about the production
In recent years our living space has been flooded by memory. Different memories, memoirs, private stories and experiences from the past flow from every side. Actors remember, politicians, sportsmen, famous media stars remember, even reality-show participants write memoirs. The memory is discussed over in architecture, literature, history science. It seems that today we suffer from the hypertrophy of memory and there is a danger that we will soon be bored by it. That we will be tired of memory, or that in this constant flood of memories we will forget important stories and recollections. It is questionable how long it will take for us to separate the important from the unimportant in the memory material of all kinds which increases every day.
Also theatre has not been avoided by the attack of memory. From the 1990s there has been an increase of such productions that use documentary material and authentic evidences giving by observers of various historical moments. Modern productions integrate into themselves documentary methods and techniques. It seems that in the last years this wave has reached its peak. During this period, in which theatre has dealt with authentic human stories, recollections and personal memory, creators and critic has asked questions concerning the ways by which theatre may question important social and political issues. Theatrical working methods with a documentary material have been developing and cultivating.
The Polish and German project of Transfer! is one of the most interesting attempts in this field. It speaks of the expulsion of the citizens of Wroclaw – the town which, as a result of an anti-fascist coalition resolution, experienced such a complex exchange of citizens after WWII than any other town in this part of Europe. The script was based on the testimonies of the witnesses of the expulsion events who act in the production themselves in order to speak of how the decision of three politicians changed lives of thousands of people. On the stage, covered by a thick layer of black earth, there are five Poles and five Germans who, present on the stage during the whole production, experience the expulsion events again by playing and telling them. From Pomerania to Berlin, from Podolie to Wroclaw, from the Vilnius region to the Lower Silesia, from Žemaitija to Frankfurt. They speak Polish and German with different accents and elements of borderline mixed regions dialects. From the fragments of their speeches the entire stories start emerging. We do not see dramatic characters who speaks in order to prove or to deny a certain thesis, but we see real people with different characters and temperament. It is interesting how differently the people, experiencing almost the same events, remember situations, how the view on their lives differ. The counter point to the stories of the “small” people are grotesquely depicted characters of Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin. Klata positioned the participants of the Yalta Conference on a platform that hangs above the stage – from it, they, ironically and helplessly, watch and comment the common stories told by the expellees under them. The picture reminds of gods from an ancient tragedy. They play with fates of millions of people but they are human, too human: they tell jokes, play electric guitars and sing Russian songs and the Joy Division song “Transmission”.
The apocalyptic trio of Choo, Roo and Sta.
The creators of the Transfer! goes deep into the politics in order to depict general human situation always dependent on millions of factors – from political decisions to a stroke of a butterfly wing.
“Klata was successful in getting over the conventions of a documentary performance and he created an existentialist production about the memory and death. Above Transfer! there hovers the spirit of Tadeusz Kantor and his Death Class – the production that recorded the experience of the WWI generation. It is the “Death Class” of the 21st century.”
Roman Pawłowski, Gazeta Wyborcza, 2006
“Klata as if bought off the guilt of the people of the Goeritz generation and its posterity. The people who often, after hearing the horrifying and fascinating stories of their grandparents, promised to preserve them. In the form of recording of their war stories, approached as individual life-stories, as the parts of genealogies of particular families, and eventually, as a part of mutually interwoven histories of different nations. Klata wants to pay off the debt to the previous generations: he tries to immortalize the stories of a small but particularly representative group of people living in our part of Europe and he sends this warning forward. Into the future.”
Anna R. Burzyńska, Tygodnik Powszechny, 2006
direction: Jan Klata
stage design: Mirek Kaczmarek
music: Jan Klata
dramaturgy: Ulrike Dittrich, Dunja Funke, Zbigniew Aleksy, Sebastian Majewski
costumes: Mirek Kaczmarek
lights: Jan Sławkowski
choreography: Maćko Prusak
videoprojections: Robert Baliński
cast: Przemysław Bluszcz, Wiesław Cichy, Karolina Kozak, Jan Charewicz, Jan Kruczkowski, Zygmunt Sobolewski, Andrzej Ursyn Szantyr, Hanne-Lore Pretzsch, Ilse Bode, Matthias Göritz, Angela Hubrich, Dietrich Garbrecht
Jan Klata (1973) studied directing at the Theatre Academy in Warsaw, later Cracow State College for Theatre. Klata’s debut as a playwright came at the age of 12 with The Green Elephant, which was printed in the magazine Dialog and performed at the Witkiewicz Theatre in Zakopane. While he was still studying, Jan Klata worked as an assistant for Jerzy Grzegorzewski, Jerzy Jarocki and Krystian Lupa. His second play Smiling Grapefruit was presented at the EuroDrama festival in Wrocław. Klata is among the most important polish directors of recent years. The magazine Polityka awarded him the Polityka Passport Prize in the field of theatre. A Klata Fest – a festival of productions of Jan Klata – took place in Warsaw in December 2005. The most significant productions: The Vatican Cellars by André Gide – Teatr Współczesny in Wroclaw; his own version of Hamlet by William Shakespeare entitled H.– Teatr Wybrzeże in Gdansk; Fizdejka’s Daughter – Teatr im. Jerzy Szaniawsky in Wałbrzych; A Clockwork Orange – Teatr Współczesny in Wroclaw in cooperation of Wroclaw theatre Teatr Pantomimy;
Script of the production: SK
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