Small Narration

Teatr Studio,Warsaw, Poland, 2011
Author: Wojtek Ziemilski
Directed by Wojtek Ziemilski

about the production

Performing arts, similarly as other arts, social and historical sciences as well as public discussions have recently been preoccupied, sometimes almost obsessed, with personal memories. For some people it means revealing the hidden corners of history, others are helped by such memories to come to terms with their own traumatic past, and there are also those who use memory as a political card.  Some people talk about memory inflation, others consider such tendencies a fashion that will slowly melt away.

Wojtek Ziemilski had two strong reasons why he decided to find a theatrical form in order to process the memory material: on the one hand, it was a very strong personal experience, on the other one, a reflection of forms by which scenic arts deal with memory.

In autumn 2006 it came out that Wojciech Dzieduszycki, a descendant of a prominent aristocratic family, an opera and cabaret singer, a prominent cultural activist and a respected citizen of the Polish city of Wroclaw had been a collaborator of the communist secret police for many years. Having heard this information, the family could not recover from it. Wojtek Ziemilski is Dzieduszycki’s grandson and a theatre and a visual artist who, in his works, also reflects art history. In his Small Narration he reflects the way in which memory         can be politicized. He is interested to know what effort society makes to face up to its own past. How this effort often ends in labelling the „enemies of the society“ and the following witch-hunt. How society relinquishes this complicated issue to simplistic journalistic forms in a variety of media, how this effort often resembles a trendy agenda and a political game rather than a genuine effort to tackle its own past.  Wojtek Ziemilski has created a staged reflection of events which followed this serious announcement. His personal memories and those of his family have encountered a social discussion commissioned by society’s instant need to handle its communist past.
Ján Šimko



Wojtek Ziemilski (1977), was born in California but, for the most part of his life, lived in Poland. In 2002 he finished his studies of philosophy at the Université Pierre-Mendès- France in Grenoble and at Warsaw University. In 2004 he studied direction at Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian in Lisbon. He runs workshops on performance and studies the relationship between theatre and visual art in theory and practice. In his theatre work he links film techniques, video art and multimedia performance. He has been cooperating with the Centre for Contemporary Art Zamek Ujazdowski, the National Centre for Culture and the Theatre Institute in Warsaw. He is a writer and publishes articles about art.