"Chernobyl Prayer. Chronicles of the Past" by Svetlana AlexievichDirected and adopted by:
Krzysztof PopiołekScenography by:
Anna WołoszczukCostumes by:
Bibianna Chimiak, Karolina Sabat, Dariusz Mikuła, Piotr StarzyńskiPremiere:
3–4 June 2017
The stage choral tale explores the condition of the world and the psyche of a human being after the explosion, a human being crushed by the burden of the difficult past, functioning in a cloud of images and sentences, attached willy-nilly on the way and brought here and now.
Protagonists of Alexievich’s tales are lost in time. Cracked and inaccurately assembled, they constantly compare themselves-now and themselves-in-the-past, yet they are able to see the things around them penetratingly. The problem is that their view is Orpheus-like: he looked back, whereas they look into their own skulls, into themselves. Their eyes meet the ruthless gaze of Medusa – the lost time which threatens to return. They fear that the past has gone and it is already beyond recovery. Their bodies cooled a long time ago, their heads are still drying after the dance of the last day of the summer – in the world before the explosion. Once a head used to sweat out, nowadays it sweats in. Moreover, there is a fear that the past may once again become the future. These people have become carriers of trauma, sensitive to any impending catastrophe. They are prophets of new threats.
Population Density was produced as part of the scholarship granted by the Marshal of the West Pomeranian Voivodship.
Population Density was short-listed for The Best OFF – Independent Theatre Competition.
Graduate of the National Academy of Theatre Arts in Kraków; holds also a master’s degree in law. Collaborated with numerous theatres in Poland and abroad (Kraków, Warsaw, Szczecin, Olsztyn, Wrocław, Gdańsk, Latvia).
Worked as an assistant to Krystian Lupa, Michał Zada, Barbara Wysocka, and Brian Michaels. In 2011, he was an intern at British theatres (Bournemouth, London) as well as participated in the organization of the City of London Festival, assisting the conductor Kelly Lovelady and the Australian Symphony Orchestra. Lecturer at the National Academy of Theatre Arts in Kraków (2014-2016). His most recent theatre productions include: Population Density: The Story of an Explosion (Kana Theatre, Szczecin), Ginczanka. Let’s Go Away From Here (Jewish Theatre, Warsaw), and Missing (Polski Theatre, Bielsko-Biała)
The Russian Woodpecker – documentary film
The performance directed and adapted for stage by Krzysztof Popiołek alludes – in synch with the character of the venue it is staged in – to the fine tradition of alternative theatre in which pressing social and political matters are turned into a living, open adaptation with a collective protagonist and a topical message. Such is also Population Density – an intensive, movement-driven, emotive and formally disciplined performance in which voices of individuals come together to create a choir of sorts. A choir of victims but also of witnesses of the Chernobyl disaster – one could possibly say: the successors of this unprecedented tragedy.
Artur Daniel Liskowacki, Kurier Szczeciński
Their headlong, desperate dance makes quite a shocking impression – perhaps it is so because a stream of words – wise, proper, horrific – that flood us daily also insulate us simultaneously against the message that they themselves impart? The Kana ensemble depict desperation and embody despair, which may be the reason for their direct connection with the audience.
Joanna Ostrowska, teatralny.pl