Imagine – by Krystian Lupa

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).

This performance is recommended for adult audiences.

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.

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), direction, script and scenography: Krystian Lupa, music: Bogumił Misala, costume design: Piotr Skiba, costume design assistant: Aleksandra Harasimowicz, production managers: Michalina Żemła, Karolina Pawłoś, video: Joanna Kakitek, Natan Berkowicz, director’s assistants: Dawid Kot, Jan Kamiński, stage manager: Iza Stolarska

A coproduction of Teatr Powszechny im. Zygmunta Hübnera in Warsaw and Teatr Powszechny in Łódź.

Biography

Krystian Lupa – renowned Polish theatre director, set designer and writer, considered as the one of the greatest European directors. His last works are “Capri – the Island of Fugitives” in Teatr Powszechny in Warsaw (2019) and “Austerlitz” in Meno Fortas Theatre in Vilnius (2020). Lupa is a master at creating internally coherent stage realities. He often translates and adapts the texts which he stages, simultaneously designing the scenery and directing these productions. The quality of Lupa’s theatre derives from strong acting, which is often deemed “invisible” or “transparent”, made so by actors who unite almost completely with the characters they play. He was awarded with numerous prominent awards which include Leon Schiller Award (1992), Europe Theatre Prize (2009), Nestroy Theatre Prize (2014), Golden Cross of the Stage Award (2016).

© Marianna Kulesza

© Marianna Kulesza