Theatre of death - tadeusz kantor screening

The Annex

November 10 - 16, 2008
Monday - Sunday at 7:30pm

Tickets $10/$8 Student & Senior

All 7 Show Package $40

for more information on Tadeusz Kanor, his bio and work, see www.PolishCulture-NY.org



...an icon of experimentalist drama – Mel Gussow, New York Times

Kantor is to Polish art what Joseph Beuys was to German art, what Andy Warhol was to American art. – Jaroslaw Suchan, director of Museum of Art in Lodz

THE ART AND THEATER OF TADEUSZ KANTOR (1915-1991) is the first comprehensive presentation in the U.S. of the work and life of this world-famous “total artist” who is known here primarily as a theater director.

The series presents screenings of filmed records of Tadeusz Kantor’s performances from his Theatre of Death phase. These will be projected in the Annex theater at La MaMa – the same space where between 1979 and 1991 each of the works was first presented to an American audience by La MaMa founder and director Ellen Stewart. Kantor, as a rule, appeared in his performances, on stage along with the actors, and his work is almost inconceivable without his presence, which makes their revival unlikely. This series of screenings is thus a unique occasion to view original performances of Kantor’s work in an original space. It is likewise the Polish Cultural Institute homage to Stewart and her vision in bringing Kantor to America. All films will be shown in Polish with English subtitles and introduced by specialists on Kantor's work. Documents related to Kantor from the La MaMa archives will also be on view.


MONDAY, NOVEMBER 10, 2008, 7:30 PM
Tadeusz Kantor, Dead Class / Umarla klasa, 1975, film dir. Andrzej Wajda, TVP S.A. 1976, 72 min., in Polish with English subtitles
Introduced by Ellen Stewart, director of La MaMa E.T.C.



Acclaimed filmmaker Andrzej Wajda documents the "hair-raising spectacle" of Kantor's most famous work Dead Class, which won an Obie Award for its 1979 performance at La Mama. Here, in the crucible of Krakow's Krzysztofory Gallery, where the work premiered, Kantor incites and conducts the psychosis at the core of personal and collective memory – memory shaped in this case by the traumas of two World Wars, the Holocaust, and the eradication of the Jewish part of Polish culture – and he pushes his avant-garde poetic into its final phase, the "Theatre of Death." Dead Class was an immediate sensation. Named by critics a ‘total’ work of art, flocked to by audiences in over 150 cities around the world, it and Cricot 2 Theatre immediately entered the annals of the avant-garde. This production was presented twice at La Mama: in February 1979 and June 1991.

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 11, 2008, 7:30 PM

Tadeusz Kantor, Wielopole, Wielopole, 1980, film dir. Andrzej Sapija, WFO & PE – Educational Film Studio in Lodz 1984, 68 min., in Polish with English subtitles
Film introduced and discussion moderated by Daniel Gerould, Professor of Theatre and Comparative Literature, CUNY Graduate Center. Editor and translator of The Witkiewicz Reader.



Kantor continues his confrontation with memory, the past, base substance, and the limits of the imagination, summoning the spirits of his own childhood circa World War I in the Galician village of Wielopole. In this, his most evidently autobiographical work, Kantor attempts to release the secret of experience by generating collisions between the sacred and the everyday, between the real and its remembered doubles. Kantor presented this production at La Mama in May 1982.

Tadeusz Kantor, cricotage: Where Are the Snows of Yesteryear / Gdzie sa niegdysiejsze sniegi… / Où sont les neiges d’antan? 1979, film dir. Andrzej Sapija, WFO & PE – Educational Film Studio in Lodz, Ministry of Foreign Affairs 1984, 33 min., in Polish with English subtitles
This minimalist cricotage was created by the Cricot 2 Theatre between the productions Dead Class and Wielopole, Wielopole and premiered in 1979 in Rome. Departing from an enigmatic scene in S. I. Witkiewicz's Lovelies and Dowdies, the work shifts between performative modes and plays with notions of plot and action, body and object, and structures of interaction between humans and between humans and things. An excellent example of the cricotage form developed by Kantor, it was filmed during its presentation at the Stodola Student Club in Warsaw in 1984.

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 12, 2008, 7:30 PM
Tadeusz Kantor, Let the Artists Die / Niech szczezna artysci, 1985, film dir. Stanislaw Zajaczkowski, OTV – Krakow 1986, 77 min., in Polish with English subtitles
Film introduced and discussion moderated by Richard Schechner, Professor of Performance Studies, NYU; editor of TDR: The Drama Review; founder and artistic director of East Coast Artists.



Here, Kantor again recombines elements of autobiography, mainly from his youth in interwar Poland, but distills the mechanism of memory into principles of reflection, reversal, and coincidence. With these he ranges over the invisible threshold of reality and art, making of the Room of memory the "boundary of the mirror which marks the beginning of an extension of reality and the time of poetry," as Kantor himself indicated. Kantor presented this production at La Mama in October 1985.

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 13, 2008, 7:30 PM

Tadeusz Kantor, I Shall Never Return / Nigdy tu juz nie powroce, 1988, film dir. Andrzej Sapija, TVP S.A. 1990, 81 min., in Polish with English subtitles
Film introduced and discussion moderated by Daniel Gerould, Professor of Theatre and Comparative Literature, CUNY Graduate Center. Editor and translator of The Witkiewicz Reader.



Greater attention is paid in this fourth work of Kantor's "Theatre of Death" to fundamental elements of theater and to poetic process. The work reflects both its three predecessors and the dialectical nature of his artistic journey. Here, Kantor returns to his wartime production The Return of Odysseus, which is set in the ruined memory machine. The artist pronounces a moving manifesto about the processes of creation and of passing away. The performance ends with the great emballage of the end of the 20th century to the sounds of Berlioz's Rakoczy March, the objects and figures from the theatre wrapped in black fabric. Kantor presented this production at La Mama in June 1988, and it was La MaMa director, Ellen Stewart, who gave it its title.

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 2008, 7:30 PM
Tadeusz Kantor, Today is My Birthday / Dzis sa moje urodziny, 1991, film dir. Stanislaw Zajaczkowski, OTV - Krakow 1991, 77 min., in Polish with English subtitles
Film introduced and discussion moderated by Krystyna Illakowicz, Ph.D., Lecturer, Slavic Languages & Literatures, Yale University



Premiering only a few weeks after his death, Kantor's final work, like the others, was to have had the director present on stage, contemplating and controlling a palimpsest of images (figured by three large picture frames). Congealed around his absence, the work explores and inhabits the relation between image, imagination, and memory, and has been described by Stephen Holden as "a turbulent, living painting that hits the spectator with devastating force." With Ellen Stewart's encouragement, Cricot 2 Theatre performed the work worldwide until 1992; it appeared at La Mama in June 1991.

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 15, 2008, 7:30 PM

Tadeusz Kantor, Dead Class / Umarla klasa, 1975, film dir. Andrzej Wajda, TVP S.A. 1976, 72 min., in Polish with English subtitles
Film introduced and discussion moderated by Magda Romanska, Assistant Professor and Head of Theatre Studies at Emerson College

Acclaimed filmmaker Andrzej Wajda documents the "hair-raising spectacle" of Kantor's most famous work Dead Class, which won an Obie Award for its 1979 performance at LaMama. Here, in the crucible of Krakow's Krzysztofory Gallery, where the work premiered, Kantor incites and conducts the psychosis at the core of personal and collective memory – memory shaped in this case by the traumas of two World Wars, the Holocaust, and the eradication of the Jewish part of Polish culture – and he pushes his avant-garde poetic into its final phase, the "Theatre of Death." Dead Class was an immediate sensation. Named by critics a ‘total’ work of art, flocked to by audiences in over 150 cities around the world, it and Cricot 2 Theatre immediately entered the annals of the avant-garde.This production was presented twice at La Mama: in February 1979 and June 1991.

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 16, 2008, 7:30 PM
7:30 PM  Tadeusz Kantor, Today is My Birthday / Dzis sa moje urodziny, 1991, film dir. Stanislaw Zajaczkowski, OTV - Krakow 1991, 77 min., in Polish with English subtitles

Premiering only a few weeks after his death, Kantor's final work, like the others, was to have had the director present on stage, contemplating and controlling a palimpsest of images (figured by three large picture frames). Congealed around his absence, the work explores and inhabits the relation between image, imagination, and memory, and has been described by Stephen Holden as "a turbulent, living painting that hits the spectator with devastating force." With Ellen Stewart's encouragement, Cricot 2 Theatre presented this work performed the work worldwide until 1992; it appeared at La Mama in June 1991.

9:00 PM  Tadeusz Kantor – The Inspired Tyrant / Tadeusz Kantor. Natchniony Tyran, dir. Andrzej Bialko, Verlag für Moderne Kunst Nürnberg 1997, 39 min., in Polish and German with English subtitles

This short documentary explores the idea of Tadeusz Kantor’s Theatre of Death, with original footage of Kantor himself and comments by Polish and German specialists on his work, including Andrzej Wajda and Kantor's wife and actress Maria Stangret-Kantor.

 

2008 page