Theater Review 88.
(photo credit: )
By Hanoch Levin
Directed by Krzysztof Warlikowski
TR Warszawa/Stary Teatr at Cameri Theater
Warlikowski's superb actors huddle against the walls or with each other in small human knots on the expansive space of Malgorzata Szczesniak's spare set. It's as if they seek to cancel themselves out and to brave existence despite despair.
Theirs is a world of swinging doors, two-way mirrors, featureless walls and video clips.
We are entrapped with them for 165 intermission-less minutes, time that moves for the characters as lazily as the set's overhead fans. But Warlikowski's artistry is such that he unerringly moves time and the story through juxtapositions that make us laugh and weep, sometimes both together. For us, time passes in a flash.
Levin's 1975 black comedy is an anthem to futility, a familiar Levin theme. Krum (Jacek Poniedzialek) has returned from abroad to his dreary Tel Aviv neighborhood, the same dreary loser as when he left it. He has brought nothing, earned nothing, learned nothing. Wherever life happens, it's not where he is. The same is true for the rest of Krum's sad-sack friends and acquaintances. Levin's world is akin to Chekhov's, except that Levin's characters know that they have nothing to look forward to.
Like Krum, beautifully morose Dupa (M. Hajewska- Krzysztofic), hypochondriac Tugati (Redbad Klijnstra), maritally desperate Trude (M. Cielcka), horny sexpot Cica (D. Stenka), Krum's fatalistically pessimistic Mama (M. Rozniatowska) and the rest go through the motions; they court, they wed, they lust, they dance, they die... And they do it marvelously.