Queuing up for culture

30 Apr

The Facebook page of the Gdansk Shakespeare Theatre said: “Entrance will be opened from 8:30 pm to 10:oo pm”. I arrived at the theatre’s building site at 7:45, so that I’d have time to take pictures of Will’s birthday cakes. There were 5 cakes, for all the birthday guests. But even though I arrived so early, much too early, I wasn’t the first person there. A small queue was already forming in front of the entrance to the building site. After the candles on the cakes had been lit at 8:20, and we all had sung Happy Birthday, we were watching the growing crowd.

“What are they queuing up for?”, asked Ania.

“For culture” – Karol’s answer was perfectly accurate.

This short dialogue perfectly depicts what was going on. A huge queue for culture. Some people had to wait 2 hours to see the performance of Hamlet Transgatunkowy (Transgeneric Hamlet),  and they were patiently waiting. All these people who showed up in Gdansk to see Hamlet on Shakespeare’s birthday proved that Tricity is culturally active. Among the dense crowd of guests, next to me there was a little girl. She couldn’t be more than 5 years old. When her mom gave her a piece of Shakespeare’s birthday cake, the little girl asked, “Mom, who is that Shakespeare person?”. I just had to smile when I heard that. The little girl and her mom were trying to get out of the crowd, and the mom said, “Let’s go, I’ll tell who Shakespeare was”. I guess there are people for whom Shakespeare can throw a birthday party 😉

Hamlet Transgatunkowy

After a while, we finally got a chance to see the performance ourselves. It wasn’t just an ordinary performance, it was a whole artistic project prepared by Robert Florczak. The show combined the actual scenes performed by actors on the stage, and 3D screening on the theatre’s walls. The actors performing on 4 stages (each stage was assigned to one act) were talking to the characters that were shown on the walls. That was something new, definitely very interesting. And it was dark and cold, and I did happen to slip on mud and step into a puddle, but I only realised that after I’d left the building site.

During the show, I was always standing as close to the stage as possible and I was just admiring the play. I don’t think I could experience something like that in a theatre. In act III, there was a short performance with dancers, who played the actors hired by Hamlet. Krzysztof Leon Dziemaszkiewicz, a performer well-known to most of the people living in Tricity, was really amazing. The character presented by Leon was poisoned. And so he was dying exactly in front of my eyes. On the edge of the stage, less than 2 metres away from me. Even though I did know it was just acting, for a brief moment I felt like jumping onto the stage to help him. It was really an extraordinary experience to be so close to the stage, being almost able to touch the magic of it.

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