(A)pollonia | Krzysztof Warlikowski | English subtitles
Krzysztof Warlikowski's (A)pollonia is based on classical and contemporary texts, primarily excerpts from Euripides' Alcestis, the Oresteia by Aeschylus, and Hanna Krall's Pola. The erudite script also includes fragments of Jonathan Littell's Les Bienveillantes, J.M Coetzee's Elizabeth Costello, Rabidranath Tagore's drama The Post Office, and more.
By bringing together these texts, Warlikowski seeks to shed light on the ambiguous and sombre history of sacrifice, and self-sacrifice – giving up one's life for another – in particular. Stories of mythological characters ruled by Fate are complemented and reflected in twentieth-century experience with its helplessness in the face of the Holocaust. In the act of sacrifice the executioner becomes no less important than the victim.
Warlikowski studies various aspects of sacrifice, setting the enforced sacrifice of Iphigenia against Alcestis' voluntary offering up of her life to save her husband. But he raises doubts as to the "sanctity" of voluntary sacrifice. For all the grand theories of killing that executioners construct when trying to justify their actions, their talk about "following orders," their invoking of historical necessity, we still find it difficult to forgive them. The issue of guilt and forgiveness in Warlikowski's new production is complemented by an unexpected theme: that of vengeance. And that accounts for the presence of Clytemnestra and Orestes, as well as of Agamemnon, who speaks in phrases taken from Littell.
A great achievement of Krzysztof Warlikowski's adaptation is its blending of idioms taken from diverse linguistic and historical contexts, and the various discourses it employs. In order to avoid trite value judgements and statements, Warlikowski boldly juxtaposes the genocide of the Jews with the so-called holocaust of animals discussed with dispassionate rhetorical skill in one of the lectures by Coetzee's eponymous protagonist Elizabeth Costello. It is a provocative, even outrageous move, but one all the more worthy of reflection, for are not executioners' accounts of the murderous toil that killing requires outrageous? The lines from Tagore's The Post Office invoked early on in the performance assume a special significance among these disparate narratives: the play was staged in the Warsaw Ghetto by Janusz Korczak and the children in his care just before they were sent to the death camp in Treblinka. Such an opening, fraught with emotion, sets the tone for the entire production.
The Polish premiere of (A)pollonia took place on May 16, 2009 in Warsaw.
Direction: Krzysztof WARLIKOWSKI
Adaptation: Krzysztof WARLIKOWSKI, Piotr GRUSZCZYŃSKI, Jacek PONIEDZIAŁEK
Set design and costumes: Małgorzata SZCZĘŚNIAK
Music: Paweł MYKIETYN, Renate JETT, Piotr MAŚLANKA, Paweł STANKIEWICZ
Lighting design: Felice ROSS
Dramaturgy: Piotr GRUSZCZYŃSKI
Songs / lyrics and vocal: Renate JETT
Cast: Andrzej CHYRA, Magdalena CIELECKA, Ewa DAŁKOWSKA, Małgorzata HAJEWSKA-KRZYSZTOFIK, Wojciech KALARUS, Marek KALITA, Zygmunt MALANOWICZ, Adam NAWOJCZYK, Monika NIEMCZYK, Maja OSTASZEWSKA, Jacek PONIEDZIAŁEK, Magdalena POPŁAWSKA, Anna RADWAN-GANCARCZYK, Maciej STUHR, Tomasz TYNDYK
Musicians: Paweł BOMERT, Piotr MAŚLANKA, Paweł STANKIEWICZ, Fabian WŁODAREK
Video: Paweł ŁOZIŃSKI, Kacper LISOWSKI, Rafał LISTOPAD
Assistant director / video projections: Katarzyna ŁUSZCZYK
Technical director: Paweł KAMIONKA
Set construction: Marcin CHLANDA
Stage manager and camera: Łukasz JÓŹKÓW
Sound: Łukasz FALIŃSKI
Light: Dariusz ADAMSKI
Make up and hair: Monika KALETA
Accessories: Tomasz LASKOWSKI
Stage: Kacper MASZKIEWICZ, Maciej ŻURCZAK
Costumes: Elżbieta FORNALSKA, Ewa SOKOŁOWSKA