Ferdydurke
Provisorium & Kompania

"Ferdydurke" is a stage version of Witold Gombrowicz's novel of the same name, one of the most important and also most shocking works of 20th- century Poland literature.


2/1/02 - 2/10/02


"Ferdydurke" is a stage version of Witold Gombrowicz's novel of the same name, one of the most important and also most shocking works of 20th- century Poland literature.
The show combines broad slapstick and farce with profound underlying themes of power and knowledge. An absurdic variation on the Faust legend, "Ferdydurke" centers on a young writer who is transformed by a demonic professor into an adolescent and sent back to school to "learn to do it right".

?This adaptation of Witold Gombrowicz's 1937 absurdist satirical novel, Ferdydurkeby two Polish companies, Teatr Provisorium and Kompanie Teatr, is strictly for people who know the original--and know it well. For others these random scenes are just baffling. Though the piece throws off lots of theatrical heat with its broad physical humor, clever stage pictures, and strange dialogue, it tells no coherent story and provides no conventional character development.
This may reflect Gombrowicz's rebellion against the restraints of conformist bourgeois society. Certainly his novel--about a 30-year-old man compelled to return to elementary school, where he relives all the tortures of his youth--sounds like it was meant to be a big gob of spit in the eye of conventional thinking. But it's hard to believe that the novel (popular in Poland, where it was repressed by both the Nazis and the Soviets) is as artless and clunky as this staging.
The problem could be Janusz Oprynski and Witold Mazurk-iewicz's direction: it's often nearly impossible to figure out the characters' intentions. Or it could be the translation, which sounds odd and artificial, as if the person doing it didn't fully understand English. Or perhaps the actors can't perform believably in English. Whatever, this 90-minute play feels a good 75 minutes too long.? Jack Helbig, Chicago Reader February 8, 2002

Author
Witold Gombrowicz

Director
Janusz Oprynski, Witold Mazurkiewicz

Performers
Jacek Brzezinski, Witold Mazurkiewicz, Jaroslaw Tomica, Michal Zgiet

Production
Jerzy Rudzki, Borys Somerschaf, Janusz Oprynski, Jan Szamryk

Tags: Polish, Theater, New Europe, 2002