Cricoteka, the Cervantes Institute in Krakow, Krakow’s Academy of Theatre Arts and the Spanish Centre for the Documentation of the Performing Arts and Music invite you to join them for the festival Playing with Kantor: Spain – Furies, Phantoms and Infantas. The ten-day programme, held from 16 to 25 November, will consist of the first Polish presentations of works by the invited artists in the form of live performances and screenings as well as a performative reading, meetings and panel discussions with artists and researchers, and exhibitions.
Playing with Kantor is curated by Magdalena Link-Lenczowska.
Since 2018 Cricoteka has hosted a series of monthly screenings of theatre productions by Polish and international directors which play artistically with the work of Tadeusz Kantor. Curated by Anna Róża Burzyńska, the programme adopts a new format this year to present contemporary Spanish theatre, dance theatre, performance and dramaturgy. It examines the interactions of artists of different generations and radically different artistic idioms, locally rooted and universally acclaimed, with Kantor’s oeuvre. The Spanish edition, curated by Magdalena Link-Lenczowska marks the beginning of a long-term programme, where each subsequent edition will be dedicated entirely to one country.
Playing with Kantor adopts a double perspective. On the one hand, the project seeks to show how the Cricot 2 Theatre influenced international art throughout its career, how the ensemble was received during its world tours and understood in different geographic, political and cultural contexts. This Kantor festival also aims to capture the motifs from the artist’s imaginary which are becoming important to a new generation of Spanish artists in terms of both form and subject matter. Playing with Kantor will provide a space for asking questions of how Kantor’s ideas can be transformed today through the language of art and which current problems of civilization, such as new wars, conflicts and crises, they can address. And, conversely, what could inspire Kantor today in the work of contemporary artists.
This year’s edition will be dedicated to Spain, Tadeusz Kantor’s great aesthetic fascination – to his associations with this country as well as the politico-artistic phenomenon of the reception of Cricot 2 in a state working through its monarchic, colonial and totalitarian past, which now acts as a gateway between Europe and Africa.
The ten-day survey will comprise the first Polish presentations of works by the invited artists in the form of live performances and screenings, meetings, panel discussions, performative reading and an exhibition.
The programme, carried out by Cricoteka in partnership with the Cervantes Institute in Krakow, Krakow’s Academy of Theatre Arts, experts and scholars from Spain, and with support from the Spanish Centre for the Documentation of the Performing Arts and Music, has received funding from the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage.
16 November (Thursday)
Cervantes Institute in Krakow
Kantor in Spain: The Experience – discussion
Eusebio Calonge, Beatriz Hernanz Angulo, Ricardo Iniesta, Paco de La Zaranda, Bogdan Renczyński, Tom Skipp
Host: Magdalena Link-Lenczowska
A discussion with Spanish artists and theatre critics around memories of their personal experiences of Cricot 2 productions, the company’s Spanish tours and the impact of the artists’ encounters with Tadeusz Kantor and his theatre on their artistic stance.
Discussion in Polish and Spanish with simultaneous interpretation.
Admission is free.
Opening of the exhibition The Reception of Kantor in Spain: Cricot 2 Productions and 40 Years of La Zaranda
The exhibition will run until 15 December.
The exhibition organized by the Cervantes Institute in Krakow and Cricoteka in collaboration with the Spanish Centre for the Documentation of the Performing Arts and Music, presents a collection of materials and photographs from Kantor’s performances in Spain and the forty-year existence of La Zaranda, the most Kantorian of Spanish theatres.
The work of La Zaranda is informed by Spanish heritage, the legacy of the most tragic Baroque, following the path of the grotesque: Goya of the Caprices, Zuluaga, the theatrical oddities of Valle Inclán and Unamuno. The company also represents a truly European perspective, which draws on the theatre of Beckett and Pirandello, the grotesque and Expressionism, and, above all, on the work of Tadeusz Kantor, the great theatre genius that Poland gave to the world. The exhibition is a tribute to the artists and traces their mutual inspirations.
Admission is free.
The Centre for Documentation of the Art of Tadeusz Kantor CRICOTEKA
17 and 18 November (Friday and Saturday), 19:00
The Battle of the Missing – performance by La Zaranda
Director: Paco de La Zaranda, text: Eusebio Calonge, cast: Francisco Sánchez, Gaspar Campuzano and Enrique Bustos
A play by the company La Zaranda, which, as Cricot 2 did in their day, defines itself as a homeless, travelling theatre. But the 45 years of artistic work and performances on four continents have won it international acclaim. The group draws on the traditional roots of Andalusian culture to create a universal symbolism. La Zaranda is inspired by the everyday, which provides it with stage objects, often of lower rank as in Kantor, but imbued with a certain autonomy and symbolic meanings. The group’s poetics is distinctive, original and consistent, using a language that explores the problems of individual and collective memory..
La Zaranda’s play is a metaphor of life as a struggle and features three actors in the roles of history’s castaways, remnants of a scattered army that has to fight an anonymous, ruthless war. The play is a reflection on a tragic, doomed struggle and quixotism which seem to be the essence of national identity in Spain as well as Poland. At the same time, the war in Ukraine makes it inevitable to interpret the performance through the prism of this conflict. Lastly, the play is a painful satire on the human desire for power, where dignity and faith constitute an act of resistance.
Performance in Spanish with Polish subtitles.
Tickets at a price of PLN 20 and 30 can be purchased at the box office and online at bilety.cricoteka.pl.
19 November, 18:00
Dead Dog at Dry Cleaners: The Strong (2007, 165’) – performance screening
Text, director, stage space, costume design: Angélica Liddell, cast: Nasina Akaloo, Miguel Ángel Altet, Carlos Bolívar, Violeta Gil, Angélica Liddell, Vettius Valens, lights: Carlos Marquerie, sculptures: Enrique Marty, production: Centro Dramático Nacional, collaboration: Atra Bilis
Introduction: Anna Róża Burzyńska
Liddell, a writer of plays, manifestos, poetry and prose, director and actress, is one of the most widely discussed modern artists. Critics have described her theatre as ‘avant-garde and political, deeply heartfelt.’ The hallmarks of her work are social criticism and the search for meaning through suffering and subversion. She has emphasized the importance of the aesthetics of Tadeusz Kantor’s theatre for the development of her theatrical vision in many interviews.
Dead Dog at Dry Cleaners is a play that the artist describes as apocalyptic political fiction. The work offers a sharp critique of the Enlightenment ideals which give rise to the opposition of state and enemy and then subordinate social life to the elimination of one of them. Violence and war are instruments of a new, totalitarian state of Public Security. The artist is accompanied not only by living performers, but also by Kantorian mannequins which represent the actors’ corpses.
Performance in Spanish with Polish subtitles.
Admission is free.
21 November (Tuesday), 18:00
Kantor in Spain: The State of Research – discussion
Matyjaszczyk Grenda (Universidad Complutense Madrid), Julia Nawrot (Universidad de Granada), Katarzyna Osińska (PAS Institute of Slavic Studies in Watsaw)
Host: Anna Róża Burzyńska (Jagiellonian University)
A meeting of Spanish and Polish women academics researching the inspirations of Iberian culture in the work of Tadeusz Kantor and the impact of his aesthetics on contemporary Spanish avant-garde art. The meeting will focus on the phenomenon of the enthusiastic reception of the Kantor’s art and Cricot 2 in Spain and its reasons.
Discussion in Polish.
Admission is free.
22 November (Wednesday), 18:00
Tres – the world’s quietest performance
Marcin Barski talks to Michał Libera
The Catalonian artist Tres made silence the main subject of his artistic practice. He explored its various aspects in his visual works, performances and sound projects. Tres’s opus magnum is Blackout, a performance in which electrical equipment in the chosen venue is gradually switched off – over the course of 30–40 minutes, the audience is getting accustomed to increasingly deeper layers of silence until, finally, the building turns into a dead, architectural structure. Tres’s unfulfilled dream was to ‘switch off ‘ the Cricoteka building in Krakow, an idea that stemmed in part from the artist’s fascination with Kantor’s works. Michał Libera and will talk about how such a performance could be carried out, why the task is so difficult and how Kantor’s work affected Tres.
The meeting will include a screening of the Catalan artist’s performance Kakua y Kántor. Concierto silencioso para coro y mar de mercurio, which involved a recreation of Kantor’s Panoramic Sea Happening on Music Day, 21 June 2006, at Barcelona’s Sant Sebastià beach. The action was performed with the silent choir Euskal Hiria conducted by Pablo Belez, and with the participation of Jakob Draminsky, Aurora Velez, Sergi Verges and David Parras.
Interview in Polish, translated into Polish Sign Language
Admission is free.
23 November (Thursday), 18:00
White of a Shadow (1997, 57’) – performance screening
Director: Marta Carrasco, Pep Bou, collaboration: Oscar Molina, choreography and dance: Marta Carrasco, lights: Pep Bou, Jaume Ventura, sculptural forms: Pilar Albaladejo, M’onica Fernandez, Joaquim Camps, Adolf Vila, costumes: Gabriel Azcoitia, production: Pep Bou Produccions
Introduction: Magdalena Link-Lenczowska
A dance solo piece in which the artist explores the space between death and memory, turning the stage into a kind of Kantorian memory machine marked by a strong feminist perspective. She also focuses on the mechanisms of power in the art world through a carnal vivisection of the relationship between Camille Claudel and Auguste Rodin. The stage becomes here a frame that traps the artist, who gradually sheds its conventions, reinforced by a patriarchal emotional relationship, after decades of lethargy in a mental clinic to fight for her own artistic identity.
Catalan choreographer, dancer and actress, who describes herself as a performance artist. Founder of the group Companyia Marta Carrasco, she works regularly as a choreographer with the Teatre Nacional de Catalunya. Her dance style between expressionism and the grotesque has led critics to compare her to Pina Bausch.
This is a non-spoken performance.
Admission is free.
25 November (Saturday), 18:00
Performative reading of a play by Jerónimo López Mozo prepared by the Dramaturgy Laboratory of the Academy of Theatre Arts
The starting point for the play Velázquez’s Infanta is Tadeusz Kantor’s visit to the Prado Museum, where the artist notices that the Infanta Margaret Theresa depicted in Las Meninas wants to get out of the painting. She manages to break free from the canvas, symbolic of oppressive control, and travels across Europe to find herself in Kantor’s studio. The artist encourages her to recreate her story with the help of Cricot 2 actors, which opens up a self-referential space in the play. The Infanta’s journey unfolds on different time planes: it represents the real passage of the future empress to the Viennese court (where she married Leopold I Habsburg) and her wandering through a Europe torn by military conflicts: the Spanish Civil War, World War Two, the Spanish Transition, the Prague Spring, the Carnation Revolution, May 1968, the fall of the Berlin Wall, up to the present time and the emerging concept of Europe.
dramaturgy and direction: Bartłomiej Juszczak, Jacek Niemiec, Piotr Sędkowski, Weronika
Zajkowska, Krzysztof Zygucki (Pracownia Dramaturgiczna); cast: Michał Badeński, Martyna Dyląg, Wiktoria
Karbownik, Paweł Kruszelnicki, Michał Meller, Charles Rabenda, Jan Sarata, Wojciech Siwek; music: Michał Smajdor; space: Jerzy Basiura; costumes: Katarzyna Sobolewska
List of works used during the performance reading of the play The Infanta of Velázquez (La infanta de Velázquez) by Jerónimo López Mozo:
“Dos Gardenias” music and lyrics: Carrillo Diaz Isolina
“Resistire” music: Calva Diego Manuel De La; words: Toro Montoro Carlos
“Skręć Mi Peta” music: Brożek Wojciech, Malikowska Marta Helena; lyrics: Brożek
Wojciech, Malikowska Marta Helena
The licence for use of the Works was granted by the Authors’ Association ZAiKS.
Tadeusz Kantor in the Prado Museum (2015, 29’) – film screening
Directed by Tom Skipp; cast:Alfonso Fernandez Sola, John Lawrence Zamora, Małgorzata Paluch-Cybulska, Julia Monasterio Fernandez, Monika Kowalska, Bogdan Renczyński, Roxana Nievadis, Tom Skipp; camera: Tom Skipp, Irlandia Tambascio and Inquieta Producciones
The film is a homage to the artist on the centenary of his birth. Kantor’s ghost visits the Prado. He stops in front of the works of art that inspired his own paintings and theatre Las Meninas by Diega Velázquez and The Third of May 1808 by Francisco Goya. While contemplating them, he encounters characters from his poor room of the imagination: the Eternal Traveller, the Art Student and the Infanta. The past and the present intermingle – the Napoleonic occupation of France and the Nazi and Soviet occupations of Poland.
Performative reading in Polish, translated into Polish Sign Language.
Film in Polish with English subtitles.
Tickets at a price of PLN 15 and 20 can be purchased at the box office and online at bilety.cricoteka.pl.
Playing with Kantor: Spain – exhibition
16 November – 23 December
A presentation of personal memories and testimonies of Spanish playwrights, directors, academics and festival organizers dedicated to their encounters with the work of Tadeusz Kantor. The exhibition includes a collection of performance and publication materials from the Cricoteka Archives related to the tours of Cricot 2 productions in Spain.
Admission is free.
Educational programme for Playing with Kantor: Spain
Rebel Princesses and Paper Soldiers
All workshops are in Polish.
All workshops are ticketed. Tickets are priced at PLN 30 per child, admission for parents is free. Tickets can be purchased at the box office and online.
Curator: Magdalena Link-Lenczowska
Concept of the cycle Playing with Kantor: Anna Róża Burzyńska
Coordinators: Wiktor Bury, Magdalena Link-Lenczowska
Visual identity: Kuba Sowiński
Project team: Justyna Droń, Mariusz Gąsior, Laura Iwanczewska, Maciej Jagoda, Małgorzata Kmita-Fugiel, Kamil Kuitkowski, Józef Legierski, Zofia Mikołajska, Maria Pieniążek, Tomasz Pietrucha, Anna Rejowska, Bogdan Renczyński, Tomasz Stefaniak, Aleksandra Treder
Partners: the Cervantes Institute in Krakow, Krakow’s Academy of Theatre Arts, the Spanish Centre for the Documentation of the Performing Arts and Music
Media patrons: Dziennik Polski, TVP Kultura, Didaskalia, E- teatr, Radio Kraków
The project is co-financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of Poland