Energetic opening of the 25th jubilee edition of the Festival

There were two events that on 8 March inaugurated the 25th jubilee edition of International Festival of Plays Pleasant and Unpleasant. First it was the exhibition “Theatre and its spectator”, and then the play “A Year of Everyday Life in Central Eastern Europe” by Paweł Demirski, directed by Monika Strzępka and produced by The Helena Modrzejewska National Stary Theatre in Kraków. Thank you very much for your presence and for creating such a wonderful atmosphere of the Festival. We are glad that all our loyal spectators could see the spectacle, in spite of the fact that a few of our guests had only standing room.

In the photo gallery you can read a letter by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Culture and National Heritage Mr Piotr Gliński. It reads among others “International Festival of Plays Pleasant and Unpleasant created by Ms Ewa Pilawska is just 25 years old. It has been a long and unusual journey with many great theatre artist, with many spectators and loyal fans. (…) My congratulations on the jubilee go together with my wishes for the organizers – satisfaction of the past achievements and future projects, and for the audience – many unforgettable artistic moments”.

The exhibitions was opened by its curators – Magdalena Kulesza and Krzysztof Kelm (while working on the plastic design and multimedia they were accompanied by Jan Pieniążek). The exhibition “Theatre and its spectators” presents phenomena in contemporary Polish and foreign theatre, which constituted an experiment and an attempt to change the theatre’s relations with its audience – both by the evolution of the traditional division of space as well as by giving the viewers a different role. The exhibition includes, among others, works of Polish theatre groups: Teatr Ósmego Dnia, Biuro Podróży Theatre, Węgajty Theatre, Leszek Mądzik’s Visual Stage of the Catholic University in Lublin, the Academy of Movement, Justyna Sobczyk’s 21 Theatre and the main representatives of the global alternative: The Bread and Puppet Theatre, The Living Theatre, The Wooster Group, as well as famous performances by such artists as Luca Ronconie, Ariane Mnouchkine and Peter Brook.

“A Year of Everyday Life in Central Eastern Europe” is the first spectacle of the 25th edition of International Festival of Plays Pleasant and Unpleasant. As usual Paweł Demirski and Monika Strzępka comment on reality by portraying Polish contemporary commonplaceness. On stage you can see figures from various social groups and business – aspiring representatives of middle class, disappointed workers and professors who have just been promoted in social hierarchy. Polish society consists, among others, of those who put the butter in the refrigerator and those who keep it on the counter; those who go for all-inclusive holidays and those who use perfect English in order not to be recognized as tourists; young and old, conservatives and liberals, self-styled sommeliers, culture white-collars workers, teachers, millennials, the faithful and the atheists. All of them are connected by a widely understood “Polish character” – it either gives rise to complexes and the feeling of shame or becomes the reason of pride and self-confidence. “A Year of Everyday Life…” shows the effects of misunderstandings and lack of mutual openness. It does not judge who is guilty but it asks questions about the reasons of the situation. As it appears, everyone has some contribution to creating the conflict. And  the audience look at it as in a distorting mirror – everybody is a part of the reflection; all of us constitute the entirety.

After the spectacle there was a meeting with its creators. The meeting was moderated by Łukasz Maciejewski. The actors said that the spectacle construction – based on the use of stereotypes and seemingly simple catches – was intentional in order to reflect our commonplaceness in a best possible way.

The Helena Modrzejewska National Stary Theatre in Cracow
"A Year of Everyday Life in Central Eastern Europe"
By Paweł Demirski
Director: Monika Strzępka
Set design/costumes: Arek Ślesiński
Music: Tomasz Sierajewski
Lights/video: Robert Mleczko
Cast: Anna Dymna, Dorota Pomykała, Anna Radwan, Dorota Segda, Małgorzata Zawadzka, Juliusz Chrząstowski, Szymon Czacki, Zbigniew W. Kaleta, Radosław Krzyżowski, Michał Majnicz, Krzysztof Zawadzki, Mieczysław Mejza