Punk rock – Ibsen – Klata – The Helena Modrzejewska Stary Teatr – Krakov
An Enemy of the People, 13. 6. 2017, 19.00 hrs, SND New Building, Drama Stage
The Polish director Ján Klata is currently the best known, yet also the most controversial Polish director and playwright. His theatre interpretations are revolutionary, unorthodox and contemporary that call for an open mind. As director, Mr Klata doesn’t fear criticism or protests. His method of grasping classical works and placing them in the present era isn’t merely derived from a need to shock, but also to give witness to the times we live. He doesn’t shy away from implicit portrayals. His works as director have caused more than one outrage. His depiction of nudity and sexuality on stage has even led to criminal proceedings lasted for a few months. The heated debate between traditionalists and supporters of modern – or contemporary theatre leaves a clear message: What should be the face of a national theatre?
Stary Teatr: Orestea
The Polish culture theorist Marcin Wieczorek spoke unambiguously about the work of Jana Klata: “Contemporary society has forgotten that the first and foremost mission of theatre is to stir emotions.” Theatre theorist Monika Malkowska was equally clear about Mr Klata: “Scandal is the major theatre publicity – it has always been and shall be forever.”
Within the Eurokontext.sk festival, The Helena Modrzejewska Stary Teatr will present one of the classical works, An Enemy of the People by the Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. At the time his plays emerged, they addressed contemporary themes and proved shocking. Though Ibsen wrote An Enemy of the People in 1882, the instruments he describes, remain unchanged until this day. To expose a report about water contamination in a spa may affect the influx of tourists, even deter them from coming and make the town face the threat of unemployment wave. Remedies proposed by Dr. Stockmann would take years to take effect and require massive funds. Thus, the town, concerned about its future, prefers to side with the mayor and money instead of health and truth. That who desires the truth, becomes an enemy of the people. Ibsen’s piece that emerged a century ago, has suddenly acquired much greater currency: the quest for sensationalism, for the truth in the name of public good, the closely knit relationship between government and media, the catastrophic state of environment. We live the times of battles for the truth. Only the characters have changed. In the end, Dr. Stockmann and his family become uprooted fugitives, defenceless and forlorn. A symbolic flood covers the world that is in the turmoil of pandemonium, hatred, deceit and demagogy. As Major Stockmann says in the production, people feel best with the good old familiar ideas. And no change is being expected.
Ibsen’s social drama, as directed by Jan Klata, is presented as a punk concert, as a duel between word and music. Word and music have equal telling value. Décor is not intended.
An Enemy of the People – it is anguish, excitement, as well as passion about acting. Mr Klata doesn’t offer quick solutions, accusations or diagnosis. He presents a state in which all – without exception – are trapped. A state from which there is no escape. We must rebel; that is our own alternative, regardless the cost and consequences. The world might not be a pretty place, but it is still worth fighting for. (Teatralny.pl, Newsweek)
Jan Klata is among the global élite of directors. He has so far made over thirty productions. Apart from his native Poland, he made productions in Düsseldorf, Bochum and Berlin. He studied directing at the National Academy of Dramatic Art in Warsaw, to continue his studies at the Academy for the Dramatic Arts in Krakow. As assistant he worked with the director Jerzy Grzegorzewski on La Bohème in the Warsaw Theatre Studio in 1995. Can we therefore consider his visit to Slovakia to be no exception? What will be his attitude to Slovakia? He doesn’t stir clear from classical themes and texts that have retained currency, be them Hamlet, King Lear, the ancient Oresteia, Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People or dramatisations such as the Trilogy by Henryk Sienkiewicz or Gogol’s The Inspector General.
More on the work by Jan Klata is at:
An Enemy of the People, directed by Jan Klata and presented by the Stary Teatr is coming to Bratislava within the international festival Eurokontext.sk 2017 on 13 June at 19.00 hrs in the Drama Hall of the SND New Building. Tickets are available in SND Box Offices or online at www.eurokontext.sk. Reservations can also be made by telephone on (421) 2 204 72 289.