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Courtesy of Anna Skubik
La MaMa E.T.C.
in association with
the Polish Cultural Institute in New York


Written, directed and set design
by Romuald Wicza-Pokojski

Thursday, November 11, 2010 - Sunday, November 21, 2010

Performed in English

Thu, Nov 11 & 18, 10:00 PM
Fri, Nov 12 & 19, 10:00 PM
Sat, Nov 13 & 20, 10:00 PM
Sun, Nov 14, 21, 5:30 PM

La MaMa E.T.C.//The Club
74A East 4th Street, New York, NY

Tickets: $15;
Or box office: tel. 212.475.7710,
hours: Tues - Sat 12:00 - 6:00 PM  



Written, directed and set design by Romuald Wicza-Pokojski

Music by Igor Nowicki

Puppet design by Anna Skubik and Barbara Poczwardowska

A slyly fascinating one-woman show (two-woman, if you count the puppet) performed skillfully and with a haunting mix of wit and gravity.

This is a bare-bones production, yet it's glamorous.

- Anita Gates, New York Times

Skubik's impish take on the chasm between image and reality is fascinating, hitting edgy notes worthy of Grotowski

- David C. Nichols, Los Angeles Times

Not renowned for her particularly amazing vocals, none can deny Dietrich certainly had a unique voice, and Skubik captures her essence so exquisitely that I found myself mentally accusing her of miming (accusations that fell flat). She was just that good.

- Paul Cleary,

Beautiful, determined, intelligent and controversial, Marlene Dietrich was a transcendent symbol of femininity and a woman of very strong character. Fascinating to both men and women, her personality has seduced Anna Skubik, an impressive young Polish actress and puppeteer, who animates this German icon in the form of a life-size puppet in Broken Nails: A Marlene Dietrich Dialogue, directed by Romuald Wicza-Pokojski. The play portrays Marlene and her maid Gloria, both played by Skubik, in a co-dependent relationship during the star's last days in her Paris apartment. Skubik has performed the play in four languages already: English, Polish, Greek and Spanish.

In New York the play will be presented as a part of the The La MaMa Puppet Series IV--Built to Perform, an annual event that carries on La MaMa's long standing tradition of supporting puppet theater artists from all over the world.

In the performance, Ms. Skubik slips back and forth between her roles as meek servant and haughty star with such virtuosity that it is easy to forget there is only one woman on stage. The play is a compelling study of womanhood but it is not so much about resurrecting Marlene Dietrich as showing the legendary star as she deals with her fading beauty and imminent death. The text is inspired in part by the strange story of the thousands of objects-ranging from letters, poems, and photographs to feathers and half-smoked cigarettes-that were hoarded by the reclusive performer during her last thirteen years.

Ms. Skubik's fluid handling of props and costume changes, and deft stage management have already earned her the Grand Prix at the prestigious All-Poland Solo Performance Festival in 2008 in Wroclaw and the Most Innovative Puppeteer award at the International Puppet Festival of Prague (2009). The show was also presented at the Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles in February/March, 2010.

Broken Nails. A Marlene Dietrich Dialogue is presented by La MaMa E.T.C. in association with the Polish Cultural Institute in New York. Additional support comes from the Trust for Mutual Understanding, The Jim Henson Foundation, The Wroclaw Puppet Theater, and Adam Mickiewicz Institute in Warsaw.

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