set design and costumes Anna Maria Karczmarska
music Daniel Pigoński
lighting design Jacqueline Sobiszewski
dramaturg Łukasz Wojtysko
cast: Magdalena Kuta, Maria Maj, Agnieszka Podsiadlik, Janusz Chabior, Jan Dravnel, Lech Łotocki, Rafał Maćkowiak, Sebastian Pawak, Tomasz Tyndyk
Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz (aka Witkacy) wrote Metaphysics of a Two-Headed Calf in 1921. Seven years earlier together with Bronisław Malinowski he had set off on a journey to Australia and Papua New Guinea where he was to be in charge of the photographic documentation of ethnological research conducted by his friend. He fled Poland to escape from himself and from Europe whose culture, in his opinion, was perishing. Leaving for the Antipodes was to bring solace to Witkacy. However – probably to his regret – he never ceased to be a tormented, modern, white man. He returned to the old continent already in the same year.
In the context of Metaphysics it is the modern, white man who is like the two-headed calf in the title. In the close to Witkacy Carpathian region the birth of a two-headed calf had always been treated as an omen of crisis. After 280 days of pregnancy, the effect of which was just one offspring, a monster came to the world. A mysterious, treated as the embodiment of evil, animal was attracting special interest. The monster with four eyes died fast, leaving behind a deformed body and an economic gap. It took at least next nine months before another bread-winner appeared
As the title Metaphysics of a Two-Headed Calf suggests, the subject of Witkacy’s text is to the same extent the monstrosity of life as the monstrosity of death and its circumstances. Freaks and monsters cannot be removed from human life. Each such effort ends in failure. They come back even more persistent and stronger than any human being.
The story takes place in Papua New Guinea (Port Moresby) and in Australia (Sydney and a desert in the vicinity of Karlgoorlie). Parents of Karmazyniello, the protagonist of ”Metaphysics”, moved there many years back, leaving without sentiment the declining Europe. However, living in the outback turned out to be equally exhausting. We can see them try for the last time and at any price to regain control over their life. This happens because the parents’ world died and the rules it was bound by were broken, the parents contributed to the breach, too.
Karmazyniello is the representative of the first generation that came into the world in the exotic surroundings. He is accompanied by: Ludwik and Mirabella Parvis and also Jack Daniels. They are the ones who fight their parents’ hypocrisy and believe in the possibility of creating of a new social order, based on Papuan models. Being aware of their status of a culture wreck they defend their identity. The identity of a monster. After all, family is the mire one needs to get out from, death be the price.
Łukasz Wojtysko, dramaturg