Komuna Warszawa, Poland, 2019
author: Robert Bolesto
directed by Agnieszka Smocz
about the production
The independent theatre Komuna Warszawa have produced several titles in the recent years that have had a notably positive reception among the public and professional community, and they have been able to do so in competition with established theatre houses that work on much higher budgets. One such work is Holy Noodle, which in terms of form represents a distinctive commentary on the genres of bourgeois musical and romantic comedy. The hero in this play is a bullterrier called Noodle, who has reached the house of Mr. and Mrs. Old, a pair of creative employees at an unnamed corporate firm. Mr. and Mrs. Old have no children and they view their training and life with the little bitch as a pastime or lifestyle accessory. They harbour no special feelings for her, and the reverse is also the case. But Noodle, in the manner of some malicious power, begins to meddle with the regular course and routine of the pair’s everyday life. When submission gives her a hard time, she turns to the teachings of the Dog Church, but those only occupy her briefly as she gradually begins to break the masters‘ rules. As Noodle becomes increasingly unmanageable, conflicts escalate her and her owners. The frustrated Noodle eventually cannot keep touch with reality and submits to the doctrine of the Dog Pope, who comes from a different planet and orders her to kill Mr. and Mrs. Old. Her attempt at emancipation from the yoke of the collar, however, provides no relief to her canine situation, as she has become too used to being servile.
The play’s libretto was authored by renowned screenwriter and playwright Robert Bolesto and singer, songwriter and musician Zuzanna Wrońska, who composed the production’s music together with Marcin Macuk. Their team has already collaborated with director Agnieszka Smoczyńska on the awardwinning films The Lure and Fugue. The directors of Komuna Warszawa also invited the well-synchronised team of the director, for whom this is a theatrical debut. Agnieszka Smoczyńska and her colleagues did not need to import filmic methods into the medium of theatre. They make use of the space to experiment and search for a new language with minimalist means, as is common in Komuna’s other productions. The result hovers on the boundary of comedy, slapstick, musical, caricature and comic strip.
A modest cast, a deliberately humble set and austere costumes rule out grandiose or showy drama, the mechanisms of a musical or bourgeois comedy are rather exposed and investigated. The resulting hybrid genre proves the emptiness and affectation of the form on which it parasites, and holds up a grotesquely hyperbolic mirror to the life of its bourgeois audience. The image is not only interesting by its stylised portrayal of relationships – comically simplistic and highlighting certain stereotypes – but also that of the dog. Just as the dog’s training and acquired behaviour are the projections of human fantasies, so an immersion in its psyche is the authors’ own. There is no such thing as cultivating the human by way of an animal; in the strictly programmed canine world, one cannot even achieve a reasonable distance from human behaviour. It is equally impossible to achieve a due distance from human behaviour in the strictly formalised world of bourgeois theatre. One can only point at its weak points with comic hyperbole. In this case, the creators, now informed, have stood up to the challenge to create a blend of original text and songs, distinctive acting and powerful music, to offer audiences something more than simple entertainment.
direction: Agnieszka Smoczyńska
text: Robert Bolesto
lyrics: Zuzanna Wrońska
music: Zuzanna Wrońska, Marcin Macuk
light: Aleksander Prowaliński
choreography: Kaya Kołodziejczyk, Katarzyna Sikora
costumes: Milena Liebe
cast: Piotr Trojan, Małgorzata Gorol, Andrzej Konopka
Idea „Musicals! Musicals!“: Tomasz Plata
co‑production: Alter Art
Agnieszka Smoczyńska (1978) graduated in directing from the Radio and Television Faculty of the Krzysztof Kieslowski Silesian University in Katowice. She already gained recognition as a distinctive author with her student films, which were met with acclaim at international festivals. Smoczyńska was nominated for the prestigious Paszport Polityki Award, earned the title Best Debut at the Gdynia Film Festival with her sophomore film Fugue (premiered in Cannes), and garnered international attention with her film The Lure in 2015, later distributed in the USA and Japan, which received the Special Jury Prize for its unique vision and design at Sundance Festival, the Polish Orly Film Award for Discovery of the Year, as well as other awards from film exhibits in Nashville and Sofia. In collaboration the pioneering Polish alternative theatre company Komuna Warszawa, Agnieszka Smoczyńska created her latest comedy Holy Noodle.
Video of the production: yes
Scripts of the production: SK, EN, PL
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