“We’re not going to yammer on pointlessly, hey!” – this famous line from Witkacy’s Shoemakers serves as a prelude in Justyna Sobczyk’s production for a “remarkable concert for three sewing machines, an awl, and a last” performed by Sajetan (Michał Majnicz) and two Journeymen (Szymon Czacki and Martyna Krzysztofik), who keep complaining about the supporting role they receive in this play. Conjuring sounds of various tempos and tensions from some atypical instruments in front of a mandala-shaped altar decorated with the shoes of the National Stary Theater’s actors, they chant the Witkacy-inspired phrase until the next “bearers” of Witkacy’s roles enter the game (Małgorzata Zawadzka, Radosław Krzyżowski), along with actors with handicaps, partnering up with the professionals on stage, constantly meddling with the living fabric of the performance. This dynamic, largely-improvised play vacillates between the truth of direct confession and literary fiction. Alluding to the legendary staging of the drama at the National Stary Theater (in part through the presence of Krzysztof Globisz in the finale), it inquires into who can become an actor and why, and the meaning of this occupation. The departure from the norm and the refusal to subordinate to a theatrical situation which mark Witkacy’s dramatic forms allow the artists to expose the capitalist machine, in which theatre is a cog for producing social recognition. This sort of social machinery still decides who we can watch in the theatre, and what social groups they can represent.
The play uses text created during the actors’ improvisations.
In some respects The Shoemakers recall (…) an attempt to enter a shamanic trance. Based on both a search for the right rhythm and on the escalation of the most powerful emotions. It goes from the “music” of the clattering heels and machines, to sewing, to the wild punk-off of A Shoe Is Born (they also blaze through Siekiera’s Misiowie puszyści).
Łukasz Badula, kulturaonline.pl
Strobe lights are used during the performance.
Performance is taking part in the 3rd edition of the competition: „Klasyka Żywa”.