Teatr Ósmego Dnia (Poland)
Teatr Ósmego Dnia (The Theatre of the Eighth Day) is one of the most important alternative theatres in Poland. In communist times it was famous as an opposition theatre. The artists are well known for their uncompromising attitude, social engagement and treating theatre as a meeting place where people can discuss contemporary problems. The history of the “Eights” goes back to the independent stream of student theatre (at the beginning the company existed as the Student Poetry Theatre of the “Eighth Day”). The theatre was established in 1964 by a group of students from the Polish Language and Literature Department of Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań. In 1960s and 1970s the group shaped the Polish off-theatre – with an emphasis on counterculture, and social and political involvement. In 1979 the company began to work as a professional theatre, but after six years it formally closed down. The members of the company continued to actively participate in the activities of independent artistic groups and Polish democratic opposition. Because of repressions in the 1980s most of the actors emigrated to Italy, only to return to Poland after the political breakthrough in 1989.
The first premiere after reactivation of the theatre was Ziemia niczyja (No Man’s Land) in Poznań in 1991. The beginning of 1990s was a special moment in the history of alternative theatre – many critics predicted its end after the communist downfall, as it was associated with a rebellion against the authorities and supposedly its existence made sense only in societies that were not totally free. The rebellion ethos, however, was not directed solely against the authorities, but resulted from a lack of agreement to social injustice. That is why the “Eights” will keep finding their protagonists in everyday reality…
Today the “Eights” are a legend – one of the few groups from the avant-garde of the second half of the 20th century to continue their work in the changed reality, in which the poetics of rebellion and counter-culture of the 1960s are the past. But regardless of the changing aesthetics, what remains is the universal idea of the theatre that undertakes the contemporary problems of the human fate here and now.
Teatr Ósmego Dnia has created several dozen performances that have been presented in many countries in Europe, America and Asia. Their spectacles, for example Jednym tchem (1971), Przecena dla wszystkich (1977) czy Raport z oblężonego miasta (1983) are some of the most important statements of independent art and culture in Poland. The company creates their spectacles in a group process, using improvisation, which they have mastered to perfection. Their performances have a tragic-grotesque form and are characterised by the “aesthetics of contrasts”. The actors, who have written the majority of their texts themselves, treat theatre as a tool for discovering and revealing the truth about man and as a form of social communication.
In the last several years the company has created a series of open-air spectacles, including The Ark of 2000, inspired by the Chechen war. It is probably the most famous performance by Teatr Ósmego Dnia.
The group runs a theatre centre in Poznań and organises many educational activities, acting workshops, and artistic events. They also participate in international theatre projects. From the beginning of 1990s they have been consistently carrying out their social, cultural and artistic programme.
The company has received numerous awards, including Fringe First in Edinburgh in 1985 and Konrad Swinarski Award presented by the Teatr monthly magazine in 1994. The core of the company is still made up of actors who have been connected with the company for several dozen years. The first leader of Teatr Ósmego Dnia was Lech Raczak, who left the group in 1994. Then Ewa Wójciak, a charismatic actress from the company, took his place. In 2014 she was recalled and the group together with Jacek Jaśkowiak, the new president of the city, chose Małgorzata Grupińska-Bis as a new director. Simultaneously, Ewa Wójciak, Adam Borowski, Jacek Chmaj, Tadeusz Janiszewski and Marcin Kęszycki were appointed to form the Artistic Council.
Date and place of presentation
24 June 10 p.m., Park Agrykola, Teatr Ósmego Dnia "The Children of (R)evolution?"
The Children of (R)evolution?
is an open-air multimedia show produced by Teatr Ósmego Dnia in cooperation with a group of young Croatian actors, performers and puppet artists from the Artistic University in Osijek. The spectacle can be performed in an open space or in a huge arena and uses many different means of expression – video projections, a moving set, dance, marionettes, and specially composed music that complements the show.
The Children of (R)evolution? is not a yearning for a rebellion, but rather an elegy for those who felt righteous about their ideas and initiated coups or revolts in their contesting spurs, who were devoured by revolutions and did not live to see their victories, for those who survived to observe the ‘far from ideal’ world after the revolts they had won.
Idea and directing: Jacek Chmaj
Consultation: Ewa Wójciak
Animation: Szymon Felkel
Video: Maciej Włodarczyk
Texts: Jerzy Nowacki
Costumes: Izabela Rudzka
Music: Arnold Dąbrowski
Technical production: Adam Łoś, Piotr Najrzał, Jacek Nowaczyk, Jakub Staśkowiak
Actors in animation: Kaja Banaszak, Mateusz Krawczyński, Andrzej Majos, Ewa Siekierska Klamka, Janek Szlempo
Production: Szymon Bojdo
Performers: Adam Borowski, Lino Brozić, Marko Capor, Tadeusz Janiszewski, Marijan
Josipović, Marcin Kęszycki, Selma Mehić, Przemysław Mosiężny, Josipa Oršolić, Janusz
Stolarski, Szymon Stolarski, Zdenka Šustić, Janek Szlempo.
Premiere – 8 October 2017 in Poznań
Dzieci Rewolucji | Teatr Ósmego Dnia | fot. Tomasz Ostrowski