In his texts, Tadeusz Kantor explained: Cricotage is a kind of activity which stems from the experience of the Cricot 2 Theatre and from the method of acting discovered and practised there . For the first time the name Cricotage was used by Tadeusz Kantor in 1965 as the title for his happening in the Café of Towarzystwo Przyjaciół Sztuk Pięknych (Friends of the Fine Arts Society) in Warsaw.
The text quoted above was included in the programme of “Where Are Last Year’s Snows”. The short performance by the Cricot 2 Theatre was called by the artist cricotage for the first time. Its premiere took place in January 1979 in Palazzo delle Esposizioni in Rome, during the exhibition “The works of Tadeusz Kantor and other artists from the Cricot 2 circle.”
In 1987 in Kassel the premiere of a cricotage “Machine of Love and Death” took place – it lasted for more than half an hour. In this cricotage, Kantor returns to his pre-war staging of Maeterlinck’s play “The Death of Tintagiles” (the first part of the cricotage is entitled “The Puppet Theatre of Tadeusz Kantor, Year 1937”) and to his fascination with constructivism, abstraction and Bauhaus. In this performance the time becomes as if the setting. It is there that the drama involving the characters, the marionettes and the machine is set. In the second part the artist brings back Wojtkiewicz’s nostalgic pictures. This production was the beginning of the “Theatre of Love and Death” – the last stage in the work of Tadeusz Kantor.
The remaining cricotages (“The Wedding”, “A Very Short Lesson”, “Silent Night”) resulted from meetings with young actors. Their form was to some extent determined by the students’ proposals. It was the students who created the plot of “The Wedding”, while for the other cricotages they created the characters and some of the scenes. Those productions were shown publicly several times as the final effect of the work of Tadeusz Kantor and his students during the drama lessons.
Section prepared by: Anna Halczak
Translated by: Monika Markiewicz