Polish national drama Forefathers' Eve, directed by Michał Zadara and produced by the Polski Theatre in Wrocław, was staged for the first time in China.
Polish theatre continues to conquer Chinese stages. After a huge success of Krystian Lupa's Woodcutters/ Holzfällen, which was watched by key figures of Chinese culture and widely commented in the media, in summer 2015 the Polski Theatre in Wrocław returned to China with the new production of Forefathers' Eve (part I, II and IV) directed by the young but increasingly renowned Michał Zadara.
The play, on show from July 31st to August 2nd (three performances), opened the Beijing People's Art Theatre International Festival – a selection of foreign productions presented in Beijing People's Art Theatre (BPAT), one of Beijing' best-regarded theatres. On this occasion, a resumed edition of Mickiewicz's drama was issued in China.
The play received an enthusiastic reception from Chinese audiences and positive reviews.
For leading actor Bartosz Porczyk, the role of Gustaw was a feat of memorization as well as artistic virtue, requiring more than six months to master the play's 1600 lines or so of poetry, and almost one-hundred minute's worth of soliloquy. Yet he holds the audience spellbound with his singing and acting, taking them on a rich and varied emotional journey that - notwithstanding the play's melancholic themes - elicits a lot of laughter and applause along the way. [...] The journey may be long for Chinese audiences, but like all epic tales, this one is worth the wait. (Qi Wei, "The most important play of Polish literature hits Beijing", CCTV.com)
Forefathers' Eve is a Romantic period play by the poet Adam Mickiewicz. Often called 'the Polish national drama', it consists of four seemingly unconnected parts exploring such themes as spirituality, patriotism and love. Despite its impact on Polish culture and national identity, it has never been staged unabridged. Zadara is the first ever director to do so. His version, apart from truthfulness to the original, is characterized by a fresh and occasionally even humorous approach to the venerated classic.