W. G. Sebald, Krystian Lupa


Krystian Lupa

AUSTERLITZ is a stage adaptation of the last novel by W. G. Sebald, one of the most original prose writers of modern literature. Its hero, the Prague-born Austerlitz, travels through Europe and finds “traces of pain” that can be clearly seen throughout its history. Through the lens of personal experience, it reflects on the monstrous scale of destruction inflicted on our civilisation by wars. The events in Austerlitz span six decades, from 1939 to the end of the century. The action takes place in Antwerp, Wales, Oxford, London, Paris, Prague, Terezín, and Marienbad.

“ When the performance comes to an end, the six actors go to take a bow – and it is hard to believe there were so few of them.

“ Rarely have we seen in the theatre so much stage beauty, aesthetics and style. Memory unfolds, takes away the veil from our eyes, adds more cloaks, and we continue on the narrative journey of this new Sheherezade.

“ Austerlitz’s soundscape is firmly connected with the action on stage. Even the silence that surrounds the dialogues is so intense that our ears ring with it, and we feel some sort of existential emptiness from which we would prefer to escape.

KRYSTIAN LUPA (1943) is a world-renowned theatre director, stage designer, printmaker, writer, script writer, adapter, translator, teacher and author of musical studies for his own productions. After graduation, he was associated with two theatres: Teatr im. Cypriana Kamila Norwida in Jelenia Góra, where, along
with a group of young actors, he led the search for new forms of theatrical expression, and Stary Teatr in Krakow, which became the place where Lupa worked most frequently. There Lupa tackled the topic of ethical problems and studied the spiritual situation of man at a time of great cultural change in such productions as
The Dreamers by Robert Musil, The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky and Kalkwerk by Thomas Bernhard. Kalkwerk marked the beginning of Lupa’s adventure with the work of Bernhard, which has so far given rise to ten productions throughout Europe. Two of them have been shown at the Pilsen festival – in 1996 Immanuel Kant and in 2016 Woodcutters. After the great success of the production Factory 2, based on the biography of Andy Warhol, a post-drama period began in Lupa’s work, represented by works including the diptych Persona (dedicated to Marilyn Monroe and Simone Weil) and Poczekalnia.0 (Waiting Room.0),
written by the artist based on actors’ improvisations. Other remarkable productions include his stage adaptation of Kafka’s The Trial and his stage collage Capri. Lupa also frequently directs outside Poland. Previously in Lithuania, before Austerlitz, he staged Bernhard’s Heroes’ Square in the National Theatre in Vilnius. For
many representatives of the young generation of directors, Krystian Lupa is an artistic master and spiritual leader. He has won many prestigious awards in Poland and abroad, including the theatre Oscar: the European Theatre Prize, in 2009.

VALSTYBINIS JAUNIMO TEATRAS (STATE YOUTH THEATRE) was founded in 1965. From the early 1970s Dalia Tamulevičiūtė (1940–2006) directed there, and her name has been firmly connected with the theatre ever since: from 1975 she was the artistic head of the theatre, and today’s company consists mostly of her students or her students’ students. The theatre experienced a significant era between 1980 and 1986, when the young Eimuntas Nekrošius directed there – his productions with the theatre were highly acclaimed not only in Lithuania, but in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Finland, Italy, at the famous Belgrade festival BITEF and on tour in the US.