Lodz of Four Culture and Juliusz Slowacki Theatre in Krakow PREMIERE
written by Malina Prześluga | directed by Piotr Ratajczak
the “work in progress”
show: 12 and 13 September, 19:00
Art_Inkubator in Fabryka Sztuki, address: Tymienieckiego 3
Kuba is an adult guy with an intellectual disability. His dreams are simple. To make everyone "good". To make the world more comprehensible and easier to get along with. The text, which could have easily become a clichéd story about the noble naivety of the protagonist from an underprivileged background, quickly reveals the traps set for the reader.
For this play, Malina Prześluga was awarded with the Gdynia Dramaturge Award 2020. The jury statement reads:
Malina Prześluga has used her experience as a children's author to write a challenging play, one definitely for adults. The fairy-tale framework of the Hundred Acre Wood, which is the foundation to the protagonist's imagination, becomes cleverly disassembled to reveal the danger and fallacy of infantilisation in our approach to intellectual disability. The author precisely and rather cruelly takes the viewer (and perhaps herself) out of the comfort zone and easy empathy by constructing a character who is neither clever nor nice, pretty, or good. At the same time, she does not offer any morals or simple solutions, she does not allow her character to be easily liked and does not succumb to the pressure of political correctness. The play resonates on several levels; it can also be read as a political text about class resentment, about the fantasies of the excluded groups, about the patronizing attitude of the privileged groups, about the sources of violence, and finally about helplessness [...].
The author uses very different rhythms and registers – everyday language and the language of political populism intertwine with poetry and the language inspired by the prose of A. A. Milne. Prześluga creates a story which is an expression of frustration growing in the face of rising inequality. At the same time, she avoids the temptation to design a social utopia. Kuba refuses to accept the world he does not understand, one that holds him back. His resistance is like a spark which soon turns into an uncontrollable fire. The protagonist, having gained total power in his fantasy, takes revenge on random people and does not avoid violence. The jury’s words prove to be extremely significant in this context:
The Moron turns from a simple story about an excluded man into a disturbing parable about the birth of evil.
After all, the 20th-century history has shown that the roots of evil are not always so clear.
The way in which a person with an intellectual disability is portrayed in the play may be controversial. Prześluga does not, however, claim to create a faithful portrait of the feelings, motivations and behaviour of a disabled person. Kuba’s appearance and behaviour are repulsive, because these are traits projected onto him by the polarised, antagonised society. The author presents double exclusion – one related to disability and the other connected with poverty – but she does not claim the exclusive right to a realistic approach. On the contrary, the text is not dominated by a “centrifugal” perspective, but by a “centripetal” one – we do get to know Kuba’s inner world, but this perspective is consciously mediated by the perspective of a healthy person, the perspective of the “onlooker”. Indeed, the protagonist is repulsive, disgusting, frustrated, aggressive, and at the same time he is infantile – that is because we often project such traits onto marginalised groups that can be included in the scapegoat mechanism. Kuba functions somewhere on the edge of the average consciousness of a reasonably well-educated and well-paid middle-class person. It is a world we prefer not to see: a world of unfashionably dressed people, greasy hair, sloppy soups and the intro of the local version of Married with Children rumbling from the TV set. These are environments that many better-off people tend to look own on with a condescending eye – and the author deliberately exploits this attitude and reinforces it by playing with stereotypes. Kuba gives in to his phantasm of absolute power precisely because in his life he is treated as the "moron". After all, in the place of a person with a disability you can put a representative of any excluded group – the underlying message of the text will remain the same.
The Moron may, and should, arouse strong and varied emotions in readers and potential audience, but it is worth bearing in mind that it is a text in whic
h the main character functions within the structure of the drama as a certain figure meant to expose the mechanisms of exclusion, including those seemingly transparent ones. This multi-level text can be read as a very meaningful allegory.
After the Sunday performance, we invite you to join a discussion on Malina Prześluga’s play.
PREMIERE: 8th of October Juliusz Slowacki Theatre in Krakow
Director: Piotr Ratajczak
Scenography and costumes: Marcin Chlanda
Music: Tomasz Lewandowski
Stage movement: Arkadiusz Buszko and Aleksandra Osowicz
Bożena Adamek – Kanga, Mother
Alina Szczegielniak – Piglet, Auntie Staszka
Dominika Fejglewicz – Rabbit
Rafał Szumera – Winnie-the-Pooh, Kuba
Grzegorz Łukawski – Eeyore, Father
Antoni Milancej – Christopher Robin, Maciek Andrzejak.
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