Dead Princess

Teatr Polski in Poznań, Poland, 2003
Author: Nikolay Kolyada
Directed by Paweł Szkotak

about the production

The Dead Princess is a story about a doctor of a veterinary hospital in a dilapidated town. Rimma has fallen to the bottom of the society. During the day she electrocutes stray dogs, at nights she drinks with local drunkards. Kolyada adds a new semantic layer to the story. It is a Pushkin‘s fairy tale about a sleeping princess awakened by a prince. Rimma knows it by heart and she is waiting for her prince. (...) The sets are made of high walls covered by lichen, there is a medical lamp, a sofa, and an operating table, on which the heroes sleep, drink, and make love. The place is not dirty, it is a Beckett-like desolation, where people live like animals in a cage.

Roman Pawłowski, Gazeta Wyborcza

It is a very rich text; on the one hand it confronts the depressive life with dreams, on the other hand it makes us think about things we can encounter or anticipate. Moreover, it says that in each, even the most desperate situation we can find willpower to save at least the last bits of our own humanity. This profound humanity makes the light part of Kolyada works. (...) Jerzy Czech (editor’s remark – the translator) called Kolyada the contemporary Chekhov. It is hard to contradict this comparison. Because it is the same atmosphere of daydreaming, expecting a miracle and the impossibility to conquer the fate.

Anna Kochnowicz, Życie

The strength of the Poznan production is in its roughness, in the modesty of form and means. (...) The coldness that lies in the space can be a symptom of lacklustre futility of life. (...) The director consciously turned from the play‘s realism to a multi-level text thus enabling a more universal and humanistic interpretation. The reality of provincial Russia becomes only a masque behind which the drama of all the losers is hidden.

Dorota Mrówka, Festival Interpretacje, web site

The whole production is very consistent. Szkotak does not justify or pity his heroes. It is rather a depiction of moments in the lives of Rimma, Nina, Maxim, and Witalij, than an attempt to persuade us that kind hearts full with dissembled emotions are hidden behind their strange appearances. All the characters have to cope on their own with the situation created by themselves. Szkotak leaves us alone with the problem, which is here for us to think about and he does not impose any interpretation. (...) The actors with their discipline and engagement remind us of those with whom Paweł Szkotak works daily in an alternative theatre. The production gives the evidence that marriage of the alternative and traditional theatre can bring very interesting effects.

Joanna Ostrowska, Teatr



directed by Paweł Szkotak,
translation: Jerzy Czech,
setting: Izabela Kolka
characters and cast:
Rimma: Beata Bandurska, Nina: Małgorzata Neumann, Maksym: Mirosław Guzowski, Witalij: Piotr Kaźmiercza



Paweł Szkotak (1965) 

In 1991, he graduated from Adam Mickiewicz University (Poznan). He is a founder, director, actor and stage designer at the BIURO PODROZY in Poznan, one of the most interesting alternative theatres in Poland. Visual arts are Szkotak's main source of inspiration – especially painting and sculpture – but also political and social events. “Szkotak touches in his productions the most sensitive issues of the past century, such as war, attitudes to religion, the responsibility of science and education, all of which will not dis- appear with the new millennium, but will continue to shape the world we live in.” (Roman Pawlowski, Dialog - Wroclaw). Paweł Szkotak’s productions have been presented at the festivals in Bogota, Bombay, Buenos Aires, Delhi, Philadelphia, Cairo, Mexico, Moscow, Perth/Australia, Seoul, Singapore and in almost all European countries. Paweł Szkotak has been the director of the „Maski” theatre festival in Poznan for 6 years.

Awards for the Dead Princess:

The Grand Prix at the Kontrapunkt 2002 festival in Szczecin, the audience award at the Kontrapunkt 2002 in Szczecin, award for the best director at the Premieres Festival 2002 in Bydgoszcz, award for the best director and the audience award at the Interpretacje 2003 festival in Katowice.


Materials available

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

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