Witold Gombrowicz

Ivona, Princess of Burgundia



    "Ivona, Princess of Burgundia" is a performance directed by Grzegorz Jarzyna, based on a play written by Witold Gombrowicz, one of the most important European playwrights of the first half of the twentieth century, a forerunner of existentialism and the Theatre of the Absurd. The play by Gombrowicz, published one year before the outbreak of the Second World War, oscillates between comedy and psychological thriller. It is a grotesque story about a fictional family whose conventional life gets disrupted when Ivona, an introverted girl, appears on the stage. Even though during the whole performance Ivona, the title heroine hardly utters a few words, her silent presence causes a revolution in the family, breaking conventions, revealing hidden secrets and bringing the family to the brink of collapse. Grzegorz Jarzyna, in his performance, will focus on the conflict between the system of social standards and prohibitions versus freedom of an individual. The character of silent Ivona stands for a metaphor of a rebellion of a helpless man, who cannot and doesn’t want to live in the imposed system. I don’t understand why people do not develop over the centuries – says the director. Technology and civilization are the elements of constant and rapid evolution and one may expect that we should therefore be more experienced and much closer to the essence of human being. Yet in reality we seem to be lost in this system.

    Premiere: October 10th -11th, 2016, Moscow
    Coproduction: Theatre of the Nations in Moscow and TR Warszawa, in cooperation with Adam Mickiewicz Institute and Polish Institute in Moscow. 



    • Grzegorz Jarzynadirecting, adaptation
    • Piotr Łakomyset design
    • Anna Nykowskacostumes
    • Felice Ross (Israel)lighting design
    • Jacek Grudzień, Grzegorz Jarzynamusic
    • Andrey Borisovsound director
    • Szczepan Orłowskinarrator's text
    • Ivan Yestegneevchoreography
    • Anna Gusarovadirector's assistant

    This is the elegy about the agony of the world. It is the great triumph of Jarzyna.

    Przemysław Skrzydelski, „wSieci”

    The performance directed by Grzegorz Jarzyna has strong political overtones.The director has admitted in various interviews that it is time for Russians to open their eyes.

    Izabela Szymańska, „Gazeta Wyborcza”

    “Ivona” created by Jarzyna does not necessarily personify passivity; she rather actively participates in the game on her own terms. She does not only stand for the mirror reflecting fears and fantasies of other characters, she is more of a stranger – unintelligible and causing aggression.

    Witold Mrozek, „Gazeta Wyborcza”

    Jarzyna has succeeded with something, which is very often discussed but eventually happens very rarely: “Ivona” of the State Theatre of Nations is a performance in which the reflections on the eternal themes are presented in a contemporary form.

    Alla Shenderova, “Kommersant”

    The shocking space, pulsating with the complex video- and audio-vibrations, pierces into conscience as a living organism.

    Alena Karaś, www.colta.ru

    For us, it matters that Grzegorz Jarzyna made an important attempt to permeate into the unobvious of the drama and to provide us with a message (…)Without parrhesia, no knowledge and no philosophy is possible, but the meaning of the word slips away from philosophers, Foucault argues. The word means the truth, and this is what Ivona’s silence was.

    Dmitrij Lisin, www.syg.ma

    But it seems that the question asked by Jarzyna to the audience of the Theatre of the Nations is a different one: don’t you need Ivona as she is, silent and mirroring your own speaking and silence? Or perhaps we do not need anything else at all because further on, beyond the limit of stability, there is danger?

    Ludmiła Bredichina, www.kultpro.ru

    How precisely did Gombrowicz describe human instincts in his drama, and how carefully this was shown on the stage by Jarzyna! Philosophic deliberations about the inner freedom, about the nature of power, about the fear of leaving the comfort zone, sounding in the video-and-light Matrix-style solution, do not only speak to the audience, but remain inside people’s heads.

    Jekaterina Winokurszyna, www.dailyculture.ru