director : Michał Zadara
dramaturgy : Daniel Przastek
set design : Robert Rumas
costumes : Julia Kornacka, Arek Ślesiński
lighting and video : Artur Sienicki
music : Maja Kleszcz, Wojciech Krzak
premiere: 15 February 2014
Adam Mickiewicz Forefathers' Eve by Adam Mickiewicz is the most important play in Poland and has justly received the status of an arch-drama. This work has undoubtedly shaped our patriotism, our religiousness, the sphere of our values, our relation to the Other, our independence, our uniqueness – in a nutshell, our identity. Its almost century-long presence in the education system has left a lasting mark on Polish culture. The world premiere of the arch-drama was produced in 1901 in the City Theatre in Kraków by Stanisław Wyspiański. Since that time, over a hundred stagings of Mickiewicz’s work have been produced in Poland.
It might seem that our theatres have read it very thoroughly. And yet, we did not do our theatre “homework” in full, since nobody has ever staged Forefathers' Eve in its entirety, without cuts, so that all monologues and dialogues written by Mickiewicz could be heard. It will happen for the first time in the Polish Theatre in Wrocław – Forefathers' Eve by Adam Mickiewicz, as directed by Michał Zadara, will sound in full bloom. The project has been divided into three editions: on 15 February 2014, parts I, II, IV and Phantom were presented; in 2015, the theatre plans to stage part III; then in 2016, for the first time in the history of Polish theatre, it will be possible to see Mickiewicz’s complete drama on the stage.
“In Forefathers' Eve, two passions of Michał Zadara meld. Classics and national themes. […] ‘In part I, Poland is not mentioned, in part II, Poland is not mentioned, and in part IV, Poland is not mentioned’, states the director. He immediately adds, however, that ‘if Forefathers' Eve is to define Polishness, then it is wild Polishness, breaking the rules, full of atrocities and madness, erudite and folk, and above all inhomogeneous’, declaring that ‘such Polishness I am ready to accept and even celebrate’. Zadara’s staging of Forefathers' Eve is thus an archaeological project, a quest for traces of unorthodox and counter-national identity, which – if treated seriously – makes it possible to substitute what is coherent and universal with diversity and subversiveness. The community shown onstage is not familiar with violence and obduracy, instead it is able to have a great time by a bonfire. Is it merely a postulate, or is it reflected in reality? This is the question that the performance leaves us with. Zadara’s Forefathers' Eve is also a political project: devoid of journalistic declarations, simply emerging from a reliable, intelligent reading of Mickiewicz’s drama. Zadara is returning to his top form.”
Marcin Kościelniak, Tygodnik Powszechny 2014, no. 8
“The almost five-hour performance impresses with stage flourish. What captivates us is above all the grand, monumental and modern set design by Robert Rumas, thanks to which an incredible and fantastic world appears on the big stage of the Polish Theatre, where we continuously balance on the verge of reality and dream, fairy-tale dream and ghastly nightmare.
“A huge, deserted stage where a girl dreams of love turns into a dark forest, veiled in fog, where participants of the forefathers’ eve waft under cover of the night, where the youth choir awaits the end of the ritual, and where Gustaw will meet the Black Hunter. A moment later, the very same stage reveals an enormous, ghastly, concrete skeleton of a deserted building, full of rubbish, covered with graffiti, which will substitute as a chapel to the gathering of scared mourners. In the last part, a natural-sized and inaccessible house of the Priest, who on a cold winter night will be visited by a former student – Gustaw – will literally enter the stage.
“The suggestive aesthetic vision is complemented by lighting directed by Artur Sienicki and a great, bothersome soundtrack by Maja Kleszcz and Wojciech Krzak. The whole theatre machine proudly presents itself in front of the audience’s eyes, almost provocatively, like a body of evidence in a trial concerning the ability to bring weirdest realities to life.”
Michał Centkowski, Dwutygodnik.com 2014, no. 127