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Kabaret warszawski. Poland

10th, 11th October, 6:00 pm
Lithuanian National Drama Theatre, Main Stage

Director: Krzysztof Warlikowski
Cast: Magdalena Cielecka, Ewa Dałkowska, Małgorzata Hajewska-Krzysztofik, Monika Niemczyk, Maja Ostaszewska, Magdalena Popławska, Claude Bardouil, Andrzej Chyra, Bartosz Gelner, Wojciech Kalarus, Redbad Klijnstra, Zygmunt Malanowicz, Piotr Polak, Jacek Poniedziałek, Maciej Stuhr
Producer: Nowy Teatr

Duration: 4 hrs 30 mins (with intermission)
Premiere: 3 July, 2013, Gdynia Open’er Festival

Krzysztof Warlikowski’s “Kabaret warszawski” is inspired by John Van Druten’s play “I m a Camera” and John Cameron Mitchell’s film “Shortbus”. The two distinct historical realities channelled here
– Weimar Germany prior to the Nazi takeover, and post-9/11 New York – are virtual laboratories of time and space, in which historical circumstances bring out hidden and repressed fears, as well as sexual and erotic phobias and longing that cause tension and lead to all sorts of crisis situations.
These two worlds serve as a mirror in which the Warsaw of today can see itself. In bringing together these two eras and places, the director explores the limits or restrictions on freedom in today’s world. In an age of uniformity and oppressive normalisation, imposed partly in the name of “collective security”, people’s right to be themselves and their freedom of self-expression are increasingly curtailed and undermined. Consequently, societal norms are becoming a prison of sorts.   
These restrictions can only be circumvented in closed, all-but-underground spaces to which only insiders are admitted. Theatre is one such space. With this production Warlikowski, notorious for engaging his spectators in an unending debate about the issues that matter most, has chosen to work within the genre of cabaret, where basic assumptions include addressing spectators directly and breaking the convention of the fourth wall separating performers from their audience. Cabaret is by definition a space of freedom, governed by the misrule of a never-ending carnival.
With “Kabaret warszawski”, the team of Nowy Teatr confronts diverse scenarios of oppression. The play portrays a group of artists who exist for the sake of art. But art proves fatal for its acolytes, infusing them with doubt and making life impossible. In creating a therapeutic space where fears and taboos can be, Warlikowski shows the threats and oppression that inevitably accrue around such enclaves.