All About My Mother Despite the title, Michał Borczuch’s play is not a stage adaptation of the acclaimed movie by cult director Pedro Almodovar—although here, as well, femininity and the fascination with it are in the foreground. Both Borczuch and his frequent collaborator, actor Krzysztof Zarzecki, lost their mothers at a young age. Both of their mothers died of cancer. These two stories and more or less coherent memories from their childhood and teen years become an excuse to reveal the ephemeral and selective nature of memory itself, and to present the thin and fluid line between fiction, highly stylized reminiscences of the past, and so-called “real life”. Incidents involving the two mother figures turn into a nostalgic yet ironic trip back in time to 1980s and 1990s Poland. But it’s not the political and cultural transformations of this time period that shape the dynamics of the depicted world, but rather the enigmatic and ambivalent reality of those bygone years, which becomes a shared experience for the actors and the audience.
The rough, industrial space of Łażnia Nowa Theatre, minimalistic set design by Dorota Nawrot, electrifying, hypnotic music by Bartosz “Pleq” Dziadosz and subtle lighting design by Jacqueline Sobiszewski create an intriguing and mysterious theatrical universe. And the text of the play, dramaturgically developed by Tomasz Śpiewak, surprises with lightness and humor. Even when it discusses weighty matters, including death. But the core of the play are the five actresses who establish its pace and rhythm and give it form. Similarly to Almodovar’s film, it becomes a tribute to womanhood and all those who come to perform it.
All About My Mother won Divine Comedian statue for the best performance at the 9th Divine Comedy International Theatre Festival.
// Credits //
Directed by: Michał Borczuch
Text and dramaturgy by: Tomasz Śpiewak
Set design by: Dorota Nawrot
Music by: Bartosz Dziadosz „Pleq”
Lighting design by: Jacqueline Sobiszewski
Multimedia by: Michał Dobrucki
Director’s asisstant: Agata Klepacz
Dominika Biernat, Iwona Budner, Monika Niemczyk, Marta Ojrzyńska, Halina Rasiakówna, Ewelina Żak, Krzysztof Zarzecki
Premiere: 22th April 2016
// Author //
Michał Borczuch Born in 1979 in Kraków. A graduate of the Sculpture Faculty of the Academy of Fine Arts and the Faculty of Theatre Directing at the Academy For Dramatic Arts, and a scholar of The Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative Programme for the most promising young artists from all over the world. Most of his works were presented at the Stary Teatr in Kraków, TR Warszawa, and Teatr Polski in Wrocław. His first independent work was KOMPOnents by Małgorzata Owsiany. Among his later works are the Polish ninteenth century classic, Aleksander Fredro’s A Great Man For a Small Business, where he played a double role – as director and as a stage designer; Leonce and Lena by Georg Büchner, and Lulu by Frank Wedekind. In 2009 Borczuch staged an adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s Dorian Gray at TR Warszawa. At the same time, he developed a widely acclaimed version of The Sorrows of Young Werther, based on Goethe’s novel, at the Stary Teatr in Kraków. 2012 is also the year of Borczuch’s début at Düsseldorf’s Schauspielhaus, where he produced a play based on The Unwomanly Face Of War, the celebrated novel by Sviatlana Aliaksandrawna Alieksiyevich. Apokalypse, a play that he worked on for almost a year with his mentor, Patrice Chéreau, premiered in 2014 in Nowy Teatr in Warsaw, and won him the Divine Comedian statue. It is based on two novels by Oriana Falacci: Falacci Interviews Herself and Apocalypse and an unfinished triptych Trilogy Of Death by Piero Paolo Pasolini.
// Łaźnia Nowa Theatre //
Łaźnia Nowa Theatre is an active Cracow theatre, located in the renovated postindustrial space of the former workshops of the communist School of Mechanics in Nowa Huta. In the ten years of its existence, the theatre has become a recognised trademark in Polish theatre. It initiated a number of popular festivals, such as Genius Loci Theatre Festival, the Divine Comedy International Theatre Festival and Mrożek Festival. Łaźnia Nowa does not have a permanent company and its productions follow the practice of inviting various actors and directors to cooperate. It gives both recognised and budding theatre artists excellent conditions to produce their work. To date, the theatre has hosted productions by artists such as Michał Borczuch, Łukasz Czuj, Iga Gańczarczyk, Paweł Kamza, Marcin Liber, Paweł Passini, Wiktor Rubin, Monika Strzępka, Marcin Wierzchowski, Paweł Świątek, Weronika Szczawińska and Michał Zadara. Between 2005 and 2015, Łaźnia Nowa theatre produced more than 40 shows, both independently and in co-production with other institutions. Łaźnia Nowa’s productions successfully participate in numerous Polish theatre festivals and are also regularly shown abroad, for instance in Berlin, Madrid, Mexico City and Singapore. The unusual space of Łaźnia Nowa theatre (there are two stages with auditoriums of up to several hundreds spectators, as well as a spacious foyer) attracts the best productions from Europe. The rich artistic range of Łaźnia Nowa proves wrong all those who like to believe the worst about the district of Nowa Huta and complain that nothing can be done here.
// Press //
In the play “All About My Mother” actresses Iwona Budner, Monika Niemczyk, Halina Rasiaknin, as well as Dominika Biernat and Ewelina Żak are at the same time mothers, future mothers and women. In Dorota Nawrot's well-arranged, abstract space, they become icons not so much of maternity as femininity. And still acting, because this topic in the play of Tomasz Śpiewak is very sharp.
- jméno příjmení, periodikum
On paper everything looked simple and clear. Two friends - the director and the actor, meet in the interval between "big" projects. To talk about their premature dead mothers. A huge emotional burden, but also therapeutic potential. Adult men have to go back to their youth and stage recollections to bring back memories. To make a symbolic tribute to the mothers who were missing in important moments of life. Something between psychoanalysis and spiritualism. Only Michał Borczuch and Krzysztof Zarzecki somehow ignore the guidelines. What in the premiere of the show looked like a simple reckoning with the past, on the stage takes on a dimension of a fragmentary and inexplicable projection.
- jméno příjmení, periodikum
This is Zarzecki's most quiet, restrained creation yet. He happens to be a kind of second director and a partner of fate - his mother also died of cancer. In Nowa Huta a spectacle has been created that is intriguing and non-obvious. The minimalism of the measures underscores the vastness of the industrial space of Łaźnia Nowa Theatre and the addictive, drab stage design of Dorota Nawrot. In the text of Tomasz Śpiewak there is no easy sentimentality. There is also no biography in general – understood as an attempt to sort out the history of someone's life. Ordinary woman, Borczuch and Zarzecki repeat.
- jméno příjmení, periodikum
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