Written by: Samuel Beckett
Translated and directed by: Antoni Libera
Stage designer: Anna Libera
“Dramatic Fragment II”
Cast: Andrzej Seweryn, Antoni Ostrouch, Jacek Stefaniak
“Krapp’s Last Tape”
Cast: Andrzej Seweryn
Cast: Andrzej Seweryn, Antoni Ostrouch
Running time: 85-90 minutes
Premiere: 13 April 2016
Andrzej Seweryn gives a fascinating show of transformational acting.
This is the third adaptation of "Krapp" produced in last thirty years by Antoni Libera with the giants of Polish theater. In 1985, the Beckett play featured Tadeusz Łomnicki, in 2004 - Zbigniew Zapasiewicz, now the floor belongs to Andrzej Seweryn. "Krapp" and other one-act plays were staged at the Polish Theatre to celebrate the Theatre’s seventieth anniversary and Samuel Beckett’s 110th birthday. “Krapp's Last Tape” is now slightly condensed by the director, the meanings associated with certain actions of the hero have gained their text equivalents and transformed into two short plays which form the coda of this theatrical production.
The play opens with "Dramatic Fragment II" and closes with Ohio Impromptu. In the first one-act play Seweryn is co-starred with Antoni Ostrouch: the play is the transcript of a conversation between two officials of eternity, the ghosts of accountants who have to close the balance of a man who is standing in the open window and wants to commit suicide. They are tired, angry, bitter and in a hurry for home, yet they look for the positives in gloomy resume of the silent hero.
In the final Ohio Impromptu Seweryn reads a mysterious poetic tale from a big dusty book while Ostrouch controls the tempo and intonation of the reading by strange taps on the table.
Nonetheless, the heart of the show is Krapp, an old man listening to old tape recordings with his voice, an autobiography narrated by a failed writer. Krapp is trapped in a fixed ritual of doing the same things – he cleans the table, eats a banana, sets the tape recorder, picks up a tape, listens to the recording and adds a commentary. Obsessed with the idea of recording himself and his thoughts on tape, cataloging them and regular listening to them, he forgets what life is really all about. Andrzej Seweryn creates one of his most important roles in recent years. His Krapp must be juxtaposed with another great film role of Andrzej Seweryn – that of Zdzislaw Beksiński in "The Last Family." After all, Krapp is also an artist and equally trapped in his own world. Made older rapidly, changed physically, he rejects all theatrical features and tricks of his own, which had previously determined his acting. Not only is this a brilliant display of being in control over the form, body and gesture, but also a search for unobvious tragic tones. Krapp is very far from Seweryn, the actor watches him from an inner distance, he caricatures and constructs him just to ask about himself. At the height of his career, the great Polish actor has put trust in the idea of transformational acting.
Łukasz Drewniak, curator of the Old Theatre’s theatrical programme
The play is the story of a man as seen from the angle of a spoken diary; an idealist who kept it for most of his life, recording on his every birthday a summary of the past year; an artist who, in his prime, sacrificed love to purse art. It is a study in coming to terms with himself at the point of reaching the age of 69.
When was the hero really himself? In his youth when he was drinking and frolicking? In adulthood when he imposed a discipline upon himself and abandoned the world for contemplation? Or in old age when he no longer identifies himself with either the former or the latter? Is there at all such a thing as the continuity of human "I"? These are the questions posed by Krapp, one of the most prominent characters from the Beckett theatre.
It is also one of the most demanding roles in his career - the role played by the greatest to crown their acting careers. Andrzej Seweryn follows in their footsteps. The premiere of the production consisting of “Krapp’s Last Tape,” “Dramatic Fragment II” and “Ohio” Impromptu coincides with the actor’s 70th birthday. His co-star is Antoni Ostrouch.
The play is directed by Antoni Libera, translator and expert on the work of the Great Irishman – winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1969 and, undoubtedly, the greatest playwright of the twentieth century.