stage director

Thieves

The carousel of colours, Antonina Chomicz in ksiazeizebrak.pl

The carousel of colours – it was my first thought after the curtain had been raised. Still, two features make it different from a merry carousel in the funfair. Instead of ponies we can see rotating sections with appearing and vanishing actors (just like children jumping onto ponies.)
The driving power of the whole machine was also incredible and truly symbolic: the machine stopped when a pot-bellied character pressed a proper button and merry, smiling parents clapped their hands, it started rotating when two wolf-like characters appeared from the wings to set it in motion. These two characters, seemingly unimportant, decided when the action of “The Thieves” should move forward and when it should stop making the characters and the audience reflect in a given moment of being lost and feeling fear.

„The Thieves”, a work by a German playwright has only appeared on the stage of The Polish Theatre in Poznań. I watched it one day after its premier – it was the second official performance. The actors did not manage to get bored with it, to enter a schematic game, to develop habits, routine scenic movements or interpretations. The spectacle was simply bursting with fresh energy and creativity. (…)

During the spectacle we „meet” a lot of people, for example, a young and beautiful Linda searching for love and visiting her disabled father in a home for the elderly. There is also a typical couple who constantly desires a change, still the spouses have got stuck in the same point. For a change, the second couple avoids any sensational news and dreams about safe living in a routine and scheme. Apart from them on stage appear the key female characters: a girl looking for her father and a woman dreaming about the man who tried to kill her. Female naivety and credulity is a topic which constantly appears in the spectacle. We can see how women destroy themselves with their blind faith, we can see women suffering from low self-esteem unless men estimate their value.

Monika Dobrowlańska, the director of “The Thieves” presented this phenomenon in a brilliant way. Watching this phenomenon from many points of view, even from a funny perspective the director makes us aware of the fact how much women can scarify if they aim at self-fulfillment. Women who seem to fight for their rights, in reality surrender to men in a thoughtless, silly manner.

The spectacle brings new values – it is fresh, it surprises the audience with new stage design solutions and it brutally reveals human weaknesses and a hidden feeling of being lost. Listening to careless “Da da da” by a musical band Formacja Niezywych Schabuf or “Stand by me” by Ben E. King the audience is put to test: “will you accept this tragedy” or “will you reject it with laughter and place it back onto the stage”. The confrontation is very difficult, occasionally overwhelming, still a spectator has a choice. it does not force anybody to make reflections, it says: „do you want it?” “if you do, think it over” Innovation, atmosphere, actors play, emotions, hidden agenda – these things make you feel like jumping into this carousel. But watch out – you cannot forget one thing: once you jump into a carousel surrounded by wolves, it will not be possible to get out of it so easily.

Antonina Chomicz, ksiazeizebrak.pl, 5 January 2011


Who Steals? Patrycja Kowalczyk in Teatralia Poznan

Me and you. We both steal. You keep stealing and perhaps you do not really realize it. You rob me and I rob you. Besides, I rob myself and nobody could ever rob me the way I do it myself. It is because I know myself best and I know what hurts most.
The spectacle by Monika Dobrowlańska can be placed in such a metaphoric box decorated with a ribbon and an inscription: “Who steals?” In „Thieves” written by Dea Loher the characters both steal and are robbed. The drama consists of several seemingly different stories in which people deprive themselves of hope, truth and even faith. A young girl does her best to discover her identity by searching for her father so far unknown. Any person who has started a journey to find the truth, ends up deeply disappointed. An old man waits for his only son who will never come back. A mature woman for more than forty years has not been able to accept the fact of being left by her husband. A middle aged couple struggles desperately to have a better life. And a few more stories in which people search for something, look for something, deprive the others of something and themselves are deprived …
Some characters bear the same surname – Tomason. The idea of Tomason was created by the Japanese artist Genpei Akasegawa. „Tomason is a thing of an unknown destination. An object designated by letter N, of an unknown meaning. (…) Somebody invented it since he needed it for some definite purpose. But it has got lost – this purpose” – says Dea Loher. The stories are told alternately, they occur cyclically so the spectacle is maintained in a film aesthetics. The spectacle is directed by Monika Dobrowlańska in a stage design cooperation with Petra Korink. The artists have already worked on the moving “Mykwa” a spectacle performed in The Polish Theatre. It is once again that they have made a very good performance. Just like in „Mykwa”, the stage design in “Thieves” is great and interesting. The stories take place on a rotating stage, which is turned around for the following episodes by a man wearing a wolf mask. A wolf, the symbol of wild and murky forces, can be a metaphor of evil which is never dormant, what is more it lurks from behind any corner. The music played by Przemysław Witek definitely deserves the audience’s attention. The musician was in the very middle of the rotating stage and he simply excellent played the piano.

Patrycja Kowalczyk
Teatralia Poznañ
5 January 2011