The creators about “Nature Morte” performance


More information about performance: Nature Morte”.  



– We have decided to make a show about a dying nature and a climate disaster. We were trying to find a formula that would correspond with an individual experience of a climate catastrophe and to filter that form thorough artistic gestures that we know from performance, visual art, and artistic activism. We are reaching to the sources that are very close to Joseph Beuys who is recognized as one of the first ecological activists in the arts – says Agnieszka Jakimiak, the director of the play. – This is not a biographical show or one about Joseph Beuys. “Nature Morte” is a funeral ceremony where the ghosts of the past visit us, including a spirit of the German artist. The experts of Beuys’ work will definitely find many references to his actions - we talk about them and we travesty them. I think it is most visible in the scenography – adds the director.





– “We are alone but we are together” – these words are used in the show and they present its intention. Sadness always comes with loneliness but we are making an attempt at working through this experience together. The secular ritual we are conducting removes the barrier between the spectator and the actor. The inspiration for our scenography was my favourite work of Joseph Beuys – “7000 oaks”, a type of a social sculpture in which the people could plant trees that were accompanied by basalt blocks. The still and unchangeable matter of the stone was symbolically put together with a living plant. In the show, I have used an analogous motif, but the dead part is the trees while the living part is the viewer. The space in “Nature Morte” is presented after a fire. Both, the actors and the audience are among burned trees. Pictures of burning forests have become a norm in the media, but in the show, the spectators can actually touch and smell these trees. For some time now I have been going through a climactic depression. This work is a kind of therapy for me, a way of understanding and naming the emotions that come with climate changes. It is also an open space for the energies that are usually suppressed – helplessness, fear, passing, regret, the feeling that we have destroyed something beautiful – says the co-creator of the script and the scenographer, Mateusz Atman.





– The ecological dimension of the play is not only in the fact that the majority of the scenography comes from recycled materials and the show itself is rather compact and does not generate overproduction. We wanted this ecological aspect to also be connected with creating a space for reflection about the loss, lack, and absence that we experience with the destruction of biodiversity. The topic of a fight for the climate in Poland is still in the background, but we are using the theatre to create a place for that – we ask questions about our condition regarding the state of water and air, how we react to mass deforestations. A very important stimulus during work was also the newly created relation with nature, especially during the epidemic, a time of forced distance and isolation. We devoted a lot of work to make sure that despise the elegiac character of this play it would not be depressing – we were trying to create a communal ceremony in which everyone could participate without having any prior interaction with each other. The purpose of funerals is not to dwell in sadness and regret, but to meet with others, which is the best way to work through the loss – adds the director.  






– I proposed an inspiration of modern dance from the 1920s and ’30s when in the European and American dance the theme of lamentation and a choreography connected with grief emerged. It contributed to a huge revolution in working with dance. Back then the topic appeared due to World War One and personal experiences of dancers. Now it was a very interesting process of transferring this theme into the loss and destruction of nature. We have a choreography that is partially a variation of Marta Graham’s works and her “Lamentations”. I was interested in how just the form of the body and its tension communicates some emotional states to us: a body crying, leaning, hysterical, or demanding justice for the harm done to it. I was trying to give each actor certain movement tools but to also notice their individual strategies. We had a lot of training, we were working on the improvisation, but also on specific pictures – each of them had their own sequence. I have a lot of respect and appreciation for the entire cast as they are not professional dancers, but we do call them a crew – says the choreographer, Katarzyna Wolińska.





– This is my first experience working in the theatre, so far I have played live concerts. At some point, the performances of WIDT, a band that I co-create with my sister, started to get bigger – we were adding costumes,  the visualizations started to become a type of scenography and slowly it was all transforming into a performance. The music for “Nature Morte” I created mainly during the rehearsals, Agnieszka was also suggesting some solutions. I have never worked with a text before, my singing was always based on the sound, tune, or an invented language that would naturally come out of me. It always had a character and the atmosphere similar to sacral and meditational music. At first, I was against working with a text, but in the end, it sounds beautiful in this arrangement. This time I am not performing live, like during the composition presented in front of the Museum of Modern Art, but in a way, I will be in the show – says the composer, Antonina Nowacka.







The spectacle is being produced by Teatr Powszechny im. Zygmunta Hübnera in Warsaw under the project „Beuys” thanks to the support of Fundacja Współpracy Polsko-Niemieckiej (the Foundation of Polish-German Cooperation).


Partners: Gorki Theater, Sommerblut Kulturfestival e.V. in Cologne and Theater Freiburg. 









Teatr Powszechny
im. Zygmunta Hübnera
ul. Jana Zamoyskiego 20
03-801 Warszawa
tickets 22 818 25 16
22 818 48 19