Work - I Shall Never Return
Premiere: 23.04.1988. Piccolo Teatro Studio, Milan.
The last play at the Theatre of Death realised completely by Kantor with the actors from Cricot 2. The space of the play is turned into a surrealist café. The artist himself sits at one of the tables. He nervously shakes off the ash from his cigarette and waits for the guests. Close by, the Owner of the café bustles, cleaning tables, checking the distance of the chairs from the table with a measuring tape. Kantor grows impatient as he waits. His voice comes from the speaker, invoking in a way the subsequent events. Suddenly there’s an insistent knocking at the door. A chattering group of artists barges inside – the Cricot actors. The play is special, as it is constructed solely from quotations. Fragments of old plays build this one, starting from the Return of Odysseus. The actors try in vain to portray old characters. Time cannot be turned back, the artists lose their memory, it turns out they only remember bits and pieces of old plays. You cannot revive the past. The old halcyon days of Cricot Theatre are gone, together with the 19th Century Avant Garde. A certain stage in the history of art is over. The artists don’t want to reconcile with this passing, however. Their irritation turns on Kantor. They point out his artistic incoherence. Kantor seems out of sorts, he listens to his actors like he agrees. Next to the actors and the Owner others appear: a dummy of a Father, Szmul (citizen from Wielopole), Armored Violinists / Those Serious Men and a Barefoot Harlot singing a jewish song Ani maanim (I believe). In the finale, That Lady with her helpers erects The Great Emballage of the late 20th Century. Kantor and the Bride remain on stage. His voice comes from the speakers: I shall never return.