The Uprising

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EXODUS is a joint theatre production of artists from Germany, Poland, France, Italy, Spain, Austria, Portugal and Malta and is dedicated to the foundation of a veritable European Theatre: The seven participating theatre companies from all over Europe aim to create a regular schedule under the umbrella of a common corporate identity. EXODUS is the initiative?s showcase. The international production team will be blogging on the development of the initiative on a weekly basis.
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By Maciej Adamczyk

From March 5 to 12 I went to thw Polish capital to visit the Warsaw Rising Museum; a museum showcasing the biggest patriotic rising of World War II. The opening of the WarsawRisingMuseum marked the 60th anniversary of the outbreak of the Rising. It is a tribute paid by the residents of Warsaw to those who fought and died for an independent Poland. The exhibition was opened to the public on October 2, 2004.

My quest was to find someone who was had experienced first-hand World War II and the havoc it had wreaked in Poland, and who was willing to recount his experiences of this time on stage. The co-director of the Museum: Pawe? Ukielski , an extremely considerate person, promised to help me in my quest. He recommended that I contact his assistant Karol Mazur, who then guided me through this incredible place: the Warsaw Rising Museum.

I was told that every year, during the anniversary of the Rising various theatre projects take place in the Museum. I recalled that two years back, one of my colleagues: Marcin Liber, with whom I had worked in the course of some projects involving my theatre company Body Snatchers Theatre, had directed there. Furthermore, just one year ago Jan Klata, a very popular and avant-garde theatre director in Poland, also staged a performance in this Museum. His production was particularly poignant and the combatants present were extremely moved. Interestingly, Klata has his own theatre festival called ?Klata Fest? during which he once staged a performance called ?Transfer!? which gives an account of the evictions which occurred after the Second World War ? this performance did not include any actors, only the people who had experienced the event first-hand recounting their experiences.

My quest led me to meet Mr Jerzy Kasprzak, who was 15 years old during the Rising and was a member of the uprising post. Our conversation ran for hours, his experiences being so riveting! Mr. Kasprzak also gave me a journal he had written, within its pages were preserved his memoirs of the time. Unfortunately it turned out that he and other combatants I met were unable to participate in the staging of the production due to their age. Yet I collected all their stories with particular reverence and respect towards each narrator, it being clear that these were people who had helped shape the Poland ? my Poland ? that I know today. I am particularly struck at what a pity it is that these stories cannot be presented by their original raconteur as every single story would make excellent material for any theatre or film production: the biography of a man who for 50 years pretended to be a combatant; the story of two Italians who fought on the Polish side, even an Indian who took part in the Polish Rising! Most of the stories are terribly heartbreaking and tragic. As I once again walk through the Museum and think of the people I met and their experiences, the realization of all the terrible events that took place in Poland during World War II sinks in deeper that it ever has and a deep melancholy grips me. In the few days I spent searching for candidates for our theatre project I encountered so many heinous experiences, much more than I could ever have imagined. Yet in the midst of such terrible stories, one thing always shines through: the courage of the people. It?s a place of memory, a place of remembrance for the great Polish people who fought for their country. Such people don?t seem to exist any more; Poland is so different nowadays. I am doubtful as to whether such people still exist; people who would risk everyting for what they believe in.

Maciej

Instead of working with a participant of the Uprising, I will now be performing myself: I will be travelling to Jerusalem, the Holy City of the three monotheistic World Religions. Being equipped with a camera and further technical stuff, I will take our audiences to a guided tour through the city. The images will be projected live on a screen that will be part of our stage settings; so, when you come to see one of our shows in Malta, Catania, Vienna, Munich, Warsaw or Lisbon, I will take you live to Jerusalem – this is also a nice challenge!

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Maciej Adamczyk was born 1972 in Krosno Odrza?skie. He studied acting at the National School of Theatre in Wroc?aw. Maciej works as a theatre director and actor (film and theatre). He is the co founder of Teatr Porywacze Cia? (Body Snatchers Theatre). The Pozna? based company has received wide acclaim for their contemporary performances in Poland and entire Europe.

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