Under the Influence

Maja Kleczewska / Silesian Theatre

  • Theatre
  • Spanish premiere
  • Country: Polonia
  • Language: Polish (with Spanish surtitles)
  • Approximate duration: 1 hour and 45 minutes
  • Year of Production: 2018
Director: Maja Kleczewska
Writing: Łukasz Chotkowski
Stage design: Łukasz Chotkowski and Maja Kleczewska
Set construction: Marcel Sławiński and Katarzyna Sobańska (MIKSS)
Costume: Konrad Parol
Music: Cezary Duchnowski
Cinematography and lights: Kacper Fertacz
Light operator: Maria Machowska
Film editing: Artur Rej and Przemysław Chruścielewski
Film scenes lighting: Bartek Gburek
Film sound: Piotr Gburek and Michał Sendek
Cameras: Kamil Małecki, Andrzej Sepioł
Cello: Daria Kasprzak
Assistant directors: Anna Mazurek and Zbigniew Wróbel
Stage assistants: Dominika Żłobińska, Marta Wieczorek and Maciej Czuchryta
Stage manager and prompter: Kaśka Dudek
Executive producer: Małgorzata Długowska-Błach
Photographer: Magda Hueckel
Poster: Joanna Górska and Jerzy Skakun (HOMEWORK)
Starring: Sandra Korzeniak (Mabel), Piotr Bułka (Nick), Anna Kadulska (Nick's mother), Ewa Leśniak (Mabel's mother), Andrzej Dopierała (lover), Antoni Gryzik (Mabel's father), Wiesław Kupczak (Olaf), Arkadiusz Machel (Arek), Marek Rachoń (Shrink), Artur Święs (Artur), Andrzej Warcaba (Andrzej), Zbigniew Wróbel (Zbyszek), Mateusz Znaniecki (Mateusz / rabbit), Kamil Małecki and Piotr Januszkiewicz (cameramen), Kaśka Dudek (Tina), Mariusz Konieczny (Mariusz), Sebastian Krysiak (Sebastian), Piotr Stanusz (Piotr), and Liwia Dziurosz, Igor Karaszewski, Julia Tudzierz and Aniela Tudzierz (children)
The presentation of Under the Influence in Madrid is supported by the Polish Institute of Culture
A beautiful piece of theatre. Kleczewska creates intense moments of oddity, curiosity and surprise”.
The Theatre Times, Rem Myers

In 2017, the Polish director Maja Kleczewska, a student of Kristyan Lupa, received one of most prestigious theatre awards in Europe: the Silver Lion awarded at the Biennale di Venezia. It was a tribute to the career of one of the most noteworthy and audacious personalities of contemporary Polish theatre. Her work reinterprets the classics but doesn't hesitate to mix them up with kitsch and popular culture, focusing above all, on the search for identity and human beings' inability to find their place in the world, always through extreme situations and painful topics: infanticide, corruption, sexual identity, body obsession, or as is the case in this work, Under the Influence presented for the first time in Spain at the 37th Autumn Festival, on mental instability and its abysses.

Kleczewska's work is influenced by none other than the 1974 film A Woman Under the Influence by John Cassavetes, a pioneer of independent American cinema who, along with his protagonist and wife Gena Rowlands, captured on film the mental state of a housewife crushed under the weight of family ties and the social pressures of the day. The film which won the Golden Globe for Best Actress and received two Oscar nominations was derived from Cassavetes' own experience and unleashed a moving torrent of emotions and is one of the most true to life and committed depictions of mental disorders.

KKleczewska transfers the central character's madness to an industrial city and an extremely masculine workplace. Mabel is a woman who cares for her home and her children. She tries to accept her situation and opens herself up emotionally to her husband, but he doesn't reciprocate. Her lack of connection with reality and her perception of the dogmatic "normal world" and family will slowly take her to the edge of madness.

Sandra Korzeniak –who played Marilyn Monroe in Krystian Lupa's Persona. Marilyn– is victorious in her comparison to the film's protagonist. She embodies an unforgettable character, painfully marked by the brutality of the world and of men. The audience travels with her to a disconcerting interior world not just through the close camera shots that invite us to discover what happened behind the curtains and in the woman's psyche, but also through the music composed by Donizetti and Catalani and sung by the Polish singer Agata Zubel, which completes the powerful staging of this show. "An unquestionable hit", declares Vogue.

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