Crammed full of romantic passion, courting and costume changes, Twelfth Night makes its ceaseless return on stage. This is the fifth staging of this Shakespearean comedy in the history of the Juliusz Osterwa Theatre in Lublin. For some reason, every second (or third) decade a new generation of our actresses and actors braves the play. The Lublin premiere of 1 February 1921, featuring the critically acclaimed performance of Ludwik Solski, went down in history as a legendary event.

The comedy is set in a far-flung land known as Illyria, which is populated by characters who, at all costs, are looking – not infrequently clumsily – for tenderness and affection. Governed by the rules of the masquerade, such as concealing one’s identity and ubiquitous role-playing, Illyria is a reflection of our everyday existence. Once again, the stage serves as a mirror held up to reality.

When we follow the trials and tribulations of Viola and Sebastian – twins separated during shipwreck, the life of lovesick Duke Orsino or the fate of beautiful grief-stricken Olivia, we notice that typical Shakespearean cross-dressing antics reveal a number of disturbing questions and an in-depth reflection on our place in the world, in particular in the times of chaos, uncertainty and ceaseless showers of misfortune. Included in Twelfth Night, the reflection is on a par with the insight offered by Hamlet. Shakespeare wrote both plays at roughly the same time, at the turn of the century, towards the end of the Elizabethan “Golden Age.” Seen in this light, Twelfth Night seems a response to Hamlet, yet it remains in comparison more upbeat in tone. As such, it is an attempt to find a solution to a crisis, the symptoms of which are easily found in The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark.  

Shakespeare complements the title proper with or What You Will and lives up to our expectations. Delivering a comedy, he creates an alluring world that is infused with humour. And though the on-stage universe is falling apart at the seams, it offers a form of rescue – a hideout. Fantastic and hyperbolic, Illyria provides its residents (and Shakespeare alike) with a haven, with a shelter from what lurks outside.   


Łukasz Kos

Studied at the Department of Theatre Studies at the National Academy of Dramatic Art in Warsaw, graduate of the Department of Drama Directing at the National Academy of Theatre Arts in Kraków (199?). While still a student, he was an assistant to Maja Komorowska, Rudolf Zioła, and Andrzej Wajda.

In 1989-1992, he toured Poland with the private Kici Koci Theatre, ran by Z. Mich and W. Królikiewicz. In 1998, together with Marek Wrona, he co-directed The Forefathers’ Eve – Part III. The Cell of Konrad by A. Mickiewicz at the Ludowy Theatre in Nowa Huta. His next performance was Zazum (Dramatyczny Theatre, Warsaw) – a lyrical performance with texts by D. Rzontkowski, referring in style to Kabaret Starszych Panów, a pioneering and critically acclaimed satirical cabaret aired on Polish TV (1958-66).

In 2001-2003, he was associated with the Nowy Theatre in Łódź, where he directed: The Anaerobes by I. Villqist, A Man Who Confused his Wife with a Hat, a contemporary chamber opera by M. Nyman, The Water Hen by St. Witkiewicz and Go-Go, i.e. The Neurotic Personality of our of Times, which four years later was staged at the STU Theatre in Kraków. Other projects include: From Today We will be Good by P. Sala (Polski Theatre in Wrocław), Dreams by I. Vyrypayev (Rozmaitości Theatre in Warsaw), The Coronation by M. Modzelewski (National Theatre in Warsaw), The Queen’s Spew by D. Masłowska (Studio Studio of the Film Academy in Łódź), The Diary of One Who Disappeared by L. Janček, and Shakespeare’s Sonnets by P. Mykietyn (both at the Grand Theatre – National Opera in Warsaw).