III Furies

Modjeska Theatre in Legnica, Poland, 2012
Author: Magda Fertacz, Małgorzata Sikorska-Miszczuk, Sylwia Chutnik
Directed by Marcin Liber

about the production

To solve an issue of our world means to continually confront the present with the past, memories with present experiences and the expectations of the future. It does not matter whether the solution is brought about by a memory of a trivial situation or a study of archetypal stories. The text of the production III Furies by three Polish female authors is based on this awareness – a drama, an oratory, a prologue to a tragedy, or some other definition one could use to describe the text of this unusual theatre, scavenging the darkest corners of the Polish soul and searching for the sources of today’s commonplace evil extending from recent history and ancient mythology.

The text is blended together by the stories of two mothers who are narrating their bitter life experiences. The first one – Danuta Muter – is a vulgar woman, a representative of those we are usually ashamed of and do not talk about. The other, Alkména, wife of professor Markiewicz, is, on the contrary, from the family of heroes, enlightened patriots, and intelligentsia. Danutta’s grandmother handed two Warsaw women over to the Germans during the Second World War to obtain a green coat which belonged to one of them. Also the silly Danutta, murderer of her own children, has to cope now with the curse that has been following the family since that time. On the other hand, the story of a professor’s wife, Mrs. Markiewicz, is a lamentation of a woman who has brought up her son to be a patriot. In the name of protecting and cultivating the motherland, he is murdering the prostitutes, communists and priests. The stories of both women, recited in front of Olympus gates, are interlaid with the speeches of Apollo – a decadent god, or rather a moderator of an obscure TV show who is guiding the whole production as a choral psychological drama. III Furies are not a colourful historical fresco but a hell of common prejudices, empty words and false myths. Pure Polish heroes, perverse cripples resembling their ancient prototypes only with their names, are staggering within that. III Furies break many taboos which contemporary Polish people intentionally avoid and expose the idealised image of heroism and nation’s suffering. Its cathartic effect does not lie in disclosing a strong tragic story but rather in the purificatory feeling following the cruel, profound, collective heart-searching the viewers are brought to.

The text sounds as a process of coming to terms with the history by a new generation, a struggle with a surplus of memories and a lack of self-reflection. The play is based on the novel Dzidzia (Women) by Sylwia Chutnik and the book of notes Egzekutor (Executor) by Stefan Dąmbski, who had voluntarily joined the ranks pursuing the Germans and became an Armia Krajova (Home Army) confidant during the Second World War. After the war he emigrated to the USA and in 1993 committed suicide in Miami. His notes, which were published on the internet by his children, have become very popular.

III Furies are a theatre of extremes. Loud music, powerful stage images and texts bordering on brutality and vulgarity, nearing surrealism and macabre scenes. With his direction and by means of live guitar music Marcin Liber cleverly underlines the extreme aspects of the text, harshly draws the spectator into a cruel labyrinth at the end of which there is a cathartic experience. One of the best productions of the past season in Poland simultaneously presents a principal statement on Warlikowski’s ideologisation of sacrifice in the glorified production (A)pollonia. As a cruel parody III Furies uncompromisingly break this new Polish myth.
Ján Šimko

“The actors give voice to the whole set of national characters: football fans, scythe-bearing peasants, Polish moustachioed gay plumbers and railway station prostitutes. The guilty and innocent victims of war and communism bring wreaths accompanied by an inscription borrowed from a football song for the defeated: ‘Poles, nothing happened’. Maybe their sacrifice was in vain, being an executioner as natural as breathing, and Poland turns out to be a repository of culprits unaware of their sins and with no understanding of their punishment.
Liber proposes a different kind of conversation with Poland and about Poland than Strzępka or Klata. Liber is less aggressive, less anarchic, but he hits the nail on the head. Great, scary show.”
Łukasz Drewniak, Przekrój, 18 April 2011

“The performance shakes the audience by using punk sharp aesthetics and the attempt against the national mythology. Also by putting the equal sign between two crimes – the one committed by Danuta’s grandmother because of simple greed and these committed by an AK executioner who was acting for patriotic reasons. The victims’ suffering, which cannot be measured, allows the authors to equalize those crimes. Danuta’s final decision to give her coat with the fox collar to professor’s wife met at the railway station is a gesture of reconciliation – shaking hands over the history, concepts of punishment and guilt and classification of committed crimes.”
Magda Piekarska, Gazeta Wyborcza Wroclaw, 15 March 2011


direction and arrangement of space: Marcin Liber
dramaturgy: Małgorzata Sikorska-Miszczuk
costumes: Mixer group
stage movement: Iwona Pasińska
mural project inspired by „Melancholia”by Jacek Malczewski: Tymek Jezierski
live music: My Adrenalin / Radio error
characters and cast: Kassandra, Traveller 1, Stasia: Katarzyna Dworak, Mrs. Markiewicz: Ewa Galusińska, MC Apollo: Rafał Cieluch, Danuta Mutter, Stefania Mutter: Joanna Gonschorek, The Blessed Virgin, Traveller 2, Hanka: Małgorzata Urbańska, SS-man, Traveller 1, Priest: Robert Gulaczyk, Peasant Edek, Traveller 2, Worker: Bartosz Bulanda, Stefan Herakles: Mariusz Sikorski, SIRENS: Radio error, My Adrenalin


Marcin Liber (1970) začínal s pouličným divadlom. Ako člen legendárneho poznanského divadla Teatr Biuro Podróży, neskôr spolu s Wojciechom Winskim založil divadlo Usta Usta. Režíroval aj niekoľko špeciálnych inscenácií, ako napríklad predstavenie k výročiu Varšavského povstania. Vo svojich inscenáciách kombinuje témy a obrazy z popkultúry s archetypálnymi príbehmi, neúnavne hľadá spôsoby, ako znepokojiť diváka a odkryť mu realitu v jej krutých zákonitostiach. Často pracuje s neobvyklými, komplikovanými textami, považovanými za neinscenovateľné. Jeho inscenácie bývajú v Poľsku často odmeňované rôznymi cenami.

Materials available

Script of the production: PL, SK a EN titulky

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