Jeńczyna (freely translated as Captiveal) is an attempt at a sincere and unbiased conversation about sex – sexual fantasies and anxieties, secret desires and fascinations – revealing social fears and embarrassment to speak frankly about “intimate affairs.” The title alludes to the words “captive” and “veal” combined, the two words define the condition of lovers deprived of a language to express their experiences, which makes them feel a bit like human meat. The “state of emergency”, not named outright in the play, triggered by the present COVID-19 pandemic, helps the play’s protagonists to free their libidinal drives; in a series of short scenes, they try to speak openly about sex and carry out their hidden sexual fantasies. For example, a cancer patient sees her chance to be cured in having sex with many men right in front of her husband, a vicar’s mother discovers that travelling by plane gives her an orgasm, staunch conservatives seek gratification in group sex in a sauna, and the president, persuaded by feminists who demand a woman finally be made the head of state, has a sex-change operation. Revealing the protagonists’ hidden desires, fantasies, and anxieties, Captiveal also uncovers the immaturity and delusions of part of society and reflects upon the limitations of the often vulgar Polish language, which “scares” people and prohibits the positive expression of personal erotic needs and experiences. And this is, after all, a condition for being able to talk about sex in a free and sincere way. This play has been created by a long-term duo, Monika Strzępka (director) and Paweł Demirski (author), and is the latest edition of their theatrical dialogue with the audience on the difficulties of our everyday lives, handled with passion and a sense of humour.
It would be no exaggeration to say that she is a modern-day classic. She has managed to create a formula in which she is comfortable, which sits well with Demirski’s scripts and simply works. The actors recite long chunks of text, working on the conflicts between figures, discourses, and ideas. The scenes flow smoothly from one to the next. Sharply drawn characters, songs performed live in the intermissions, and plenty of simple, yet inventive stage techniques (…).
Miłosz Mieszkalski, Teatrologia.info