assistant director: Agata Klepacz
dramaturgy: Tomasz Śpiewak
set design: Dorota Nawrot
music: Bartosz Dziadosz
light design: Jacqueline Sobiszewski
media: Michał Dobrucki
cast: Iwona Budner, Monika Niemczyk, Halina Rasiakówna, Ewelina Żak, Krzysztof Zarzecki, Marta Ojrzyńska, Dominika Biernat
Performance in Polish with English surtitles
The title All About My Mother alludes to the Almodóvar film, yet it is not its theatrical adaptation. It is a personal project by Michał Borczuch i Krzysztof Zarzecki, inspired by the figures of their own mothers, who died of cancer in 1986 and 1998. It is a play by two grown sons, half-orphans, reconstructing their story with scraps of memories from the time when they were teenagers and children. With the help of actresses and members of the creative team invited to participate in the project, they aim to tell the impossible (distorted by the workings of memory) story of the mother passing away and even the fascination with the disease and the way it was perceived in the period of political transformation in Poland in 1980s and 1990s.
Michał Borczuch is known as one of the most interesting Polish directors of the young generation. He was nominated for ‘The Passport’ (the prize for outstanding achievements in culture awarded by the Polityka magazine) several times and last year he won the ‘Divine Comedian’ award for the best show of the year in the International Divine Comedy Theatre Festival in Cracow for “The Apocalypse”.
Barbara Kinga Majewska lent her voice in the performance.
An intriguing and hardly obvious performance was created in Nowa Huta. Minimal means serve to highlight the vastness of the industrial space of New Bath, as does the immersive and coarse stage design by Dorota Nawrot. There is no simple sentimentality in Tomasz Śpiewak’s text. Nor is there an attempt at a biography in the sense of trying to organize someone’s life story. ‘An ordinary woman,’ Borczuch i Zarzecki reiterate.
“All About My Mother”, almost all about our mothers; and – by extension – ourselves. It is a tribute to Pedro Almodóvar, the finest director of women, paid by a talented producer and an actor who tell the story of all women and the most important one; their mother. The latest performance by Michał Borczuch in New Bath, as is often the case, is made up of intuitive references to the cinema, literature, plastic arts, and his own sensibility. (…) There are no mawkish undertones in his play – there is pure honesty; at times amusing and sometimes brutal. “Mother’s eyes which can see everything watch the birth watch throughout life and watch after death from the ‘other world’ ” [translated by Barbara Bogoczek] – Tadeusz Różewicz wrote. In “All About My Mother” they saw the love of their sons whom they didn’t have enough time to get to know. And the audience’s emotions. I am not liable for the heartache.
The performance unveils unhurriedly as there are no morals that need to be rushed to. It is a personal account, told with the awareness of all the limitations and difficulties which bringing it to the stage entails.
Perhaps beneath the belief in the miracle of salvation, resurrection and transubstantiation that the play promises, there is a simple need for consolation. In any case, the question of whether there is a point to expressing and staging one’s own personal trauma will enliven the performance till the very end, and the answer will come from an unexpected place: the power of theater will be revealed in the essentially hardly-theatrical, in what is unhurried, unready and constantly postponed.