“New Athens”, the life’s work of Father Benedict Chmielowski, is a pioneering Polish encyclopaedia from the mid 18th century. Soon after his death, it became a laughing stock, considered a curiosity – the product of naivety and pseudo-scientific graphomania.
From the perspective of three centuries, however, “New Athens” may be viewed not only as a historical curiosity or a relic of the nobility’s obscurity, but as a heroic attempt to grasp and understand the world in its inexhaustible diversity – a world in which there was room for half-shadows of ignorance and mystery; where the microcosm and the macrocosm – linked by threads of correspondence – looked into each other. From this perspective, “New Athens” appears as a fascinating – and perhaps forever lost – image of the reality before the great classification and disenchantment brought by the Enlightenment reason.
The performance – based on excerpts from “New Athens”, using choreography and stage movement as a medium as important as words – is an attempt at such a look.
“New Athens” was prepared with the participation of students of the Dance Theatre Department of the State Higher School of Theatre in Bytom within the framework of the project of the ,,Gardzienice” Centre for Theatre Practices : ,,Generator of Hope”, premiered in October 2016 at the 6th International Festival of Wandering Theatres
The performance in the 2016 / 2017 season was presented in Gardzienice within the framework of ,,Gardzienice Theatre Marathons”, and at the State Higher School of Theatre in Kraków within the framework of the Competition for the Staging of Old Works of Polish Literature ,,Classics Alive”
Scenography / Projections: Iwona Bandzarewicz;
Photography: Iwona Bandzarewicz
Adaptation: Kajetan Mojsak, Maciej Gorczyński;
Directing: Maciej Gorczyński