Krystian Lupa
23 April 2022
running time
5h 20min, w tym przerwa 25-min
scena duża
Premiere performace: 23th of April 2022, Łódź. Warsaw premiere: 7th of May 2022



Antonin 1
Lucy, ∞
Susan, 7
Antonin 2
Powszechny Theatre in Łódź
Michael, John Lennon
Patti, Antonina


direction and scenography – Krystian Lupa

script – Krystian Lupa & collective creation of actors

music – Bogumił Misala

costumes – Piotr Skiba

production manager – Michalina Dement-Żemła/Karolina Pawłoś

video – Joanna Kakitek, Natan Berkowicz

director’s assistants and dramaturgy collaboration – Dawid Kot

director’s assistants – Jan Kamiński

costume collaboration – Aleksandra Harasimowicz

stage manager – Iza Stolarska


cast – Karolina Adamczyk, Grzegorz Artman, Michał Czachor, Anna Ilczuk, Andrzej Kłak, Michał Lacheta (Teatr Powszechny in Łódź), Mateusz Łasowski, Karina Seweryn, Piotr Skiba (guest), Ewa Skibińska, Julian Świeżewski, Marta Zięba (a guest from Teatr Studio in Warsaw).



An artistic journey into the world of counterculture, the times of identity and cultural revolution at the turn of the 1960s and 1970s. Krystian Lupa used the lyrics of “Imagine” by John Lennon as a starting point and he asks a question about the liveliness of utopias in today’s world, in which spirituality has become commercialized or politicized and humanistic values, human rights, equality and personal freedom have been devaluated. 


The director comes back to the psychological and spiritual New Age phenomenon and the life and creation of John Lennon, who as a “new Christ” of the hippie era suggested imagining a world without wars, countries and borders, without hate and ownership, but also without religion. 

Do New Age visions sound purely naive in our times? Is faith in an endless evolution of humanity and metaphysics a  fantasy or an eternal need of mankind? Why did the pacifistic idea fail so quickly in the 70s? Does the need for a spiritual transformation enhance in times of a crisis?



There is a wake, or maybe it is just a meeting of old dreamer friends that is like a wake?...  One of us prepared a PERFORMANCE for this occasion… LET’S TELL EACH OTHER EVERYTHING THAT WE COULD HAVE DONE AND THAT WAS ABANDONED...

Lennon’s death met with the beginning of the end of the New Age in a peculiar way and for a decade it had a religious dimension. Lennon, drawn to America with New Age, with pacifism growing like moss during the Vietnam War led by our fathers, „the living dead of an old humanity” → he became or wanted to become, even for a moment, a Warholian 15 minutes, a face, a deity of the New Age… 

Who are the people at this wake that may have never met or maybe they were friends only by the affinity of their dreams…? Andy Warhol, Thomas Bernhard, Caspar Hauser, Carl Gustav Jung, Sylvia Plath, Albert Einstein, Marilyn Ferguson – the media and creators of new human’s visions… This is only a group of random names initiating the search of a mental and literary matter entwining or penetrating this topic… 

It won’t be about a dream, nor dreamers. Not about John Lennon, nor The Beatles. Although the wake might have a connection to his (John Lennon’s or his mythical double) death → with the shot of a revolver under the doors of Dakota on the outskirts of Central Park and the symbolism of Strawberry Field… 

NEW AGE is not a sect of dreamers → Jung’s Platonic month is not a „golden flower” of a dreamer→ though, of course, in these visions and visionary ideas there is a dream of a human as a basic religious→ cultural→creative matter. Mathematics is also a creation of a dreamer… So is speculative thinking… philosophy… et cetera… The idea (and its initiation) are indispensable to save the planet.  

Are we able to answer why that faith in the transformation of humanity died? Is it possible to generate a second wave → a religious one, of the human community without faith in individual immortality?

(extracts from Krystian Lupa’s journal).



For adults only.




Co-production of  Powszechny Theater in Warsaw and Powszechny Theater in Łódź.




Premiere in Łódź: the 23rd of April 2022 during the International Festival of Plays Pleasant and Unpleasant.



Premiere in Warsaw: the 7th of May 2022, the Big Scene of Teatr Powszechny.



The show is realized within the "Prospero. Extended Theater" international project, thanks to the support of the “Creative Europe” program of the European Union.






  • This is a reckoning of the flower children, the Hippie generation, who in Lennon’s “Imagine” saw a new gospel, a new promise of a utopia, a promise of a different world that was destroyed by their own actions (...). Various heroes of this generation gather together, Janis Joplin, John Lennon appears in a vision of sorts, but also Patti Smith. On the other hand, Antonin Artaud patronizes all of that in three characters. As usual, the scale of imagination and thinking, and this holistic approach to the world in Lupa’s work are absolutely impressive. The first part of this peculiar wake that transforms into a hippie orgy, into the last eruption of the illusion of freedom, is touching. The actors of Powszechny Theater especially, particularly the female side, i.e. Anna Ilczuk who plays a character based on Susan Sontag, or Karolina Adamczyk – Janis Joplin. These are stage presences (it’s hard to call them roles), absolutely incredible and touching. And this birth of the illusion of freedom rings out fantastically. (...). This is still a very, very important show, still, a view of the world, philosophy, thinking, and disappointment in reality – inaccessible to other Polish creators, at least the theatrical ones. That’s why you can’t talk about the theatre of 2022 and the theatre of this season without this show (Jacek Wakar, Nowy Tygodnik Kulturalny)
  • The reckonings with the past are uncompromising. Full of tension, ironic dialogues balance between the arguments that the hippie movement, drugs, and total freedom allowed people to get free from the patriarchal and violent society, but it also had its shadows and victims. You can’t be a “drugged up kid” your whole life, everyone has the right to create the life they want. Also, hippies had their own sins of conceit and egoism, that’s why they compare themselves to communists. Lupa draws up a paradoxical dilemma with care – in order to realize an anti-totalitarian utopia, violence bigger than totalitarianism might be necessary. But finally, the hippies still have something to refer back to, while the dream expressed in “Imagine” that we are watching, is still current especially when Putin started a brutal war. An encouragement to make these dreams come true is also the famous comeback of The Beatles when these arguing musicians defeated their divisions and performed a historical concert on the roof. That energy is still alive. We feel it watching the ecstatic performance of „Don’t Let Me Down” (Jacek Cieślak, „Rzeczpospolita”)
  • By referring to John Lennon’s “Imagine”, Lupa is once more trying to face our current reality and the ways of experiencing it – usually severe and painful ones, but also those that occasionally touch upon the banality of everyday life. We can’t always escape it in our lives. The ailment, or maybe even the depressiveness of the director makes us experience is extremely tempting theatrically and it creates a perspective for more or less conspiratorial testing activities. The poetics of composed images, in which we reflect on what our world would be like without borders, wars, or God, somehow demanding recognition, also favours the process of finding the truth about the supra-individual spiritual condition of man. Experiences on various levels of interpretation – individual, existential, and polyphonic – are given a strong voice and they intertwine with each other in “Imagine”. As a consequence, Lupa’s scenic world spills out of its frame in a way, with each next participant of the meeting (including Janis Joplin - Karolina Adamczyk, Patti Smith - mesmerizing Marta Zięba, Timothy Leary – Julian Świeżewski, Susan Sontag – Anna Ilczuk) arranged by Antonin (Artaud - a role of Grzegorz Artman, filled with inner focus) that with each minute gets denser and denser, spreading in this scenic matter in a rapid, untamed, at moments even hysterical way  (Wiesław Kowalski, Teatr dla Wszystkich)
  • Krystian Lupa in “Imagine” takes his audience on a journey on a road that goes in multiple directions, in circles, and it doesn’t leave any illusions: this is a show about a grand disillusion, as today we are closer to a disaster than to a utopian world without wars and religions, that Lennon was singing about. In “Imagine” the artistic icons of the counterculture of the 60s are an excuse to talk about the present and even the future of our species. (...). In his show, Lupa asks the eternal questions of intellectuals: are humanism and humanity possible after Auschwitz (although we know now that now the reference point is mass graves in the east of Ukraine), is it possible to change the paradigm – becoming free of the male “asshole of war”, or what makes a person burn themselves in an act of protest (...). “Imagine” is the most levelled, ironic, and self-ironic show Lupa has done in years, it’s packed with specific humour, that delicately shifts the centre of gravity and allows the director and the actors to mock themselves. (...). Andrzej Kłak’s role is an absolute masterpiece of stage magnetism, the frame of the first part and the entirety of the second one of “Imagine” rely on him, and looking at his previous parts in Lupa’s shows I can boldly call the actor “The Best Neurotic of Polish Theater”. Yes, this is a compliment. (...). Krystian Lupa strongly shows that there is hardly anyone better that could manage the scenic metaphor of decay in Polish theatre. Search, but you will not find them (Marta Zdanowska,
  • Definitely, the strongest message to the imagination and heart of the Viewer is sent by a character created by outstanding Julian Świeżewski, who uses his suggestive and expressive interpretation in his role and gives the possibility of multiple and diverse experiencing and discovering of the power that his words hold. Hypnotizing movements, an excellent monologue about sexuality, magnetising charm and the power of the character stay in your memory for a long time after the show ends. His strength is in the calm and certainty he uses to articulate his truths, but also in the lightness and charm that accompany the ideals and demeanour of this character. It’s a big thing, not necessarily common on the Polish stage. How to charm the Viewer with control? Świeżewski shows just that. Bravo (Katarzyna Batarowska, Dziennik Teatralny)
  • „Imagine" is a symbol title. On one hand, it is the title of the pacifist-dreamer groups’ anthem, on the other, it is a way of creating a dreamlike show, however, it is also a suggestion that what the viewer will experience during the show is an attempt at projecting the events happening inside of the main character’s head. From the very first moments, Lupa’s show is a tasteful puzzle. (...). A phenomenal cast. The play is incredible from the production side – the use of the scenography, lights and screens gives the space of the stage additional dimensions – it really is a magical spectacle (Agnieszka Borelowska, Dziennik Teatralny)
Teatr Powszechny
im. Zygmunta Hübnera
ul. Jana Zamoyskiego 20
03-801 Warszawa
tickets 22 818 25 16
22 818 48 19