniak
lighting design: Felice Ross
characters and cast:
Tinker: Mariusz Bonaszewski, Grace: Małgorzata Hajewska-Krzysztofik, Graham: Redbad Klynstra, Woman: Stanisława Celińska, Rod: Jacek Poniedziałek, Carl: Thomas Schweiberer, Robin: Tomasz Tyndyk, Monologue and singing: Renate Jett


Krzysztof Warlikowski (1962)

He studied History, Philosophy and Romance Studies at Jagiellonian University in Cracow, he has done a study stay at the Sorbonne in Paris. In 1995 he graduated from theatre directing in Cracow Ludwik Solski State School of Drama. Apart from directing at home he directed as a guest in foreign theatres in Paris, Budapest, Hamburg, Stockholm, Zagreb, Tel Aviv, Vienna and Stuttgart. Most of his directing is related to producing Shakespeare’s plays, although his work does include such authors as Sophocles, H. von Kleist, W. Gombrowicz or B. M. Koltès.

His most striking productions are: W. Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice (Toruň, 1993), Hamlet (Tel Aviv, 1994), Pericles (Piccolo Teatro, Milan), The Taming of the Shrew (Warsaw, 1998), Twelfth Night (Stuttgart, 1999), B. M. Koltès’ Roberto Zucco (Poznan, 1994), Western Coast (Warsaw, 1998). For his production of The Winter’s Tale at the Poznan Theatre he was awarded Golden Yorick Prize at the Theatru Gedanese Festival (1997). In the national Polish competition of staging Shakespeare’s plays in 1998 he won the prize for directing a production of The Taming of the Shrew.


Materials available

Video of the production: no
Scripts of the production: PL

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