70 PLN – regular
30 PLN – concessionary
30 PLN – rush
It is a unique moment in the history of Poland. Throughout the last few years, due to a wave of economic migration, Poland has been witnessing rapid and radical changes in its social structure. The latest estimates suggest that only in Warsaw there are 150k immigrants – that’s 10% of the city residents.
Director Katarzyna Kalwat invited immigrants who live in Warsaw – artists and actors/actresses from various countries and cultures, to participate in the performance. The team wanted to confront the feeling of alienation and the need for redefinition of the identity of an actress/ actor – a resident of Poland. The performance originated from the need to integrate the immigrant artists. It’s an attempt to expand the notion of the national acting practices and redefine the national culture.
Can theatre become the new Tower of Babel?
Performance is coproduced by Biennale Warszawa and TR Warszawa.
From the creators
“Since 2016 number of the registered immigrants in Poland has doubled from 300k to nearly 600k. The notion of a cultural identity of the contemporary Poland and the space left in it for the foreigners and immigrants become the key issues. There are no national systems or programs in place that help immigrants to integrate and build their future in Poland – safely and steadily. Values such as openness, liberalism and progressiveness do not always match the basic experience of the excluded strangers, the “aliens” trying to find in Poland a place for themselves. For us – the theatre creators, equally important are the social changes reflected in the space of culture: in theatre and more broadly – on the art job market. The “glass ceiling” is holding strong both in theatre and in film: unemployed foreign actors do not find work in the state cultural institutions. Theatre, traditionally considered to be a space of engaged social criticism, avant-garde explorations and an institution that’s fighting for freedom, perversely becomes a tool for reinforcing the divisions it claims to combat. In the “Staff Only” project we dive into a vision of national culture that is integrative and includes diverse experiences and cultural environments. We would like to contribute to a lasting change, even if on the micro-scale only, to give the invited artists a chance to break through the glass ceiling. We want to find answers to the questions regarding possible strategies that an immigrant actor/actress should implement to get a job in his/her profession. Does he/she need to transform into a “true Pole”, get rid of his/her identity, accent, traditions and skin color? These experiences help us to formulate our common dreams and plans for the future.”
direction, set and costume design: Katarzyna Kalwat
dramaturgy: Piotr Grzymisławski
text: Beniamin Bukowski
music: Wojciech Blecharz
director’s assistant: Piotr Pacześniak
photo by Monika Stolarska
“Despite the grotesque, funny and deliberately exaggerated form of the “Staff Only” performance, there is plenty of room left for reflection. In particular the scenes that include personal experiences of the actors – such as Carlos’s story about the wall between a Polish theatrical institution and an immigrant-playwright or James’s extreme effort to prepare himself to work as an actor in Poland (the scene where he’s obsessively changing numerous costumes).
‘Staff Only’ is not just an attempt to draw attention to the problems of immigrants-artists in our country. It is also a very specific proposal to make the change and break down some barriers. Finally, Katarzyna Kalwat’s performance is a proof, that a proficient knowledge of Polish language is not a prerequisite for making a mark on Polish theatre scene.”
“’Staff Only’ astonishes the audience with the absurd, fun, humor and provocation. At times it resembles the Dadaistic Cabaret Voltaire. It intrigues with the aesthetic freedom, masterful play on eccentric instruments, palette of the costumes, spontaneity of the improvisations and irony.”
Cooperation with Biennale Warszawa [logo]
The new talents line
The performance was produced within the frame of the new talents line. TR Warszawa for many years now has been promoting new artistic talents through such projects as: Warsaw Area [orig.: Teren Warszawa], TR/PL, Field TR [orig.: Teren TR], Young TR [orig.: Młody TR], TR Debut [orig.: Debiut TR], artistic residencies, guest showings of diploma works and performances, repertoire showings of performances co-created by new artists and production of selected projects in cooperation with foreign partners. TR Warszawa provides artistic shelter, where artists may experiment and implement their ideas for theatre.
Within the new talents line in the past artistic seasons, the following directors presented their productions: Wojciech Blecharz (“Soundwork”), Klaudia Hartung-Wójciak (“The Chinese”), Grzegorz Jaremko (“Woyzeck”), Katarzyna Kalwat (“Holzwege”, “Rechnitz. Opera – The Exterminating Angel”, “Maria Klassenberg. Ecstasies”, “Staff Only” – coproduced by Biennale Warszawa and TR Warszawa), Anna Karasińska (“Ewelina’s Crying” and “Fantasia”), Katarzyna Minkowska (“Stream”), Jędrzej Piaskowski (“Puppenhaus. Treatment”, “David Is Going To Israel”), Piotr Trojan (“Grind/r”), Magda Szpecht (“The Possibility of an Island”, “Always Coming Home”), and Małgorzata Wdowik (“The Footballers” and “Fear”).