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TR Warszawa
4:48 Psychosis

directed by Grzegorz Jarzyna

Thursday, October 16, 2014 - Sunday, October 26, 2014
Thursday, October 16, 2014 - Sunday, October 26, 2014
All shows start at 8:00 pm except Sunday shows on Oct 19 and Oct 26 (5:00 pm)

St. Ann's Warehouse
29 Jay Street, Brooklyn

Tickets: start at $30.00
or by phone at the box office: 718.254.8779, 866.811.4111  

Following the success of TR Warszawa's Macbeth (Makbet) (2008) and Festen (Uroczystosc) (2012) adapted for the stage by Thomas Vinterberg and Mogens Rukov presented by St. Ann's Warehouse with the help of the Polish Cultural Institute New York, our collaboration with St. Ann's continues in October 2014 with the presentation of 4:48 Psychosis the last work by English playwright Sarah Kane. Adapted and directed by Grzegorz Jarzyna, one of Poland's most prominent theater directors, the play is a monologue by a young woman suffering from terminal depression. The play itself was first staged at the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs at The Royal Court Theatre in London 18 months after the authors suicide, and has since been described as Kane's personal confession and testament. The Royal Court production had its American Premiere at St. Ann's Warehouse.

In Jarzyna's adaptation, the director weaves a powerful narrative by cutting and reassembling the Kane's written text, all the while creating an unsettling vision that gives a bleak insight into a profoundly tormented mind. Lyn Gardner from The Guardian observed that the main character is "made all the more potent by Malgorzata Szczesniak's eerie hospital design, a soundscape that offers the almost industrial boom of a heart inside your chest and a crooner singing When I Fall in Love, the latter an ironic counterpoint to the central character's constant pleas to be loved. Felice Ross's lighting is extraordinary, too, creating tunnels and puddles of illumination in this malicious Alice in Wonderland nightmare [...] not to mention Magdalena Cielecka's central performance so fierce and fiery that even when she has been swallowed by the light, you feel you can still glimpse her scorched image somewhere in the shadows." Periodic video projections of numbers flood the stage and add to the general feeling of anxiety: a repeated motif of counting down from 100 in sevens, an exercise used by psychiatrists to test a patient's sanity.

The pacing of the play is set by the repetition of dramatic pleas: "talk to me," "watch me," "set me free," "love me," "watch me vanish." Alongside those calls, the text includes quotations from the Bible, books on suicidal feelings, medical questionnaires, self-help guides, and prescription drugs leaflets. This set of texts prompted Grzegorz Jarzyna to include a number of other characters alongside the protagonist  a friend, a former lover, doctors and therapists. But the main character's entreaties are addressed at something larger: society, even God...

The main character, acted brilliantly by Magdalena Cielecka, starts her monologue looking like she's been laced up, as if her clothes were a corset holding her together or a suit of armor that protects her against the world. As we see her disintegrate, her costume is gradually deconstructed to almost total nudity. In the pose of August Rodin's sculpture "The Thinker" she seems to take on her frail shoulders all the sins of today's world, before her body becomes subject to successive annihilation and reduction.

Roman Pawlowski, a well-known Polish theater critic, wrote that 4:48 Psychosis is a test of contemporary theater. Can we still see a person on stage, or just an actor? Can we perceive genuine pain between the lines of text? And does theaterthis brilliant instrument allowing to spy on others with impunitygive us something more than just the comfort and safety of a Peeping Tom? The role Cielecka plays is beyond acting and this performance at St. Ann's Warehouse will be even more special as it will be one of the actress's last in this role.

Approx. running time:

1 hour (no intermission).

Performed in Polish with English supertitles.

For adults only.

Presented by St. Ann's Warehouse and TR Warszawa in cooperation with the Polish Cultural Institute New York, the Adam Mickiewicz Institute in Warsaw, and the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage. Additional support comes from the Trust for Mutual Understanding, and the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation.

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