May 222015
 

TheTrapSample2In “The Trap”, Tadeusz Różewicz has a dying Franz Kafka deliriously dream of a world of horrors that could have come from a novel Kafka never had a chance to write, but that would become reality in Prague and Vienna and across Europe less than two decades after the author’s death.

The man who wrote of the nightmare of Josef K. in “The Trial” would not have been surprised by the rise of a regime that perfected brutality through bureaucracy, and that mobilized a continent to mechanize murder on an unprecedented scale. K.’s arrest on charges he is never made aware of, the alternating stupidity and pomposity of the officers of the court, and a system where the law could change from moment to moment at whim of the masters — all of these aspects of the story Kafka created would be borne out under Nazism.

Throughout “The Trap”, executioners skulk about the edges of the stage, eyeing the movements of the characters with suspicion and disdain. Are they from the near future of the Holocaust, or from Franz’s own time? They are both, and neither; they are the representation of the idea that anyone can become an instrument of death, and that too many among us will stand by while it happens. In one of the most surreal tableaus of the play, a petit bourgeois barber bends Franz’s ear with pretentious babble while in another time, his dim-witted assistant has risen to power as a thuggish enforcer for the Nazi state, humiliating a man of science and learning before hastening him off to his demise.

Why did they, and why do we, stand by? Josef K. — and Franz — would know that it is because distance creates deniability. Most of those culpable for the Holocaust, and for atrocities committed both before and since, were not cramming bodies into rail cars or launching missiles aimed at villages, but were rather the people filling out the paperwork to make it happen — like the forms that would send Franz’s beloved sister Ottla, his truest ally throughout “The Trap”, off to Theresienstadt and later Auschwitz, where she would be killed. They never had to witness the real results of all those papers.

The executioners in “The Trap” embody what Hannah Arendt called the banality of evil. They are driven not by fanaticism or sociopathy but by a desire to get ahead and get along, and to take advantage of the chaos of the times to rise in stature. They might be unwilling to kill by the sword, but are all too willing to do it with the pen. Kafka would have understood.

May 212015
 

20110930_DSC_3593NOTE FROM ARTISTIC DIRECTOR AND FOUNDER

Dear Friends, I am thrilled and humbled to present to you The Trap, the most provocative and intriguing play, by one of the most challenging authors I have ever worked with, Tadeusz Różewicz. Living in today’s difficult world of political and social unrest, constantly changing technology and fast life is not easy. I myself feel trapped by challenges and contradictions of life, with its highs and lows and happiness and sorrow constantly interchanging. Looking through the eyes of Franz Kafka and Tadeusz Różewicz and discovering more and more traps that are part of our lives has become a true artistic and mental challenge as well as a blessing. It has made me, as I hope it will make you, the audience, appreciate the artists even more and see how difficult their struggles to create and survive are. Many artists of today, like Kafka, feel alienated, misunderstood and are prone to psychological highs and lows trapped between art and reality of everyday life. Let’s stop for a moment in this fast moving world and give them a hand.  By doing so, we will help ourselves by nourishing what is the most fragile and priceless, our hearts and souls! Let’s stop and reflect on our cruel history which keeps repeating itself, trapping soldiers and civilians in the hell of war. Let’s think about peace and wish for it with all of our hearts! Let’s be kind to one another and help each other to cope with the trappings we are faced with in our lives. I hope this production will make us stop for a moment, and reflect on life and how we can make it better for ourselves, artists and those around us. This creative journey would never be possible without an amazing ensemble of actors, designers and artists and of course our friends and supporters, whose help made it possible for us to experience and unravel the traps that T. Różewicz and Franz Kafka had created for us.  I would like to thank Embassy of the Republic of Poland and Polish Consulate as well Theatre Department of the George Washington University for helping us to bring “The Trap” to life. I hope our biggest contributors and challengers; T. Różewicz and Franz Kafka are watching us from above with appreciation and smile!

Thanks to all Friends and Supporters!

The Ambassador Theater’s 6th season continues rolling on!  During the past seasons, we produced 14 main stage productions in addition to various “Bare Bones” and Staged Readings, New Work Series, Literary Café programs, play-reading workshops, summer camps, Studio Classes and outreach programs.  All of our programs have introduced our audiences to the cultures of several countries across multiple continents (Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Egypt, France, Greece, India, Macedonia, Poland and Spain). We have worked with over 100 actors, artists, authors, translators, directors and designers, in addition to over a thousand students and interns from various DC Metro schools and colleges. We have even taken students abroad to perform at the Presidential Palace in Warsaw for the First Lady of Poland.  Our productions have been seen by over 10,000 spectators in many venues around the area.  We are fortunate to have developed valued friendships and partnerships with the diplomatic representatives of countries from where our productions originate.  Most recently, our production of Happily ever After received 2014 Best Play, Best Director, Best Actress and Best Actor recognition from DC Metro Theatre Arts as well as the 2013 Helen Hayes Canadian Partnership Grant Award.  I would like to express my deepest gratitude to our Board of Directors, artists, designers, partners, friends, and, most of all, our audience for helping us to fulfill our mission to continue facilitating international cultural dialogue. We have a thrilling season ahead of us, please join our Circle of Members and Supporters and sign up on our newsletter list. We would love to stay in touch and hear from you at our various events throughout the season! I would like to dedicate this show to all those who suffered the loss of their loved ones in tragic genocides around the world. Enjoy the show! Hanna Bondarewska

WHEN: May 28 – June 21, 2015

May 26, 27 Previews at 8 pm

May 28 at 8 pm, Opening & Reception follows

Friday, May 28, Special Q&A after the show with Prof. Kazimierz Braun, the closest collaborator of T. Różewicz;

Saturday, 30, 8 pm Press Night

Thursdays – Saturdays at 8:00 pm; Matinees: Sundays at 3:00 pm

TICKETS: $20 – $40 Online: http://www.aticc.org/home/category/get-tickets

For 16 + Audiences

Media/Press: please e-mail us to reserve your tickets!

Please be advised there is a momentary nudity!        

 

 

May 212015
 
IMG_0488

At Rehearsal of The Trap on 5/19/15 by Eliza Anna Falk

“I’ve written my plays, so as to make difficulties for the directors who stage them, not to make their lives easy. What I like best in the theatre are the rehearsals, when the director fights with everything and everyone -The drama of the battle over the shape of the performance”. -Tadeusz Rozewicz.

How well was the author aware of the degree of challenge, difficulty and pressure his innovative, open theater would bring into a rehearsal room!

IMG_0114What I am seeing is indeed a battle of the director and cast to achieve perfection in transitions, movements and performance, and a lot of very hard mental and physical work. What I see is the director trying to realize her vision as it unfolds, talking out her ideas as they ‘come’ to her and asking the cast to make changes. I see the actors seemingly tired of a number of new adjustments, yet despite the pressure, ready to state their point of view, offer advice and comment on safety.

Most reviewers agree that Rozewicz’s plays are best appreciated when seen in performance rather than read, because of the reliance on visual imagery to convey meaning” (Halina Filipowicz). Rozewicz’s theatre does not have action, it presents situations and images instead, like in a collage, yet the meaning of his plays also lies in between those images, in things unsaid and unseen. That is why it is so important and so challenging for the director and the actors to re-create the images in such a way as to not to lose the hidden and unarticulated. The task is overwhelming and arduous.

   The Trap is constructed as a sequence of tableaux. In the words of Daniel Gerould it “is a family photo album through which we can move backwards and forwards”. The process to create the ‘photos’ and smoothly transit between them presents all involved with an array of extremely demanding challenges. The set consists of a number of movable and multipurpose elements, which need to be precisely repositioned between scenes. Majority of actors are not only required to physically rearrange the set, but also, as the margin for a mistake is almost none, to master the transitions through numerous repetitions. To add to the challenge, group scenes performed in unison demand strict synchronization of movement, a process involving numerous trials/errors and adjustments.

It may well be that “For Rozewicz, the struggle between a play and its realization on stage is the crowning moment of the whole theatrical FullSizeRenderprocess” (Daniel Gerould), however I doubt that the same can be said for the Director and crew. Pasting together the “photo album” of the Trap, requires an enormous creative, technical and physical effort, as well as time, lack of which increases already growing pressure. Observing the wonderful cast and devoted crew’s hard work piecing the ‘collage’ together, repetition after repetition, adjustment after adjustment without seeing results would have been frustrating. However, as an observer, I see what they could not – the pieces of the almost finished product, gems of scenes, quality of which truly amazes me.

The seven days remaining to the preview are undoubtedly going to be extra taxing on the production team, yet the biggest battle seems to be over and the Trap brought to life with passion and force. Although sadly Tadeusz Rozewicz, one of the great writers of our time who passed away last year, will not be with us at the premiere, his genius, powerful spirit and legacy ‘trapped’ in The Trap will be present on stage ‘released’ by Hanna Bondarewska and her team for all of us to see and experience!

May 28 – June 21, 2015

May 26, 27 Previews at 8 pm

May 28 at 8 pm, Opening 

TICKETS ONLINE

 

 

May 082015
 
TheTrapSample2

Early in Tadeusz Różewicz’s “The Trap”, young Franz, having suffered the berating of his father at the dinner table, scorns himself as a spoiled and ungrateful brat. His boorish father, who looms as a monster throughout Franz’s memories in the play, angrily reminded his children of the traps of his own hard life — long days of physical labor, hard beds, and little food. He has provided a better life for them, but keeps the family in a trap of his own devising with his heavy-handed dominance of the household.

IMG_0488Franz would escape that trap and establish himself as a man of the middle class, with a degree in law and a career in insurance. But in so doing, he wanders successively into new traps, with each escape being only the prelude to the next.

Many in the audience will be familiar with Franz’s trap of career and moderate success. He does not toil in the fields like his father, but sacrifices each day to an office and a stack of files. He freely gives up his freedom in order to achieve a higher standard of living, one which comes with its own fresh obligations.

After securing the suitable job, Franz must secure the suitable wife, but he finds himself baffled by her insistence on buying a suite of furniture he neither wants nor needs. Fiance Felice seeks these things to escape her own trap and to establish a household of her own, but her need to achieve status and worth in the eyes of society is just another snare to Franz. When she is forced to admit that she has not read a word of the Tolstoy novella Franz implored her to read, it becomes clear: She is seeking a husband, but his identity does not matter much.

The Artist’s predicament as represented in “The Trap” will be familiar to any of those among us who put aside artistic endeavors and dreams in order to “be realistic” and “grow up” — and who, having achieved financial stability at the cost of creative freedom, try to fill the void with objects designed to impress a society made up of others who have also opted for the comforts of the cage over the uncertainty of the Artist’s path.

COMING UP SOON: MAY 26 – JUNE 21, 2015  TICKETS ONLINE

Peter Orvetti