National Reconciliation: A Show for Tourists
- Text and lighting design: Wojtek Ziemilski
- Dramaturgy: Sodja Zupanc Lotker
- Assistant director: Alicja Balcerak
- Costume design: Slavica Janošević
- Lighting design: Marijan Sajovic
- Make-up artist: Nathalie Horvat
- Translation (Polish, English): Aleksander Nowacki
- Translation (Slovene): Barbara Skubic
- Language consultant (Slovene): Mateja Dermelj
- Language consultant (English): Aleksandra Žerjav
- Surtitles: Tina Malič
- Production management: Katarzyna Sztarbała
- Stage manager: Liam Hlede
The project is organised in co-operation with the Adam Mickiewicz Institute as part of POLSKA 100, the international cultural programme accompanying the centenary of Poland regaining independence.
Financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland as part of the multi-annual programme NIEPODLEGŁA 2017–2021.
Based on an original choreography by Maria Stokłosa, made anew every time, this show tries the impossible - to guide the audience through everything that the movements of the body consist of - the person, the biography, the philosophy, the history. The unknown will become familiar, dance will be spoken, traditions unbroken.
Her dance is like candy. It’s like when you go to your grandma’s and she has candy. And you take the candy and it’s sweet. And you don’t want to talk about it. You don’t want to know the ingredients of the candy or if it’s cancerous. She says: “I have candy, would you like some?” And you say “Yes!” And you eat it. And it’s sweet. Your whole body shakes from the sugar. You’re living a tiny dream. A tiny piece of gorgeousness in real time. And that is your fullest experience.
A dance and theatre project is based on a personal story in the context of great political and systemic changes. It is devised in collaboration with the KOMUNA// WARSZAWA collective, as a part of the project Before the War / War / After the War.
This is an extremely purified stage work, with practically no stage design, no props (bar a single clothes hanger), music is minimalistic. The most remarkable stage element is lighting, which – particularly at the end of the performance – by changing the strength and the colour of the light flooding more or less unchangeable scene, functions to multiply and change the perspectives that give this same scene (literally, too) different nuances and meanings. The performance as a whole is based on these very details and the subtle conveying of the message. The basis for the performance is an improvised and thus unrepeatable choreography by the Polish choreographer and dancer Maria Stokłosa, 'interpreted' by Damjana Černe and Primož Bezjak. (The text for the performance was prepared by Wojtek Ziemilski.) At first, this interpretation ironically refuses certain critical approaches to contemporary dance and focuses on the existence of the body in a given moment (this is of course a new interpretation, which is likewise lightly ironised throughout the performance). One of the key questions that the performance asks is the question what co-creates and co-dictates the body and the movement in a given moment. […] The theatre work calms down and strives for reconciliation in a non-intrusive, thoughtful, open way, with a shift of focus. An effective and telling performance.
National Reconciliation: A Show for Tourists is a dance-theatre performance that touches the 'reconciliatory' frame in an unexpected and at times entertaining way. It refers way more to the performing reconciliation of the body, movement, and nation than it does to that of ideological differences of the political atmosphere. Director Wojtek Ziemilski takes the complex intertwining of movement and body in contemporary dance practices as a starting point, and adds to it an interpretative narrative which seemingly unites the opposing stage processes. He thus attempts to neutralise the individualised body, able of conceptual abstraction, continuously improvising to research the choregraphic and performing possibilities (Maria Stoklosa), and only partly under the musical influence of the unmistakable bossa nova hit 'Garota de Ipanema', with recording and translating the movement into a word. Damjana Černe and Primož Bezjak find themselves in the role of moderators, commentators, explainers of the dancing body; they convey and explain, in English (comprehensible to both tourists and dance analphabets), what constitutes a movement, external attractions and internal impulses and everything that could be written into a dancing body. In it, they search for the origin and the manifestation of the historic movement, biological influences and biographical circumstances – movement and body are never totally autonomous, but are rather subordinate to each interpretation. In this way, they historicise the initial individuality (the Jewish provenance with all the historic baggage), and above all, link it to the national narrative.
- Divine Comedy International Festival, Krakow, Poland, 9 Dec 2018