BWW Review: NOW EVERY OF YOU IS COMMONWEALTH at TEATR WSPOLCZESNY In WROCLAW
History of Poland is complex and complicated, exactly as human being. Main characters are not ordinary people but actors in a freak show which makes connotation individual-country even more arduous.
Now Every of You is Commonwealth is a story about Polish history, play itself starts in 1793 after 2nd Partition of Poland but it can also be a story about contemporary times because it touches a very sensitive but important subject: it tries to find out why country is falling apart. Reasons are complicated and they interact with each other constantly.
Play is based on stories and movie of Andrzej Zulawski - Polish film director and writer. Controversial and bold movie The Devil made in 1972 was banned by communists in Poland and released for movie theaters only in 1988. FIlm plot and play are not the same but this inexplicable atmosphere of madness and evilness is common and overwhelming. Madness and possession, devil, dirt, soil, blood (everywhere), anxiety make this play even more inconvenient than devil itself. As a result it brings on mind question: Is this nation ruled by devil?
There are events so ridiculous, terrifying, alarming and grim that they go off human possibilities. Group of human freaks: Elephant Woman (great Jolanta Solarz-Szwed), Lobster Boy (terrifying Mariusz Bakowski), Two-Headed Boy (thrilling Rafal Kosowski) ...), freak show German owner (scaring Dariusz Skowronski), his (kind of) wife (grand Elzbieta Golinska), nun (moving Irena Swierakowska), confusing priest (keen Tadeusz Ratuszniak) and off course would-be regicide (invaluable Wojciech Swiesciak) are witnesses to this crucial part of Polish history but they are not aware how important it is and how it will change their lives and reality. Even if they don't really want to be part of war and political conflict.
Anarchy, chaos are overwhelming and soon they will influent their lives. They look at decay and confusion with no preparation so they are not ready to protect themselves from what is going around them. The atmosphere is coming to their hearts without question asked and it is like echo - taking away something that they cannot name - peace and stability. In this mad world they became enemies even to themselves.
There are some scenes that are hard to forget like rapes (on living and dead), killing a dog, sort of dehumanize in those weird times. They make their own wars inside their closed community and it doesn't end well.
Director, Maciej Podstawny, and playwright Seb Majewski) made a very moving play. It's sort of an uncomfortable rock in a shoe. He asks so many questions and living even more doubts. He makes a spectator confront a grotesque, crooked, cruel and ruthless world. Are we able to resist or at least notice a threading danger?
52 weeks and 52 scenes leave a spectator with anger and willing to change the course of history. Two-Headed Boy at some point says: "Enjoy the play at our expense, look at us to feel better". This is a strong statement of someone powerless and totally subjected to events around. They act despite themselves not even knowing what war is doing to themselves. At at the end there is only big mess - no people left.
Photo: Bartek Warzecha