Work - Wielopole, Wielopole
Premiere: 23.06.1980, Teatro Regionale Toscano, Florence.
In his essay Theatre Place, Kantor clarifies the definition of the Theatre of Death, which is a place revealing, like some secret river bends, traces of movement from the other side to our life. On the stage a childhood room was reconstructed. It is filled with poor objects. A bed stands on a wooden platform to the left. A Priest will die on it. In the same part of the room is a wardrobe and doors. In the middle, big moving walls of a train carriage, carrying recruits to the frontlines. On the right a table and simple chairs. Kantor will sit on one of them. Next to them, a cross planted into a heap on the ground. This space is filled with returning Dearly Departed, members of the artist’s family: Mother Helka, Father Marian, Uncle Józef – the Priest, Grandmother Katarzyna, Aunts Mańka and Józka, and Uncles Karol, Olek and Adaś. The Wedding anticipates later unhappy lives of the couple. Father comes back for short stays on army leave, moving through the space of the room. To the sound of Szara Piechota a platoon of recruits from an old photography marches through. They drag the family members into a tragic parade. Helka is humiliated and raped. The play turns into a passion play, Golgota. The Priest falls under the weight of the cross. Adaś, called to service on the frontlines, is crucified. Military march mixes with the words of Psalm 110. Soldiers execute the Rabbi, who recalls the fate of Wielopole’s Jews. Negatives of memory fall apart because of the widow of the local photographer, who uses Mr Daguerre’s invention in a soldier’s way. In the finale, the family sits down for the last supper, changed by a carol into a Christmas Eve. Tadeusz Kantor himself ends the play, setting down white tablecloth and leaving the stage.