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THE FILES

text selection and adaptation by:
Ewa Wojciak and Katarzyna Madon-Mitzner
visual desin: Jacek Chmaj
realization: Theatre of the Eighth Day
starring: Adam Borowski, Tadusz Janiszewski, Marcin Keszycki,

The Files is based on actual Secret Police reports on the theater's activity written from 1975 to 1983 (reports that also covered the actors' contacts, friendships, and meetings), juxtaposed with actors' private letters from the time the reports were written, as well as excerpts from the performances to which the reports referred.

In this period the communist authorities, never willing to tolerate dissent, became extremely suspicious of anything that smacked of alternative ways of thinking. The members of the Theatre of the Eighth Day were constantly harassed by the SB - the Sluzba Bezpieczenstwa or Security Service, the secret police of the Ministry of Internal Affairs - who also attempted to control or influence the activities of the company, often through a network of so-called "secret associates" - that is to say, informers, some of whom were close to the company members. Each "secret associate" was given a pseudonym by their contact in the SB. In the files - maintained in great detail in stilted bureaucratic language laced with communist mumbo-jumbo - the ensemble discovered not only that the network of informers surrounding the company was much more extensive than they had realized; they also learned of attempts to infiltrate the company by secret police plants, and of numerous efforts to sabotage their work. For the sake of clarity and because the reports were so voluminous, the company decided to narrow the action of the play to the 1970s (it ends in 1980), since that was when they were active only as artists. Later, in the 80s, they began to be more directly active in politics. Martial Law was imposed in Poland in December 1981. The direct inspiration for this play was their discovery of a typical report on one of their earlier plays that was written by a Secret Police officer from Krakow, whose intellectually over-ambitious analysis of the plays subversive tendencies was so grotesquely uncomprehending that it was hilarious. The Files premiered in Poznan, Poland, on January 10th, 2007, and was recognized by critics as one of the most important performances of the last few years.

Katarzyna Madon-Mitzner, who together with actress Ewa Wojciak worked on text selection and adaptation, graduated from the Theatre Academy in Warsaw, Department of History of Theatre. She is a co-founder and contributing author/editor of the underground periodical Karta (1982-89), subsequently an official historical quarterly where she is deputy editor-in-chief. Curator of many historical exhibitions and multimedia presentations, since 2003 she heads Karta's Oral History Program and Archives in Warsaw. Since the mid-80s she has conducted biographical audio and video interviews with eye-witnesses of the Communist regime in Poland.
November 2019
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