The King of Hearts is Off Again
The Center for Applied Theatre and Active Culture (CATAC), New World Performance Laboratory (NWPL) and KulturePlus Productions are pleased to present Warsaw's Studium Teatralne for four performances only of their epic drama "The King Of Hearts is Off Again" on September 26, 27, 28 at 8pm and September 29 at 2pm in the Balch Street Theatre (former Akron Jewish Center), 220 South Balch Street, Akron OH, 44302. The play, directed by Piotr Borowski, concerns the horrors of war and the power of human love and will be presented in Polish with English subtitles. Tickets are $15. Student tickets (with ID) are $10. Group discounts are available. Seating is limited and reservations can be made by calling (330) 867-3299 or at www.brownpapertickets.com
"There was a family." With these words an actor begins the harrowing story of Izolda, a woman separated from her husband by the nightmare of World War II. Based on a bestselling book by Polish writer Hanna Krall, four actors, playing twenty characters on a bare stage, transport the audience to WWII and into our heroine's epic journey through the monstrosities of war. Victimized as a Jew, a Pole, and a woman, Izolda escapes the cruelties of the ghetto and disguises herself as an Aryan German citizen in order to save her husband from the concentration camps. Facing unimaginable situations, love becomes her sole means of survival as her own identity becomes obsolete.
Last year Studium Teatralne Artistic Director Piotr Borowski, who also adapted and directed "The King of Hearts Is Off Again," explained his fascination with the play: "During my childhood and youth, Polish Jews were rarely mentioned as part of our country's history. Even now, for many Poles this remains an extraordinarily difficult topic to understand with any kind of rationality. I felt that by creating this theatre piece I could open up a dialog about this history."
Using only a table, chairs, and a few props, the actors deploy an inventive arsenal of extreme and precise physical performance techniques. Borowski is a longtime friend and collaborator of Akron residents and NWPL co-artistic directors James Slowiak and Jairo Cuesta. They share a relationship and years of work with famed theatre director and researcher Jerzy Grotowski (1933-1999). When asked if his physical work with actors was influenced by Jerzy Grotowski, Borowski replies, "I met Grotowski in 1975 (when he also met Cuesta) and later worked with him for seven years in Pontedera, Italy....It's hard to define what profit I took from his work. In his speeches and texts Grotowski always encouraged everyone to go their own way, to find their own technique, and to do it with their whole existence. He was always trying to respond to the spirit of his time. Like Grotowski I ask questions about the meaning of what I am doing, about its techniques, about my needs and the ethic of it all. They're the same questions Grotowski asked, only the time is different, because my time is the present."
After working with Grotowski in Italy from 1987-1994 (where he met Slowiak), Borowski returned to Poland, converting an old factory building in the Praga Poludnie district of Warsaw into a theatre workspace. During the theatre's eighteen-year history, Borowski and his company have continued to explore different forms of theatre expression through such productions as "Miasto" (City) (1997), "Północ" (Midnight) (1999), "Człowiek" (Man) (2001), "Parsifal" (2004), "Hamlet" (2005), "Henryk Hamlet Hospital (H. H. H.)" (2006), "Linia Powrotu" (The Line of Return) (2010), and the 2008 production of "Król kier znów na wylocie" (King of Hearts Is Off Again), which received its American premiere in 2012 at The Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles. Studium Teatralne has toured extensively in Poland, Russia, Italy, Germany, France, and Colombia. After performances in Akron, the company will tour to San Francisco.
The cast of The King of Hearts Is Off Again includes Piotr Aleksandrowicz, Gianna Benvenuto, Waldemar Chachólski, and Martina Rampulla. Utilized throughout the performance is music based on the motifs of John Zorn. "Zorn's music is old and contemporary, light and deep at the same time," says Borowski. "As Poland was, for centuries, home to the largest and most significant Jewish community in the world, I wanted the musical element to express this vast span of time. Consequently, numerous musical motifs are frequently repeated and intermixed with other melodies, rhythms and chants."
Besides the scheduled performances, Borowski and his actors will also engage with the Akron community through post-show talkback sessions, master classes, exchange meetings with NWPL members, and film screenings. Watch for more information on these concurrent events.
Studium Teatralne's 2013 United States Tour is co-produced by Tomek Smolarski and KulturePlus Productions.
Special thanks to the Ohio Arts Council, the Arthur Kelly Fund of Akron Community Foundation, Center for Conflict Management at The University of Akron, and UA's School of Dance, Theatre, and Arts Administration for making possible this visit of Studium Teatraline to Akron.
Studium Teatralne's US tour is financed primarily by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of Poland and the Consulate General of Poland in Los Angeles.
For more information, call 330-867-3299, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit CATAC/NWPL's website at www.nwplab.com
More about Kulture+ Productions at https://www.facebook.com/KulturePlus
Balch Street Theatre (View)
220 South Balch Street
Akron, OH 44302
|Kid Friendly: No|
|Dog Friendly: No|
|Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!|