Nov 26, 2014
Nov 30, 2014

King of Hearts is Off Again

“a wonderfully intricate story in both form and content.”
– Peter Byrne, KCRW Los Angeles

Co-presented by Kulture +
Based on a novel by Hanna Krall
Directed by Piotr Borowski
Starring: Gianna Benvenuto, Waldemar Chachólski, Danny Kearns, Magda Czarny
Music: based on John Zorn’s motifs

a black arrow pointing downward

“Thrilling physical theater… The work is beautiful.”
– Steven Morris, LA Weekly

Studium Teatralne (Warsaw, Poland)

Studium Teatralne is an ensemble theatre in the tradition of Jerzy Grotowski. The play is directed by the company’s artistic director Piotr Borowski – himself a longtime student of Grotowski – and the four actors employ Grotowski method acting techniques to collectively play 22 different characters on a stage with a minimalist set. The King of Hearts is Off Again is based on the true story of the life of Izolda Regenberg a young Jewish woman trapped in the Warsaw ghetto with her husband and their families during World War II. The play tells how Izolda escapes from the ghetto and lives disguised as an Aryan Polish woman named Maria Pawlicka. Her all consuming obsession is to save her husband.


Sunday post-matinee

ABOUT KONIEC PIEŚNI (The song is over)

In the winter of 1980/81 I had set off with three of my actor friends on what we called “Winter Expedition.” For three months we had toured with our performance in the Bialystok region, in the area between great forests of Augustów and Knyszyn on the north-eastern border of Poland. We walked from village to village, pulling the sleigh loaded with our belongings. We reached remote hamlets where we met people of different nationalities and creeds. These people, showing their gratitude, sang for us their songs. I recorded their singing on tape. In 2007 I returned there in order either to give them these recordings back or to hand them over to the families of those who had already passed away.

– Piotr Borowski (Director)

“Piotr Borowski’s film Koniec pieśni (The song is over) captures the death of one layer of a culture. In the past, just decades ago, homes in the Białystok region were full of folk songs – today those songs are hardly ever sung.  I went to see the documenary, because I’m interested in theatre. I was convinced that all I was going to see would be the references to Wyprawa zimowa (Winter tour), (…) but I quickly realised, that it touches much deeper and more important issues. “Today there’s nothing left” say the main characters in the film. And that ‘nothing’ refers not only to the folk songs. During last three decades a huge area of culture in the social life of Białystok region has disappeared. Today nobody sings those songs any more – and the songs that were recorded for the purposes of the film have become priceless. Borowski showed through people’s faces how painful this loss is. There’s also a personal angle to the story. The songs were sung by people who are no longer with us. It may be the last preserved recording of the voice of a mother, a wife… The film ends with a funeral service in an Orthodox church. People sing liturgical songs. Today church seems to be the only place where people still sing. The tradition of singing songs has disappeared from houses and fields. It’s dead.”

– Tadeusz Kornaś, Didaskalia, 2008. Poland

Financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of Poland

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