stage director

Family drama enchanted in a flamenco dance, Marta Kaźmierska about Mamma Medea in Gazeta Wyborcza Poznań

„ Mamma Medea” directed by Monika Dobrowolańska in the Polish Theatre [Teatr Polski] in Poznań. Review by Marta Kaźmierska, Gazeta Wyborcza, Poznañ

„In times when some Polish people practise knee hyperextension, the director Monika Dobrowlańska sets her characters in an ancient tragedy in flamenco aesthetics. Then, it becomes obvious, that dance does not have to be an empty figure.

At the Saturday premiere of “Mamma Medea” in the Polish Theatre, a real chemistry appeared between the audience and the actors. The magic chemistry was also visible between the characters starring in the play about the best known female infanticide in the history of literature. „Electrical discharges” noticeable in the relationships between Medea-Jason, Medea-Creusa or Jason-Argonauts (Filip Bobek and Łukasz Pawłowski, a well-matched duet, play Idas and Telamon) are not the only advantages of this performance. Brisk, consequently-developed plot, an economical use of a stage design detail, gripping music and an intriguing stage design which offers the audience lots of space for their imagination make this nearly two hour spectacle be too short.

There are definitely several ways how to watch this performance, I myself tested two of them. You can listen to Tom Lanoy’s text which, in the actors’ speeches, occasionally sounds as if a tragic choir’s commentary. In her spectacle Monika Dobrowlańska consciously departs from Euripides’original drama, however it is impossible to give up ancient heritage completely. Character’s discourses and their bloody descriptions of what had happened behind the stage (it is the next reference to tradition according to which on the stage there was no place for literal presenting e.g. the death) let the artists avoid tautology. Instead of watching a meeting with a dragon which guards golden fleece, you can see dance design by Andreu Carandell Gottschewsky. – Before the prefix “fla-“ appeared, the work on the dance movement was “męką”* – joked one actor at a press conference before the spectacle [*a wordplay – the pronunciation of “-menco” sounds in Polish like “męka” which means “torture”] No signs of this laborious effort are visible on the stage. What you can see is purely sensual pleasure: in Dobrowlańska’s performance the dance becomes a method to express feelings. And this is the second way of perception which I strongly recommend.

On this Saturday evening I was convinced by the title character – an enchantress played by Barbara Prokopowicz. Still, I trusted her tragic Medea more than the comic one. On the face of the first Medea you can observe authentic suffering, the terror of taken decisions. The second one – comic Medea being blindly in love –makes ironic remarks about herself unnecessarily, as if she knew her future fate. On the stage this attitude makes an impression of being in a hurry, and occasionally, of an artistic nonchalance and negligence. But still, in the second part of the spectacle the actress gives evidence how breathtaking her acting can be.

“Mamma Medea”, directed by Monika Dobrowlańska, The Polish Theatre – Malarnia stage [Teatr Polski - Malarnia] Premiere – 13 October The next spectacles tomorrow at 6 p.m., on Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m.

“Family Drama Enchanted in a Flamenco Dance”
Marta Kaźmierska
Gazeta Wyborcza – Poznań No.: 241
15-10-2007

Translation: Irena Grzegorczyk

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