PANOPTICUM Part B
Ρanopticum is the collection of curiosities – strange characters created by a poet. In our performance the climat of the old courtyards, small squares and the prewar cafes with their permanent visitors is still alive. This is also the collection of wonderful personalities – writer in love, pale aristocrat, femme fatal, wiseacre. You can find here a coquette, a gallant but also a simple girl left by somebody, looking for the better world into which she can be led by a smart hairdresser. All they are accompanied by an original group of musicians wondering in the courtyards.
History of Witkacy Theatre
The idea of creating the own Theatre arose during the studies in Cracow Theatrical High School, named after Ludwik Solski. There met students of Stage Management Department: Julia Wernio and Andrzej Dziuk and also future actors: Dorota Ficon, Karina Krzywicka, Piotr Dabrowski, Andrzej Jesionek, Krzysztof Lakomik, Krzysztof Najbor and Piotr Sambor. They started to work on their own as a science circle. One of the result was the performance “Pragmatists” by St.I.Witkiewicz. This performance became one of the major arguments in the intention of winning the audience in Zakopane to the idea of establishing permanent theatre in this capital of the Tatra mountains.
In August 1984 the graduates of High Theatrical School in Cracow presented “Pragmatists” to Zakopane audience. 10 performances gathered the full audience – spectators who were bored? searching for the truth? interested?
Theatre in Zakopane was established at the beginning without any law regulations – the only reason was meeting of the actors and spectators – the most essential reason. Soon, thanks to the kindness of the Society of Theatre Lovers, the group named itself “independent professional section” of this Society and gained the formal basis of existence.
As a matter of fact, the rebellion against “theatre – institution” was one of major motives of the assembly acting, it served for self-determination, it was dictating their own, original programme.
One of its rules was discovering and reffering to the precious cultural heritage, augmented to Zakopane by the first decades of 20th century. Witkacy`s work and thought were in this aspect the supreme matter, but not the only one. The matters were all the spiritual and material values which were preserved there. One of these material values were the rooms, chosen by the theatre group for its residence. Dr Chramiec`s Hydrotherapy Sanatory, built in 1910, in its glorious days was the place of socialising for the intellectual and artistic elite of Zakopane. The fact of creating the theatre there let this rich in tradition site to exist again as a centre of cultural life. The works over adjusting the sanatory rooms to the theatre activity were going in the same time as the rehearsals of the opening performance of Witkacy Theatre. The performance “Witkacy – Authoparody- the Crude Highlander`s and Dude Sketch, dedicated to (true?) Natives of Zakopane” was shown for the first time 24th February 1985, precisely in 100th anniversary of the author`s birthday. From that moment St.I.Witkiewicz became the patron of new theatre in Zakopane.
“Authoparody” was a kind of a social reception with the participation of literary “cranks” and the audience. The spectators were the guests, both in the meaning of people invited to the soirée and the people visiting the Theatre. On both accounts they deserved a special respect. The Theatre wouldn`t exist without them. The respect for the spectator, hospitality meeting people who were coming to the Theatre in Chramcówki street, gave Witkacy Theatre the fame of the unique, exceptional place. The matter was, as it seems, fundamental – the affirmation of humanity. The man not treated as an intruder but as an awaited and desirable guest; the man who was told (and shown) his dignity, so that free, easy, creative man – that`s the spectator always wanted by Witkacy Theatre.
From the beginning of its existence, St.I.Witkiewicz Theatre plays the role of the “shelter”, place where people feeling a vital need to be in touch with the art can meet. In the world of the advanced mechanization and materialization, neglect and ugliness, carefulness of all this what is beautiful and unselfish, seems to be a protest. The life of this stage is subjected to its own rythm, marked by the dates of beginning the summer and winter seasons, first night, “Carnival at Witkacy`s” or February celebration of its “birthday”. These special occasions gather in this Theatre many distinguished artists and theoreticians of various fields of art. Numerous one-man-shows have enriched the property of the Theatre Gallery.
From the conviction of the members of the Theatre company about an inspiring role of interdisciplinar meeting and the confrontation of various ways of thinking and acting in culture there derives the idea of the Artistic Presentations in Zakopane.
St.I.Witkiewicz Theatre sees its vocation in creating such a model of an artistic event which stimulates openness and is a chance for a dialogue. Following this track together with Tatra Art Foundation, created in 1990 and named after St.I.Witkiewicz, the Theatre wants to restore Zakopane as one of the most creative centers of artistic and intellectual life in Poland, to restore the fame that it won in the days of St.Witkiewicz and his son, Witkacy.