21 October 2011 Literature and theatre

This year's edition of the Festival will present the latest performance by Jan Klata – Koprofagi, czyli znienawidzeni, ale niezbędni – based on  Joseph Conrad's Under Western Eyes and The Secret Agent. The latter was finished by Conrad in 1907, in more or less the middle of his most creative times. The novel treats of an Englishman with the French name of Verloc, a secret agent of some foreign embassy working as a salesman to avoid recognition. The protagonist is commissioned with a task, an idiotic act of terror designed to shock the world with its purely destructive absurdity – to blow up an observatory in Greenwich. Eventually, the mentally handicapped brother of Mrs. Verloc – innocent as a lamb – is killed as a result of the attack while the alleged perpetrator of the assassination attempt, Mr. Verloc, comes out intact. The other text by Conrad that Klata used in his performance – Under Western Eyes – tells the story of a circle of Russian revolutionists and anarchists in Petersburg and Switzerland.

“While writing about his time, Conrad revealed something very important about our time,” claims Klata. “He describes a world torn by a wave of terror and great transformations. A world where evil is done. As some wise person once said –history might not repeat but it does rhyme. This is one of the reasons why we worked with these particular texts. In the 19th century, we also had terrorist attacks with people killed and buildings blown up. This world is familiar to us, and so it may be worth talking about it.” The director then adds: “Conrad’s protagonists seek to shake the foundations of the world, as they do not see a place for themselves within the system that channels any protest. They want to radically change this system, without really knowing what to put in its place. It seems to me that the desire to destroy is grounded in a noble impulse.”

The performance Koprofagi, czyli znienawidzeni, ale niezbędni will be presented at 5.30 pm on the 2nd day of the Festival (Thursday) at the Stary Theatre.