Teatr Dramatyczny im. J. Szaniawskiego w Wałbrzychu

A play based on a subversive grotesque Weird Sister by Maria Pawlikowska- Jasnorzewska from 1938, when Poland was also under the subversive spell of Nazi ideology. The plot takes place in Prawia, which is ruled by Her Maternal Highness, the eccentric Valida Vrana. Most important for her reign are the development of the nation and the demographic policy, which are still challenges for many of today’s politicians. However, the expectations that Pawlikowska-Jasnorzewska describes for the citizens were far more restrictive: from breeding duties to penalties for childlessness.

Moreover the plot is based on a family model categorically defined as one man, one woman, and children, where the women are henpecked. Such is the life of the titular heroine who, instead of furthering her passions, is subjected to the duties of family and home. What Knapik extracts is that Pawlikowska-Jasnorzewska’s work is about control of the weakest who are pushed to the summits of power to carry out the policy of éminences grises.

The director and choreographer prepared a production that is exceedingly attractive both formally and visually. Drawing from choreographic and visual methods, she reaches to the storeroom of German expressionism – demonism as well as cabaret and illusionistic sleights of hand – and this form helps to build an attractive, theatrical edition of a political farce. For the ambiguous shadow of that small moustache hovers above the space between male chauvinism, the terror of Nazi ideology, and the tragicomic Chaplinade.

Maria Pawlikowska-Jasnorzewska WEIRD-SISTER
Directing & choreography: Dominika Knapik
Adaptation and dramaturgy: Tomasz Jękot
Set design and costumes: Karolina Mazur
Light design: Wolfgang Macher
Music: Mateusz Flis and Dominika Knapik

Photos: Bartłomiej Warzecha

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