Wroclaw's Contemporary Theatre now offer the chance for culture lovers to get their teeth stuck into some local on-stage productions thanks to the addition of English subtitles.
Tired of pub-crawls and clubbing? Want to actually experience some cultural enlightenment in Wrocław? Then this could just be the thing for you: once a month Wrocław Contemporary Theatre are presenting plays with English subtitles. Every performance is also followed by a discussion, conducted both in Polish and English (there’s an on-site translator to help you out).
The first thing you'll probably wonder about (as it was with me before attending the “President’s suit”) is how can it be possible to attach subtitles to a play? Don’t worry – the stage is equipped with two displays screening the subs. They’re quite aligned with the words of actors, so everything is synchronised well and there’s no lag.
In terms of spectacle, as a foreigner but also as an ardent theatre-goer – these plays are something definitely worth trying. Here’s why: first of all, though seemingly similar, the live theatrical performance is a truly different kind of experience to watching a movie in a cinema. Here you can feel the spirit, the energy and the vibes that actors send to the audience. The scope of emotions these plays evoke are far more varied and deeply meaningful live on stage compared to a lifeless screen.
Now onto the play itself. The "President’s suit" is a highly symbolic play that not only illustrates the current Polish reality but also touches upon a multitude of universals. What is really important in life? What is the role of media and politics and how are we affected by them? Why do people stay detached from each other? What is the role of habit and mediocrity? and so much more.
Some of the quotes in the play are so insightful and revealing that they seem to penetrate into your consciousness and haunt you for weeks thereafter: “Humans are like swine. They get used to everything.”
Although that may sound rather bleak, the play is in no way despairing or hopeless. Analytic? Yes. Blatantly painful? Yes. But it still leaves you with the food for thought, as opposed to a a feeling of hopelessness.
The “President’s suit” has lots of humorous moments too and there's never any time for boredom to creep in – the decorations, costumes, lighting, music and enchanting dances all contribute to its symbolism and pull the audience deeper into the story.
If you feel like you need a fresh perspective, need to feel alive again and experience a whole range of emotions – don’t hesitate to visit the upcoming performances on March 22 (“Walentina. The Last Human Dog”) and April 5 (“Gwiazda”). The tickets can be bought online (via the links highlighted in the last sentence) or at the theatre’s cash desk. The price is 32 zł for a standard ticket and 24 zł for concessions.
One last (but crucial) thing to mention is something I've learned from my personal bitter experience; folks, don’t dare be late. And I mean it. Show up 2 minutes late and you’ll be refused entry. So be sure to arrive in plenty of time, you can even pass the time before the show by relaxing with a cup of coffee and cheesecake in the dinner playhouse.