Theatr Nowy, Faust

Review in Issue 17-4 | Winter 2005

What makes a show disappointing? Is it meaningful – or even possible – to identity, as it were, an objective correlative to such a feeling? Winner of a Herald Angel Award, Theatr Nowy’s Faust was rapturously reviewed, and yet this is the show that prompts my questions and my doubts. Does a review testify simply to the determination of experience by prejudice, I wonder? But to play the game of describing how I felt in seeing this show as though I was describing what I saw, I could not fathom why it was being performed. Where – to my perception – every gesture on stage was borrowed from work created by someone else, what could be the motive for presenting this work now? In what did the particularity of this work consist, when from the initial disposition of objects on the stage to the rhythm of group entrances and exits, from the presence on stage of the director to the grotesque style of the performers, it all appeared simply derivative of the work of Kantor’s Cricot 2? Except, that is, in the use of text – which was the very element the award-giving reviewers acknowledged to be inaccessible (one of the distinctions between the ‘International Festival’ and the ‘Fringe’ being the availability of surtitles). Where the visual and gestural vocabulary was so clichéd, the significance of the spoken dialogues to animate the experience became all the more important. Experience may teach us what theory would have us understand, that there is nothing ‘new’ under the sun. But the anticipation with which one attends a performance is surely that of seeing anew what one goes to see, some quality in and of performance that makes it singular, that makes it this rather than simply ‘any other’ performance – at least in one’s own experience.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Festival
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Aug 2005

This article in the magazine

Issue 17-4
p. 27