The narrative for this production is based on fragments of choreography taken from Henryk Tomaszewski’s archive performances. Reaching for those shows and drawing on the source of Wroclaw’s mime provides an opportunity to demonstrate to the modern-day audience the spirit of Tomaszewski’s art and its specificity. The artistic and research practices used in this work resulted in a new, original screenplay which, while making references to history, brings new quality to Wroclaw’s mime. The distinctive character of this excursion into the now legen- dary WTP performances is a kind of a reconstruction, a revival of a tradition, a challenge to it, and an attempt to once again understand the gist of the theatre created by Tomaszewski.
The production is based on fragments of choreography from Henryk Tomaszewski’s perform- ances: “Ziarno i skorupa” / “Grain and Shell”; “Strzelnica” / “The Shooting Range”; “Labirynt” / “The Labyrinth”; “Kobieta” / “The Woman”; “Menażeria cesarzowej Filissy” / “Empress Filissa’s Menagerie”; „”Spór” / “The Dispute”; “Hamlet – ironia i żałoba” / “Hamlet – Irony and Mourn- ing”; “Rycerze króla Artura” / “King Arthur’s Knights”; “Akcja – sen nocy letniej” / “Action – A Midsummer Night’s Dream”; “Tragiczne gry” / “Tragic Games”.
WROCLAW MIME THEATRE
Henryk Tomaszewski was the founder of the Wroclaw Mime Theatre. Theatre specialists unani- mously agree that the Tomaszewski’s Company played a major role in the development of mime art in the 20th century. The Company has presented its productions on every continent except the Antarctic. It all began with Tomaszewski’s solo dance for stage, “The pianist”, which won the silver medal at the World Youth Festival in Warsaw in 1955. During the next Youth Festival, in Moscow, both Tomaszewski and his newly established ensemble called Mime Studio won the gold medal for the production of Nikolai Gogol’s “The overcoat”. The Wroclaw Mime Theatre’s artistic prominence was acknowledged by the French Theatre and Music Professional Critics with a medal, a Special Award from the Critics International Club at the Theatre of the Nations Festival in Paris (1962) and the Gold Star Award at the 8th International Dance Festival in Paris (1970). The Theatre launched 29 productions (24 were produced by Tomaszewski). The Wro- claw Mime Theatre has also taught and trained many famous mimes. After the theatre, some of them made a career as actors and mime teachers around the world teaching Tomaszewski’s training technique.
Tomaszewski’s productions were also produced and broadcasted on television in Poland and in other European countries. For its achievements, the Wroclaw Mime Theatre has been honoured with the “Commander’s Cross of the Order of the Rebirth of Poland”. Since Tomaszewski’s death (in 2001), the Wroclaw Mime Theatre has been trying to define its character and goals again. Aleksander Sobiszewski was appointed General Manager and Artistic Director. He held these two posts between 1st July 2003 and 16th May 2009. Sobiszewski, the Master’s student, began developing his own brave stage vision. Performances, based on original scripts, featured black humour, absurd and grotesque. Sobiszewski directed shows such as “Małpy” (“Apes”, 2003), “Science Fiction” (2004), “Galapagos” (2007), “Gastronomia” (“Gastronomy”, 2008) He would invite famous artist to work together.