Hamlet – Garbaczewski’s Hamlet is an auteur-style, highly artistic, amusing and irritating, breaking down and expanding the theatrical space, mixing various textual sources and sprinboards, but also not forgetting to tell a story and, through it, to express and give meaning to the world. “Hamlet is a spider's web, its center is Elsinore, an alien environment, far from the civilized world, to the which the Prince is desperately trying to give meaning. William Shakespeare moulds his work doubting the purpose of revenge. What can vengeance mean when the authority of Hamlet/the Ghost ceases to hold?” the artists ask. “Krzysztof Garbaczewski brilliantly reconciles the contradictions: faith in the text and its rejection, faith in drama and a belief in its anachronism, the virtuoso director and the anarchic stage. No other Polish director has such an impressive visual imagination – and Hamlet, with its sets designed by Aleksandra Wasilkowska, is further evidence. Over the stage hangs an enormous mirror-screen that recalls a rosette – it turns on its axis and casts flashes of light. This play scatters Hamlet like a prism. Out of the maudlin ‘to be or not to be’ Cecko makes an open-ended ‘to be, or not: to be decided.’ This is why the subsequent scenes create variants on an idea for Hamlet, separate dense worlds that more stand as neighbors than result from one another,” concludes Witold Mrożek in Gazeta Wyborcza.
In one scene Helena Modrzejewska explains that it is not possible to create a single, compact production of the play, because Hamlet is at the same time psychological, political and social. This is why Garbaczewski has three Hamlets. The oldest (Roman Gancarczyk) recites fragments from Heiner Müller’s Hamletmachine, the youngest (Bartosz Bielenia) is sometimes Ophelia, while the middle one (Krzysztof Zarzecki), who presents a graphomaniac testimony penned by Marcin Cecko, tries to overcome melancholy, obsession with death and his inability to love (which Jaśmina Polak’s the rebellious Ophelia accuses him of).
Aneta Kyzioł: Hamlet roz(s)trojony, Polityka.
Garbaczewski’s Hamlet is a machine. A theatre machine. A mythological machine. Matrices that trigger and drive contemporary cultural tendencies, the fluid nature of both individual and collective identity, current political events, social anxieties or the number of accessible artistic conventions. Chance, intuition and symptoms of interpretation that can never be rationally motivated. (…) With Garbaczewski the poison is not poured into the ear. The poison turns out to be words. The poison is poured from the mouth to the ear. The words have been devaluated, they can be manipulated, their meaning can be changed, their colour, temperature, addressee and the person pronouncing them. The capacity of the sign is unlimited. Instead of a choice between “yes” or “no”, there is only perhaps. The fluid postmodern is an explosive mixture, washing away at our continent and flooding the borders. Words no longer have anything to say. Words do not talk. Words, words, words. Words liquidate performance. “My brain is a single scar. I want to be a machine. Hands for grabbing feet for walking, no pain, no thought!”
Anka Herbut: To be or not: maybe to be, Dwutygonik.