Warlikowski Kabaret Critique Essay

In his new piece, a co-production with the Festival d’Avignon in France, the Polish director toys with the idea and form of a cabaret to portray contemporary oppression and alienation, as well as a desire for trangression

Kabaret warszawski / Warsaw Cabaret is inspired by John Van Druten’s play I Am a Camera and John Cameron Mitchell’sfilm Shortbus. Two distinct historical contexts are set side by side in the play – Weimar Germany before the Nazi takeover, and post-9/11 New York City. Circumscribing the seemingly diverging spaces, the two contexts become virtual laboratories of time and space, in which historic circumstance brings out repressed fears, making sexual phobias and conflicting desires surge forward, cumulating in all sorts of crises.

These two worlds serve as a mirror in which today's Warsaw can be seen, with Warlikowski and his Nowy Teatr exploring the restrictions of freedom in our world. In an age of uniformity and oppressive normalization imposed partly in the name of "collective security", people’s right to be themselves and their freedom of self-expression are increasingly curtailed and undermined. Consequently, societal norms are becoming a prison of sorts. These restrictions can only be circumvented in closed, all-but-underground spaces to which only insiders are admitted.

Theatre is one such space. With this production, Warlikowski, notorious for engaging his spectators in an unending debate about the issues that matter most, has chosen to work within the genre of cabaret. The entertainment form's assumptions include directly addressing the audience, permitting the convention of the fourth wall that separates performers from spectators to be broken through. Cabaret is by definition a space of freedom, governed by the misrule of a never-ending carnival.

With Warsaw Cabaret, the Nowy Teatr team confronts diverse scenarios of oppression. The play portrays a group of artists who exist for the sake of art - but art proves fatal for its acolytes, infusing them with doubt and making life impossible. In creating a therapeutic space where fears and taboos reside, Warlikowski shows threats and oppression that inevitably accrue to such enclaves.

The play is directed by Warlikowski, and was adapted for the stage by him with dramaturge Piotr Gruszczyński and Szczepan Orłowski. Małgorzata Szczęśniak created the set design, and Paweł Mykietyn composed the music score. The production's light design is by Felice Ross, with choreographery by Claude Bardouil.

Stanisława Celińska
Magdalena Cielecka
Ewa Dałkowska
Małgorzata Hajewska-Krzysztofik
Maja Ostaszewska
Magdalena Popławska
Claude Bardouil
Andrzej Chyra
Wojciech Kalarus
Redbad Klijnstra
Zygmunt Malanowicz
Piotr Polak
Jacek Poniedziałek
Maciej Stuhr
Philippe Tłokiński

The production is co-financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland. It is co-produced by Festival d’Avignon, Les Theatres de la Ville de Luxembourg, Theatre National de Chaillot from Paris, Theatre de la Place in Liege,
La Comedie de Clermont-Ferrand and Poland’s National Audiovisual Institute.

Warsaw Cabaret premieres on the 26th of May 2013 at 6 pm at Nowy Teatr in Warsaw. Subsequent performances are on the 28th, 29th, and 31st of May at 7 pm and on the 1st and 2nd of June at 6 pm. In July, it travels to the Festival d’Avignon.

The premiere of Warlikowski’s new play converges with the inauguration of the Nowy Targ initiative, a series of events including a fair, workshops and concerts. Throughout the summer season Nowy Teatr invites audiences to take part in a music festival directed by Paweł Mykietyn and an exhibition of stage design works by Małogorzata Szczęśniak. Piotr Gruszczyński of Nowy Teatr, who is a playwright and regular collaborator with Warlikowski, said in a talk with the PAP Polish press agency that the open-air café Sezonowa will be started up in May, hosting outdoor exhibitions and activities designed to animate social life in this area of Warsaw.

Nowy Teatr is located by Madalińskiego Street, in the former headquarters of the municipal cleaning service company MPO. The grounds include four buildings, among them a pre-war hall listed among Warsaw’s historic treasures. In the future they are to form part of the Nowy Teatr Cultural Centre, with the first stage of adaptations currently underway.

Paulina Schlosser, 16.04.2013

source: nowyteatr.org, PAP

Krzysztof Warlikowski’s Own Warsaw Cabaret - Image GalleryMore photos(9)

KABARET WARSZAWSKI (Warsaw Cabaret), the latest play by Krzysztof WARLIKOWSKI, is inspired by the book I Am a Camera by John van Druten and the film Shortbus by John Cameron Mitchell. Krzysztof Warlikowski takes hold of this material and creates a spectacle in which 1930s Berlin  marked by the rise of Nazism collides with contemporary New York, scarred by the events of 11 September. What are the limits of freedom? What are its constraints? Using the stage as an outlet and the theatrical action as an exercise in doubt, the Polish director transports us to a crazy cabaret whose pictorial universe bears all the hallmarks of his style and in which the Nowy Teatr actors shine.
Warlikowski is incontestably one of the most thought-provoking and fascinating directors of his generation. He has been regularly invited to Liège (Le Dibbouk – 2006;(A)pollonia – 2009; Fin – 2011; Les Contes africains – 2012)

>>> Practical information
>>> Casting     

Stage direction - Krzysztof Warlikowski
Stage adaptation - Krzysztof Warlikowski, Piotr Gruszczyński, Szczepan Orłowski
Scenery and costumes - Małgorzata Szczęśniak
Lighting - Felice Ross
Music - Paweł Mykietyn
Choreography - Claude Bardouil
Casting: Claude Bardouil, Stanisława Celińska, Andrzej Chyra, Magdalena Cielecka, Ewa Dałkowska, Bartosz Gelner, Małgorzata Hajewska-Krzysztofik, Wojciech Kalarus, Redbad Klijnstra, Zygmunt Malanowicz, Maja Ostaszewska, Piotr Polak, Jacek Poniedziałek, Magdalena Popławska, Maciej Stuhr
Musicians : Paweł Bomert, Piotr Maślanka, Paweł Stankiewicz, Fabian Włodarek

>>> Théâtre de Liège, salle de la Grande Main (Place du 20-Août 16, 4000 Liège) - MAP
>>> 13 > 15 March 2014 - 19:00
Length: 4h
>>> 30 | 25 (goups, 65+) | 15 (14-25, students, etc.) | 7 (-14)
Box office: +32 (0)4 342 00 00 | Tu-Sa (12:00 > 18:00) + Su when spectacles (12:00 > 16:00)

Krzysztof Warlikowski was born in 1962. After studying history, Romanian Philology and philosophy at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, he moved to Paris, where he continued his studies. In 1988, he returned to Poland to study  directing at the Krakow Higher State Theatre School. He worked with Krystian Lupa and collaborated with Peter BrookIngmar Bergman and Giorgio Strehler. His producing style owes much to plays by authors from a huge variety of registers, from Labiche to Koltès via Shakespeare, a writer whose work particularly inspired him (A Midsummer night’s Dream, A Winter’s TaleThe TempestHamlet, etc). In 2000, he put on his first opera, Giuseppe Verdi’s Don Carlos,   at Warsaw’s Teatr Wielki. Since then, he has created operas which have gone on to be performed on the greatest stages in Europe. His latest big success is The Woman Without a Shadow (Die Frau ohne Schatten), an opera in three acts by Richard Strauss based on a libretto by Hugo von Hofmannsthal, performed in November 2013 at the Munich Opera House. Critics and audiences were unanimous: this production will no doubt stay with all who have seen it. Loyal to his collaborators, he works most often with the composer Paweł Mykietyn and with Małgorzata Szczęśniak who was in charge of set design and who created the costumes for almost all of his productions, for theatre and opera alike. In 2008, he became artistic director of the Warsaw New Theatre (Nowy Teatr). 

 | Nowy Teatr (Warsaw)
Coproduction | Festival d’Avignon, Théâtre National de Chaillot / Paris, la Comédie de Clermont-Ferrand, Théâtre de Liège, Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg, NInA (Institut National Audiovisuel)
With the support of Ministerstwo Kultury i Dziedzictwa Narodowego, Instytut Adama Mickiewicza, Wallonie Bruxelles International


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