Tadeusz Kantor - Circus
Premiere: 13.01.1957 r., Dom Plastyków, Kraków.
Play by Kazimierz Mikulski, directed by Tadeusz Kantor.
Years later Kantor described Circus as his first emballage. Costumes were designed by Maria Jarema. Andrzej Pawłowski’s Cineforms, considered to be asemantic films, were also shown in Cricot’s second program. It was a recording of moving pictures created on screen with a projector built out of a reflector and a system of lenses. They deformed moving abstract models, creating liquid, dynamically changing moving forms on screen. The showing was accompanied by Jerzy Kaszycki’s music, a compilation of Bach, Honegger and Yma Sumac. Karbunkuł – teatr okropnosci - a play by Andrzej Bursa and Jan Guntner – was also shown during evenings at the Artirsts’ House.
Mikulski’s play is a seemingly banal tale of a circus troupe, ran by an incompetent manager. The troupe is facing bankruptcy. To feed the starving actors, the manager’s wife roasts the circus’ trained duck. For spice, apart from her tears, she uses some borrowed st. John’s salt. Meanwhile the manager dies, accidentally stabbed by the juggler. The scent of Margaret’s dinner, however, brings him back from the afterlife so he can attend the feast. Clown Augustus remarks that the duck is too salty.
During the finale the actors get into a giant black sack, which until then lied rolled up in the corner of the stage. Their heads and arms show through cut-out holes. The material ripples, heads and arms get closer to each other and then move apart. They move a white plate between them. From the speaker inside the sack you can hear a sound of bones breaking. The manager appears at his own wake, held up by two pretty vaulters. The giant black emballage moves spastically. After a moment, the heads and arms disappear. The manager leaves, just to come back after a moment. He takes a gray umbrella out of a wardrobe and opens it. Then he leaves the stage permanently.