The Trojan Women


Jan Klata

Jerzy Łanowski

Olga Śmiechowicz

Mirek Kaczmarek

Michał Nihil Kuźniak

Maćko Prusak

Hecuba - Dorota Kolak
Poseidon - Jacek Labijak
Athena - Sylwia Góra
Apparition of Polydorus - Piotr Biedroń
Akantha - Magdalena Boć
Apollonia - Sylwia Góra
Enyo - Karolina Kowalska
Sophia - Małgorzata Brajner
Talthybius - Cezary Rybiński
Cassandra - Agata Woźnicka
Polyxena - Magdalena Gorzelańczyk
Odysseus - Michał Kowalski
Astyanax - Antoni Łaciński
Andromache - Katarzyna Dałek
Neoptolemus - Michał Jaros
Menelaus - Grzegorz Gzyl
Helen - Katarzyna Borkowska
Agamemnon - Robert Ninkiewicz
Polymestor - Krzysztof Matuszewski
Theoclymenus - Jacek Labijak

8 September 2018

THE TROJAN WOMEN In 2004, Jan Klata staged Hamlet (under title H.) at the Wybrzeże Theatre, or rather in the Gdańsk shipyard – a production that has become a legend. He conceived it as a resonant political pamphlet, a harsh criticism of the new Polish elites that emerged after the 1989 democratic revolution. Some two decades later, Jan Klata returned to this theatre with a distinctive stage adaptation and interpretation of an Ancient Greek piece. In The Trojan Women, Euripides depicts the morning after the siege of Troy. The fall of the city brought doom to its inhabitants, but the agony is far from over, for the greatest suffering is yet to come. Nothing remains but a barren, sandy wasteland that will bear no fruit. Mirek Kaczmarek, an award-winning set designer, uses simple means (sand and ash) to convey the ubiquitous destruction. Seven women led by their queen Hecuba (Dorota Kolak) form a single body – albeit each burdened by their own despair and pain – representing the fate of women thrown from the regal heights to the very bottom of human existence. The director shows the humiliated, conquered and raped Trojan women as a metaphor for the current situation. However, he does not set the story in a specific time and space, as the ahistorical costumes suggest, but rather conveys a general truth that war has no winners.

In the unrelenting despair, in the conviction that man’s birth is already his undoing, Euripides in Jan Klata’s interpretation seems to be a bitter existentialist, someone like a Beckett of antiquity. (...) I watch Dorota Kolak and I shiver. It is no secret that she is a great actress. But now – with an intensity greater than only a little while ago – she shows that she can do anything, hitting every tone perfectly. As Hecube, she embodies not only the essence of Euripides’ tragedy, but also the suffering of every mother who, together with her children, loses her reason to exist. This is a shocking thing. However, the strength of Klata’s The Trojan Women comes as the combined effort of the whole ensemble of the Wybrzeże Theatre. (...) Klata constructs a sense of tragedy, and then shows that it was only a flash, because we are no longer capable of such thoughts and feelings. We are getting used to it. And that's what's most frightening about Gdańsk’s excellent The Trojan Women.

– JACEK WAKAR, Więź quarterly magazine

The Trojan Women is devoid of immediate contemporaneity, showing the timelessness of the war experience. Klata points out that the perpetrators in history are an anonymous, faceless group (they wear paper masks) – apocalyptic rapists turning the victims’ lives into a slaughter will not survive in the memory of posterity. However, in a staged production devoid of heroism, nothing is black and white.

– WIKTORIA FORMELLA, Nowa Siła Krytyczna

The universal truth that evil is not concentrated, belonging solely to one side of an argument, but circulates among everyone, Jan Klata plays out on a serious note. He doesn’t break the mood with grotesque elements or comedy gags (which he indulges in only at the end of the play), which makes the tragedy of the victims, the mental and physical abuse they endure, last for an excruciatingly long time. It is deeply moving theatre, however spectacular, difficult to watch but harrowing.

– MAGDA MIELKE, Teatr dla wszystkich

JAN KLATA (1973) He is a dramaturge, director and journalist. He spent two years studying directing at the Theatre Academy in Warsaw before moving, in the third year, to the Theatre Academy in Kraków (PWST), where he completed his studies under Krystian Lupa. After graduating, he tried his hand at various jobs, including copywriter, music publicist and director of a TV talk show. For his directorial debut, Klata chose Gogol’s play The Government Inspector (2003), which he set in 1970s’ Poland and staged at the theatre in Wałbrzych. It was there that Klata developed his unique approach: raising controversial social and political issues, putting dramatic texts into contemporary context – in short, disturbing, provoking and awakening the audience. His bold productions are built on original concepts and interpretations, mostly based on radical adaptations of classical texts, where he combines the high art with the contemporary situation in a manner similar to a sampler – mixing a collage of elements taken from different contexts, orders and areas. He loves to quote, alter and reuse existing works. All of Klata’s productions are socially and politically engaged, often sparking debate, controversy and scandal. Jan Klata was the managing director of the National Stary Theatre in Krakow. He had great success with productions he directed in Graz, Düsseldorf, Berlin, Bochum, Dresden, MCHAT (Moscow), and on several occasions for the Palmovka Theatre in Prague (Measure for Measure, Faust). His productions are a frequent guest at major European and international festivals: The Venice Biennale, the Paris Autumn Festival, festivals in Madrid, Dublin, Seoul, Buenos Aires, Minsk, Berlin, Beijing, etc. Klata won numerous awards for his original and progressive interpretations of Polish and world theatre classics. Several of his productions were presented at the Divadlo festival in the past (Oresteia, A Piece on Mother and Fatherland, Hamlet).

WYBRZEŻE THEATRE In recent years the theatre has become one of the leading Polish stages, with a track record of artistic achievements and popularity with critics and audiences. Every year, the theatre presents some five hundred performances, including about ten premieres, and regularly wins awards at Polish and international competitions.