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Komuna Warszawa. Remixes

Remix is an important gesture of contemporary culture; reaching for the works of other artists to build your own story on their foundations is a way of working with memory, with the process of forgetting, of turning memories into myths, and last but not least – of repressing facts from memory. It is also a question about the relationship between the history of theatre and dance to contemporary artistic practice.

Komuna Warszawa created their series “Remix” in order to invite directors and choreographers to work on the art of their masters: artists that they had been influenced by, that they had worked with, or that they loved or hated. Amongst the “remixed” figures from the world of theatre there are also those, of whom we know very little – that is when the remix becomes a process of recreating one’s own memory and knowledge.

The series has resulted in one of the most interesting repertoire proposals in Warsaw over the last few seasons. Almost two dozen small performances were created commenting on the most important artists of dance and theatre. We chose the most interesting ones to show them in Lublin. The performances will be presented first at the Confrontations Festival followed by a presentation at the International Dance Festival.


Weronika Szczawińska
Lidia Zamkow
2 or 3 Things I Know About Her

premiere 8/9 September 2012, komuna//warszawa, Warszawa, ul. Lubelska 30/32

Weronika Szczawińska – director

Agnieszka Jakimiak – playwright

Agata Adamiecka-Sitek, PhD – lecturer, expert

Natasza Aleksandrowitch, Piotr Wawer jr – actors

One of the most important changes that the Polish theatre has undergone in the last couple of years is the appearance of a substantial number of female directors. This phenomenon, broadly commented upon and considered unique, is, nonetheless, perceived peripheral in the world of our theatre tradition and remembrance. “Directresses” are seen as an effect of the enigmatic times following the political transformation. Cut off from the history of the national theatre, they are exploring and annexing the territories still associated with the emancipation discourse and the fields of exclusion rather than the so-called mainstream, an idiom that is in fact defined by the names of great masters and associated with the hierarchy of power. The appearance of new “directresses” on the stages was preceded by the activity of a few female artists who managed to make it through to the official circulation. In the years before the nineties, there is such a lack of concrete information on important women directors that it is a kind of historical oblivion. It is not too surprising in theatre culture, considering the fact that one of the most important avant-garde manifestoes declares the artist to be “someone’s son”. Nevertheless, they had existed. They had directed, had run theatres and taught, had taken part in the public debate. Their traces are buried within theatre archives and old periodicals. Driven away from the official history of Polish theatre, they occasionally appear in indexes, brackets, on the margin, in the cited works or a caption. It seems that, following the example of the female art historians, a question should be posed: Did the “old female masters” exist? From the information chaos emerges one especially intriguing name: The name of Lidia Zamkow.

Lidia Zamkow (1918-1982), directress and actress, still present in the legends and memories of certain artistic circles (“a rebel” and “a troublemaker”) and in the anecdotes mentioning her quite exotic looks, but absent from serious reflection and discussion. She is the protagonist of numerous quips (“if she shows her claws – blood will be shed and people will be mowed down”) and trifles (second husband, a renowned writer, rhymed: “I really wanted to write about you / my dearest / but in order to write about you / one ought to be fearless”). Rumour has it that she “delighted with her spectacular theatre victories, shocked with the size of her defeats”. Her performances were probably “controversial”. It is said she had the nerve to rewrite the classics, paying no attention the criticism she could face. Probably her theatre had nothing to do with the popular vision of the so-called feminine art. So it is said. Probably. Perhaps.

The project of the remix, based on the search for traces of the works by Lidia Zamkow, is an artistic-research quest into the forgotten decades of the Polish theatres. It is also an attempt to explore the pure need to have an artistic “heroine”. We are setting off on this quest fully aware that we might not find what we want. The past was neither good nor bad. The past is simply a different country. We would like to visit it to check if anything exists there – or if there is nothing. We hope to assemble a portrait (or maybe portraits) out of the two or three things we are able to discover.
Weronika Szczawińska
Directress, playwright, dramatist, culture researcher, translator. She graduated from Interdisciplinary Individual Studies in the Humanities at the University of Warsaw. She studied directing at the Aleksander Zelwerowicz Theatre Academy. She is working on her PhD thesis at the Art Institute of the Polish Academy of Sciences. Her most recent performances are: “White Wedding” based on a play by Tadeusz Różewicz; “My First Vision” based on a short story by Sławomir Mrożek, “How to Be Loved” written by Agnieszka Jakimiak, “Kamasutra. The Study of Pleasure” co-writen with Bartosz Frąckowiak. Co-author and dramatist of the following projects: “In Desert and Wilderness. After Henryk Sienkiewicz and Others” and “Komornicka. The Ostensible Biography”. In the season 2005-2006 the actress of the Warsaw physical theatre Studium Teatralne. The author of a series of lectures “Scena powidoków. Pamięć w teatrze” (Teatre Institute in Warsaw, 2009). She has collaborated with several cultural and art magazines including “Dialog”, “Didaskalia”, “Teatr”, “Res Publica Nowa”, “Ha!art”, and “Dramatika”.

Agnieszka Jakimiak
Dramatist and essayist. Studied Interdisciplinary Individual Studies in the Humanities at the University of Warsaw and Dramaturgy at the Faculty of Directing of the Theatre Academy in Krakow as a theatre and film critic. She has cooperated with such directors as: Radosław Rychcik (“Phantom Pain”), Katarzyna Szyngiera (performances: “War Is Satan”, “The Bus is Going”), Weronika Szczawińska (“How to Be Loved”). In November 2011 she directed performed reading of “Voices in the Night” by Stanisław Brzozowski at the Theatre Institute, which was presented in Warsaw and Krakow. She published in the following magazines: “Dwutygodnik”, “Didaskalia”, “Kino”, “Res Publika Nowa”, and “Ha!art”.

Lidia Zamkow
Directress, actress, and dramatist.  Before the war she studied medicine. She started performing onstage in 1944. In 1946, she passed an extramural exam for actors at the Polish Stage Artists Association and two years later she graduated from Directing at the Theatre Academy in Warsaw. In 1949 she started working for the Juliusz Słowacki Theatre in Krakow, where she was both an actress and a directress. From 1953-54, she ran the Wybrzeże Theatre in Gdansk and in 1954-57 she performed and directed at the Polish Army Theatre (currently the Dramatic Theatre) in Warsaw. After that she cooperated with the Stary Theatre in Krakow for a few years and directed at the Studio Theatre in Warsaw. In 1950-1953 she was a lecturer at the Theatre Academy in Krakow.

Natasza Aleksandrowitch
Theatre and TV actress (Born in 1984). She studied acting, pedagogy and philosophy. After graduating she started collaborating with the Theatre in Rostov-on-Don (Russia). She made her debut there as Rosaura in the performance “Life is a Dream” by Pedro Calderon de la Barca. She has performed the works of Alain Resnais, Marguerite Duras, and Weronika Szczawińska, among others. She is an avid collector of pots.

Piotr Wawer jr
Theatre and film actor (Born in 1983). He collaborates with the Jerzy Szaniawski Theatre in Wałbrzych, Łaźnia Nowa Theatre in Krakow and Teatr Studio in Warsaw. A graduate of the Actors Studies conducted at the Stefan Jaracz Theatre in Olsztyn. Winner of the Jan Świderski Award and the award for actors at the 8th “Rzeczywistość przedstawiona” (Portrayed Reality) Festival for his role of the Heavy in the performance “Once upon a Time there were Pole, Pole, Pole and a Devil” (dir. Monika Strzępka). Played the main role in the film “Made in Poland” by Przemysław Wojcieszek. Took part in Television Theatre productions, and as a child he performed in the film “Two Moons” by Andrzej Barański. A freedriver, holder of the Polish record in of the disciplines of this sport.


Zamkow - Bartek Warzecha (2)

fot. Bartek Warzecha


Wojtek Ziemilski:
Poor Theatre: Remix

premiere 24.04

A couple of years ago the famous New York theater company The Wooster Group prepared “The Poor Theatre” a peculiar review of one of the most recognised performances by Jerzy Grotowski and the Laboratory Theatre – “Acropolis”. Wojtek Ziemilski goes a couple of steps further. He repeats “The Poor Theatre” or, to be more precise, he plays with the concepts of the repetition and the original. In the piece, three children and three adults persistently repeat a short fragment of “Acropolis” by Stanisław Wyspiański. Directed by the adults, the children gradually enter their culturally defined roles. Is repetition the only way of assimilating culture? “Poor Theatre: Remix” is the first performance by Wojtek Ziemilski after his broadly commented upon premiere of “Small Narration” at the Studio Theatre in Warsaw.


ziemilski - poor theatre -archiwum komuny warszawa

komuna // warszawa archives


Mikołaj Mikołajczyk RE//MIX Projekt:Tomaszewski

choreography, performance: Mikołaj Mikołajczyk
dramatic cooperation: Małgorzata Dziewulska
music: Zbigniew Kozub
video installation: Mirek Kaczmarek
production: komuna// warszawa, RE//MIX 2012 series
cooperation: Instytut Muzyki i Tańca

“Project: Tomaszewski” is actually a treatise on freedom. When I began working on the performance I knew I had to face my artistic Creator and Father. I knew I had to commit a kind of murder on the One whom I love most, and to whom I owe the most. It was my kind of a call for my freedom in making myself, cutting the umbilical cord. With this performance I told my story, as an already grown-up child which leaves his home. I left… “And now we gotta take some time get to know each other our whole lives. And I call on you to remind nothing’s really mine except for freedom, freedom en meu coracao. I’d like to live that way I’d wanna stay stay that way”(Devendra Banhart).

In my performance I turned to my first steps onstage which were unconsciously directed by the Master. In 1989 I became part of the Wroclaw Mime Theatre by accident. It was pure luck and I had to revisit all of my plans for life. Tomaszewski treated me with care and made me who I am now. Despite the fact that I left his theatre after just one season, I stayed in touch for many following years, often paying him a visit iat his home in Karpacz. I listened and I talked. I was not His artist, but I felt like I was. He gave me this possibility, I was able to spend time with the Master, to absorb and admire him. I was born as an artist at the Mekka Sztuki on Dębowa Street in Wrocław and in Karpacz, a magical, incredible and unforgettable place.

Tomaszewski said:

“We are facing a void, nothing(ness)… And our only aim is the constant quest. A man can believe in his ideas and hope to fulfil them as long as he keeps creating; as long as he remains an artist. If we deny every idea the right to develop, we will never find hope. Because despite all defeats and disasters, a man gains experience, knowledge, first of all knowledge about himself, he creates his own Holy Graal… he simply lives, lives with some ideas. And I think that creation and bringing ideas into life, even ideas that are so honourable that they become utopian, is the only way to remain hopeful…”

// Mikołaj Mikołajczyk – dancer, choreographer, director. He graduated from the State Ballet School in Poznan, studied Sociology and History of Art at the Adam Mickiewicz University, worked at numerous Polish and foreign theatres, the Henryk Tomaszewski Wroclaw Mime Theatre among others. He collaborated with many artists creating ballet as well as dramatic performances. He is the author of the monodrama entitled “Triptych” (…), a series of three full performances – Waiting, I Want to See the World with You, Palisir’Damour. He often works as a choreographer at dramatic theatres and opera houses, where he collaborates with top Polish directors. www.mikołaj-mikołajczyk.pl

// Henryk Tomaszewski (1919-2001) – dancer, mime artist, choreographer, director, teacher, founder and director of the Wroclaw Mime Theatre. He graduated from the Iwo Gall Dramatic Studio. He collaborated with Polish Academic Theatre and the Wroclaw Opera. He directed for theatres in Sweden, Norway, West Germany and at the Italian La Scala. For Henryk Tomaszewski movement was the affirmation of life, extension of our existence, which can generalise it and sum it up at the same time. Perceiving contemporary art as an example of devaluation of the word, a crisis of the representative function of the language which give way to its phatic and symbolic functions, he sees movement as the possibility to omit the sensitivity of the world and a chance to convey what “(…) the word fears to represent.” Henryk Tomaszewski’s pantomime is a significant modification of traditional pantomime. He introduced teamwork, symbolic and abstract usage of the world, distancing oneself from the mimesis in favour of conveying the states and inner processes of the characters.


Curator: Magda Grudzińska

Idea of the series: Tomasz Plata

Remix is a term borrowed from music: it means a piece created as a result of processing of another song. It is not simply an “interpretation”, presenting the original with new means of expression or in new arrangement. While it may contain fragments from the original (called samples), they are only quotations. The remix is a new piece, which refers to the content or form of the original. Makers of remixes argue with their masters, recall them nostalgically or re-read.

The RE//MIX series has been started in 2010; it consists of première productions which refer to classic pieces, mainly from the field of theatre and dance, but also from literature and film. The originals, some of them already slightly forgotten, have once changed the consciousness of people who today are involved in “strange” theater – an interdisciplinary, seeking one, which sits at the border between the visual theatre, performance art, fine arts and social activities. They form a kind of cultural canon, determine taste and style; they are a self-definition of owns sources and inspirations – points of reference.




Tomaszewski - archiwum komuny warszawa (1)

komuna // warszawa archives


Monika Strzępka & Paweł Demirski
Dario Fo has Sent His Instructions

Premiere: 16 December 2012

Concept: Strzępka & Demirski
Performed by: Agnieszka Kwietniewska, Andrzej Kłak, Paweł Demirski (as Dario Fo)
Music: Jan Suświłło
Cooperation: Iwona Kaszkowiak
Partner: Polski Theatre in Wrocław


I spoke to Dario Fo on the phone, he’s an Italian comedian

he does stand-up

and plays in which they kick fabricants‘ asses

who won the Nobel Prize

but we don’t like him here

to them, the after-war intelligentsia who have different opinions

I asked what I should write my next play about

and he said

– my dear

47 court cases

how do you like that?

47 libel actions

what do you say to that?

47 cases

and they’ve raped my wife

so to go back to your questions – if I haven‘t answered it yet

why write another play?  You can take one of mine

they’re good

but the crisis isn’t good and the people of Italy don’t go to the theatre

which kicks fabricants

because they can come out to the street and kick them with stones thrown onto police helmets

and they don’t have to pay for that because they’ve already paid by letting others take their bids and bobs

but mister Fo I must write something new I have a mortgage to pay off

maybe you could ask your Nobel Prize winners

if you don’t believe in my idea for 47 libel actions

our Nobel Prize winners have an opinion of you it’s just not a good one

then I asked him if he would come to the premiere

he said gladly he’d never been to Poland before

maybe because your work has had some bad translations over here

do you mean translations of the plays?

yes and as a matter of fact not that many people have seen your performances but you can see mine will you come to a premiere in a small miners’ town? this can be really something!

not too many people

show a play at a stadium one day

not for ninety people of the independent-studio-laboratory theatre people

will you?

that’s about it

I’m sitting here wanting to slander someone

but it’s been done so many times before so how can I make anyone go to court with me

I’m trying so hard

not to mention it at the stadium

we shall see

Monika Strzępka  – director, studied at the National Academy of Dramatic Arts in Warsaw. She made her debut with Polaroids by Mark Ravenhill on the Polish Stage of the Těšínské Divadlo in Český Těšín (2004). In 2006 she joined with Paweł Demirski to start a theatre partnership. She has directed his plays: Forefathers’ Eve. Exhumation at the Polski Theatre in Wrocław, Long Live the War!!! at the Jerzy Szaniawski Dramatic Theatre in Wałbrzych, Rainbow Stand 2012 at the Polski Theatre in Wrocław, In the Name of Jakub S. at the Gustaw Holoubek Dramatic Theatre in Warsaw, among others. Her recent project is Courtney Love at the Polski Theatre in Wrocław. In January 2011 they both received the “Passports Awards“, from the Polish weekly magazine Politika in the theatre category for “developing their project of critical theatre; for having the courage to speak up and say more harsh things than we would like to hear; for vivid theatricality which choses ‘good thinking‘ over ‘good taste‘. In February 2012 they received Wdecha, an award from the cultural magazine of the Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza, in the category Sensation of the Year – Strzępka and Demirski in Warsaw. Towards the end of 2011 the Notatnik Teatralny theatre magazine published an issue dedicated entirely to the Strzępka-Demirki duo.

Paweł Demirski – playwright and dramatist, studied journalism at the University of Wrocław. From 2003 to 2006 he was the head of the Wybrzeże Theatre in Gdańsk, where in 2004 he started a socio-artistic project called Szybki Teatr Miejski (Quick City Theatre), a series of performances based on archive material, recorded conversations and private journals, which were shown in unconventional places. He has written over a dozen plays: From Poland with Love, Forefathers’ Eve. Exhumation based on Adam Mickiewicz’s epic work, Long Live the War!!!, inspired by Janusz Przymanowski’s novel, Rainbow Stand 2012, In the Name of Jakub S., to name only a few. He protested against dismissing Maciej Nowak from the position of director of the Wybrzeże Theatre by refusing to accept the prize presented to him for Wałęsa on the International Day of Theatre by the Marshal of the Pomorskie Province. In the season 2007/2008 he was a resident playwright at TR Warszawa. In February 2011 Krytyka Polityczna Publishing House released a collection of his plays under the title Parafrazy.

Dario Fo (born 1926) – Italian comedian, playwright, theatre director and composer. In 1997 he won the Nobel Prise in literature. His most recognised performance, shown over 5000 times, is Mistero Buffo, a play based on monologues combining medieval stories with political issues. It was so popular with the audience that some of the shows were organised in sports arenas. Most of his works concerned political and social issues. Fo criticised the Church, especially for banning abortion, but also political murders, the mafia, corruption, and the conflict between the Jews and the Arabs. In his works he often turned to the art of improvisation inspired from the commedia dell’arte. Mistero Buffo was translated into over 30 languages. He openly criticises Silvio Berlusconi, which can be clearly seen in one of his most recent performances called Anomalo Bicefalo. In the play Berlusconi and Vladimir Putin are injured in a bomb explosion, after which during a surgery a part of Putin’s brain is mistakenly put into Berlusconi’s.


dario fo - archiwum komuny warszawa (1)

komuna // warszawa archives