XII Spotkania Teatralne



10 września- 15 września 2019

Teatr Polski w Poznaniu

W Polsce mieszka i pracuje ponad 1 mln 200 tys. Ukrainek i Ukraińców, co stanowi ponad 3,5% ludności. Wielkopolska zaś jest na drugim miejscu w Polsce pod względem liczby zatrudnionych obywateli Ukrainy, w regionie jest zarejestrowanych około 11% imigrantów zarobkowych z tego kraju. W samej aglomeracji poznańskiej żyje około 100 tys. obywateli Ukrainy, co oznacza, że co dziesiąty mieszkaniec aglomeracji jest Ukraińcem. Po raz pierwszy od czasów powojennych stajemy się społeczeństwem wielokulturowym. Dlatego też festiwal Bliscy Nieznajomi – w ostatnich latach prezentujący polski teatr i sztukę – zmienia formułę: głównymi bohaterami tegorocznej edycji będą Ukrainki i Ukraińcy.

Poznamy różnorodność form teatru naszych sąsiadów, który czerpie zarówno z literatury, jak i z historycznych archiwów, tradycji awangardy początku XX wieku, czarnego kabaretu, choreografii i muzyki nowoczesnej. Spotkamy młodych, bezkompromisowych twórców i twórczynie, w których głosy z uwagą wsłuchuje się publiczność Lwowa, Charkowa, Kijowa. Obejrzymy też spektakle z Warszawy i Rzeszowa, które tematyzują obecność Ukraińców i Ukrainek w Polsce i nasz stosunek do „obcych”. 

W gościnnych spektaklach, pokazach filmowych i podczas spotkań z publicznością wybrzmią istotne tematy społeczne, polityczne i kulturowe: kondycja społeczeństwa po wojennej traumie, przemoc, nacjonalizm, patriarchat, korupcja i współczesne niewolnictwo. Będziemy śledzić możliwe wersje pamięci i współczesne relacje obu narodów oraz pytać o możliwe formy emancypacji wobec ciężaru historii i narzuconych norm. Będziemy dyskutować o rzeczywistości na samej Ukrainie i sytuacji mniejszości ukraińskiej w Polsce. Wszystkie festiwalowe spektakle mówią głośno o tym, o czym zazwyczaj mówić nie wypada. Odsłaniają tajemnice i podważają utarte przekonania. Są gestem oporu wobec różnego rodzaju zmów milczenia. Umożliwiają nam, przynajmniej na czas festiwalu, opuszczenie grona potulnej, milczącej większości.

Agata Siwiak, Joanna Wichowska

12th Theatrical Meetings CLOSE STRANGERS: UKRAINE

Organiser: Polish Theatre in Poznań

10–15 September 2019

Artistic Director of the Festival: Agata Siwiak

Programme of Events: Joanna Wichowska, Agata Siwiak

More than 1.2 million Ukrainians currently live and work in Poland, making up over 3.5 percent of the country’s population. In terms of the number of Ukrainian workers, Wielkopolska ranks second among Poland’s regions. Approximately 11 percent of Ukrainian immigrants seeking employment opportunities in Poland are registered in the Wielkopolska province. The agglomeration of Poznań is home to about 100,000 Ukrainian citizens, so one in every ten inhabitants is of Ukrainian nationality. For the first time since the post-war times, Poland is becoming a multicultural society. This is why Close Strangers – a festival traditionally showcasing Polish theatre and art – is changing its formula. This year’s edition will turn its focus on Ukrainians.

The festival will explore the diversity of Ukrainian theatrical forms which draw on both literature and historical archives, avant-garde traditions of the early 20th century, dark cabaret, choreography, and modern music. The event will bring together uncompromising young artists who have captured the attention of audiences in Lviv, Kharkiv and Kiev. Spectators will also have an opportunity to see performances created in Warsaw and Rzeszów which revolve around the central topic of Ukrainian presence in Poland and the attitude of Poles towards “strangers”.

Guest performances, film screenings and meetings with the audience will address important social, political and cultural topics including the condition of the society after the trauma of the war, violence, nationalism, patriarchy, corruption, and modern slavery. We will gain insights into possible versions of collective memory and contemporary relations between both nations. We will discuss various forms of emancipation from the burden of history and imposed norms. We will debate the reality of living in Ukraine, and the reality of the Ukrainian minority living in Poland.

In the latter issue, there is a big room for improvement. In June, the Association of Ukrainians in Poland prepared a press conference which took place in the Polish Ombudsman Office, with a view to presenting a study report called “Ukrainian minority and migrants from Ukraine in Poland. Discourse analysis”. The authors, who investigated topics such as online hate speech, found that as many as 41% of statements about Ukrainians were negative, and 42% were neutral, while only 17% of opinions voiced on the Internet were interpreted as positive. Several days after the conference, a dramatic event happened in Wielkopolska. Vasyl Chorny, working in a carpenters’ workshop near Nowy Tomyśl, fell ill at work. Instead of calling ambulance, his employer dropped the man off in a forest 125 kilometres away, where he died.

The topic of forced labour will be addressed in the first performance to be shown at the festival – Modern Slavery directed by Bartek Frąckowiak. In contrast, the final show – We will not give up the lions under the directorship of Katarzyna Szyngiera – is an attempt to delve into Polish-Ukrainian relations from the perspective of collective memory and history. These two spheres, as shown in the above-mentioned report, are also racked by prejudice and distrust fuelled by public statements by nationalist politicians.

Memory and history – two domains often tainted by manipulation and falsification – are also a subject of keen interest among Ukrainian artists. Red wedding, a performance conceptualised and dramatised by Viktoriya Mironyuk, and brought to Poznań from Kharkiv, evokes the forgotten emancipatory potential of post-revolutionary times, explores the (unobvious) place occupied by the legacy and memory of communism in today’s Ukraine. In the Lviv spectacle Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful times inspired by Elfriede Jelinek’s novel, director Rosa Sarkisian probes into the origins of wartime and post-war violence, the destructive power of national patriotic narratives imposed by the ruling groups, and the mechanisms of repression and denial by which the society and the individual defend themselves against the effects of historical, war-induced and family trauma.

Strong female voices also ring out in Restaurant Ukraine, an independent collective production from Kiev/Kharkiv dramatised by Dmytro Levitskyi. The play takes up the topic of corruption as a system of patriarchal power, and filters it through the personal experiences of two outstanding performers (Oksana Cherkashina and Nina Khizhna). Psychosis (directed by Rosa Sarkisian), created by female artists from Lviv and Kharkiv based on Sarah Kane’s resounding play, is a subversive game challenging all stereotypical ideas about women: their feelings, their corporeality, and their place in the society.

All festival performances speak out loud about things that are all too often left unsaid. They expose secrets and challenge established beliefs. They are a gesture of resistance to all kinds of collusion of silence. They seek to take the spectators out of the docile silent majority – at least for the duration of the Festival.

The Biennale Warszawa team decided to go deeper into the topic and check where such data come from, and what situations, places and stories they are related to. The goal was to answer the following question: why is this phenomenon completely invisible and rarely discussed in the public debate? Based on insights gained in the process, a theatrical performance combined with an exhibition emerged. 

Slavery is shown as a modern global phenomenon, manifested in a great variety of ways, and involving dramas and biographies of very different people belonging to different cultures, religions and races. Slaves do not live far away, on illusory and unreal plantations. In fact, you may find them behind the wall of the fanciest Warsaw restaurants.



11 September, 5:00 pm, Muza Cinema

Written and directed by: Sergei Loznitsa

Première: May 2018

Producing countries: Germany, Ukraine, France, Netherlands, Romania

Running time: 110 minutes

The film is set in Donbass, a region in eastern Ukraine controlled by numerous criminal groups. A hybrid war rages on – an armed conflict between the Ukrainian army aided by volunteers and separatist militias supported by Russian troops. The nightmare encroaches on the civilian population. However, life goes on from day to day, and a gallery of characters from all walks of life move across the screen: a young laughing couple, a confused German journalist accused by enforcement agencies of being a fascist, or an owner whose luxury car has been stolen.

In his latest feature film, Sergei Loznitsa in his hypnotic and grotesque-laden style takes the viewer on a journey through Novorossiya – a ghost state where soldiers do not know who their commander is, and court takes place in the street in the form of public lynch. Here, propaganda is taken as the truth, war is peace, hatred is proclaimed as love… and laughter is the only way to survive. For Donbass, Loznitsa won the Un Certain Regard award for Best Director at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival.

Donbass is a story about humanity and civilization in today’s era of post-truth and fake news. A story about each of us.


12 September, 5:00 pm, Muza Cinema

Written and directed by: Ewa Kochańska

Produced by: Magdalena Borowiec / SQUARE film studio ltd. (Poland)

Première: November 2018

Running time: 72 minutes

Yulia Polnyuk is a 10-year-old girl aspiring figure skater. She wants to succeed in sports and meet her family’s expectations, but the clock is ticking. After the Euromaidan Revolution, Yulia’s family moved from Ukraine to Poland. The decision to emigrate was made by Yulia’s mother Marina. It took her just two weeks to pack the bags, take the children out of school, and put the newly renovated apartment up for sale. The Polnyuk family have applied for Polish citizenship, and they are building a completely new life in Warsaw. Without work, financial security or good command of Polish. Yulia’s mother Marina has only one goal in mind: to give her children a better future. She will stop at nothing to ensure that their life turns out better than her own. Marina places the greatest hopes on Yulia. The girl has an opportunity to take part in the Polish Junior Figure Skating Championships. A good performance will open the door to recognition, success, and a promising sports career. Yulia does her best to meet her mother’s expectations, but she finds it very difficult to cope in a new country, a new school, under the watchful eye of a demanding coach. Will she be able to spread her wings and fly, carrying the burden of other people’s ambitions and expectations?


OPEN. MUSIC FOR VOCAL AND PIANO / Вiдверта. Mузика для голосу і фортепіано

11 September, 10 pm, Malarnia Stage, Polish Theatre in Poznań

Vocal and piano: Alexandra Malatskovskaya

Running time: 60 minutes

A recital performance by Alexandra Malatskovskaya – a composer, vocalist, pianist and actress. The artist writes music for theatre plays (e.g. for Rosa Sarkisian, Olena Apchel, Olena Avdieieva) and short films. Her first solo album, Open, with compositions for voice and piano, is scheduled to be released this year.