Archa / The Ark / Die Arche


A large-scale open-air production with a distinctive acting style, visually-striking set design, fires, music and original moving objects. It deals poetically with the globally-topical theme of wandering, exile and the search for a new home. In four striking and archetypal scenes Teatr Ósmego Dnia presents the rites of marriage, war, exile and wandering. In the closing ritual the participants in the journey are rewarded with a picture of joyous fun and games – into which the whole space, including the audience, is then transformed.

About Teatr Ósmego Dnia, writers and directors of the play "The Ark":
Teatr Ósmego Dnia (Theatre of the Eighth Day) was founded in 1964 by a group of arts students in Poznan. The inspiration for its name came from a poem by Polish poet Ildefons Galczynski on the creation of the world. ‘It says that on the seventh day God rested, and on the eighth day he created the theatre,’ explains Ewa Wójciak from T 8D. During clashes with the socialist regime, however, the name was interpreted in another way. The ‘eighth day’ was said to be a day of freedom that existed outside the official calendar. The theatre’s style was influenced by the work of Grotowski, Kantor, Artaud and the Living Theatre. By the end of the 1960s it had become associated with Poland’s democratic opposition, and its history became marked by censorship battles, foreign tour bans, sackings, trials and imprisonment. After Jaruzelski’s military coup the theatre was put on the blacklist of banned companies in 1984, and ultimately went into exile in Italy. When the democratic opposition defeated the rulingCommunists in 1989, the theatre was invited to return home by Prime Minister Tadeusz Mazowiecki himself. The theatre subsequently built a new home in Poznan in the form of a centre for alternative culture. The company presented its cult production of Wormwood at the ‘Divadlo’ festival in 2005 as part of the Moving Station project at the Jižní předměstí railway station. The company’s most recent production, Time of Mothers, is inspired by the fate of war widows and premiered on 28 June in Poznan to mark the 50th anniversary of the anti-Communist uprising.

‚We were inspired to create The Ark by the war in Chechnya,’ company head Ewa Wójciak says. “The Chechens are similar to the Poles as a nation in that they have been fighting for freedom for centuries.“ However, The Ark was only partly inspired by a picture of burning Grozny. The Cuban boat people also made an impression, as did the general fate of people from the dark side of today’s world. The personal experiences of theatre members played a role, too.
(by Zdeněk A. Tichý, Mladá fronta Dnes)

Poland’s famous Teatr Ósmego Dnia, which on Monday night anchored in Brno’s náměstí Svobody with a perfomance called The Ark, has created an unforgettable experience from the stink and smoke of burning petrol.
For fifty minutes under the night sky it replays the traumas of those displaced by war, political refugees and those seeking their promised land. However, it is not only the legendary Poznan group which set sail in the huge mobile cockleshell, under sails of sheet metal. The production skilfully transports hundreds of audience members into the imaginary world of the refugees who are dreaming about their old and new homes. The rich scenes literally seep into the audience, which sometimes steps back from them and sometimes becomes part of them. (....) In this effective piece of street theatre the Poles not only provide laypeople with a rich experience, but throw a gauntlet down in front of Czech theatre professionals.
(by Luboš Mareček, Mladá fronta Dnes)

14th International Festival Theatre Pilsen Booklet (Printed Edition)
Gruppe / Compagnie / Ensemble
Freitag, 15. September 2006
Tschechische Republik
60 min