For the first time in history a performance directed by Krystian Lupa was staged at the festivals both in Korea and in Japan. His production Woodcutters opened the Seoul Performing Arts Festival and later was the central event of the Festival/Tokyo.
With the surge of popularity of Polish theatre in China, triggered by the successful stagings of works by the acclaimed theatre director Krystian Lupa, his performance Woodcutters was presented twice at 2016 Seoul Performing Arts Festival (SPAF) in South Korea and three times in the Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre, the main stage of the Festival/Tokyo (F/T) in Japan. Other Polish theatre directors, who had previously presented their works at the SPAF, include Krzysztof Warlikowski, whose (A)pollonia was very well received in Seoul, Krzysztof Garbaczewski with The Odyssey (both shown in 2012), as well as Ewelina Marciniak, who brought her performance Crime to Korea in 2013. Woodcutters was not only Lupa's first performance shown at the F/T, but also the first ever Polish production to be staged at this festival.
Woodcutters is the award-winning and critically acclaimed play based on the novel by Austrian author and playwright Thomas Bernhard, performed by the actors of the Polski Theatre in Wrocław. The play's plot takes place over a dinner shared by old friends from an informal art group. The gathering soon turns into a funeral meal after the death of one of the protagonists. In the play, Lupa raises questions about the relationship between the authorities and the artist, and between the artist and their career. The production has been presented both in Poland and abroad, including stagings at the prestigious Avignon Theatre Festival in and China (Tianjin and Beijing, 2014), where it instantly aroused great interest of the audience and the media. It also sparked a heated discussion among the Chinese intellectuals on the role of culture, cultural elites and theatre in China.
Seoul Performing Arts Festival (SPAF) is an event dedicated to contemporary theatre, dance, music and interdisciplinary arts, every year hosting world's most renowned directors, artists and theatre experts. Considered one of the most important theatre festivals in Asia and the trendsetting event for the contemporary performing arts, SPAF attracts massive attention of both Korean and foreign audiences and the media.
Festival/Tokyo (F/T) is the most important event showcasing Japanese and international productions in the field of performing arts. F/T 2016 is the ninth edition of the festival. Staging about 30 superb performances from Japan and around the world, the festival also features film screenings, installations, symposia, lectures and meetings with artists. F/T is one of the most recognized cultural events in Tokyo, highly valued by both residents of the Japanese capital, as well as by international theatre circles.
written by: EP, 4 Aug 2016, translated by: AW, source: press materials