Kabaret warszawski

Krzysztof Warlikowski

Krzysztof Warlikowski’s project is inspired by John Van Druten’s play I Am a Camera and John Cameron Mitchell’s film Shortbus.

Premiere: 23.09.2013 English subtitles Play duration: 5 hours with a break

Krzysztof Warlikowski’s project is inspired by John Van Druten’s play I Am a Camera and John Cameron Mitchell’s film Shortbus.

Premiere: 23.09.2013 English subtitles Play duration: 5 hours with a break

The two distinct historical realities channeled here – Weimar Germany prior to the Nazi takeover, and post-9/11 New York – are virtual laboratories of time and space, in which historical circumstances bring out hidden and repressed fears, as well as sexual and erotic phobias and longing that cause tension and lead to all sorts of crisis situations.

These two worlds serve as a mirror in which the Warsaw of today can see itself. In bringing together these two eras and places, the director explores the limits or restrictions on freedom in today’s world. In an age of uniformity and oppressive normalization, imposed partly in the name of collective security, people’s right to be themselves and their freedom of self-expression are increasingly curtailed and undermined. Consequently, societal norms are becoming a prison of sorts. These restrictions can only be circumvented in closed, all-but-underground spaces to which only insiders are admitted. Theatre is one such space. With this production, Warlikowski, notorious for engaging his spectators in an unending debate about the issues that matter most, has chosen to work within the genre of cabaret, whose basic assumptions include addressing spectators directly and breaking the convention of the fourth wall separating performers from their audience. Cabaret is by definition a space of freedom, governed by the misrule of a never-ending carnival.

With Kabaret warszawski, the team of Nowy Teatr confronts diverse scenarios of oppression. The play portrays a group of artists who exist for the sake of art. But art proves fatal for its acolytes, infusing them with doubt and making life impossible. In creating a therapeutic space where fears and taboos can be Warlikowski shows the threats and oppression that inevitably accrue around such enclaves. 

Co-financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage.



Guest cast

  • Hiroaki Murakami
  • Roman Gancarczyk
  • Monika Niemczyk


  • Stage direction: Krzysztof Warlikowski
  • Adaptation: Krzysztof Warlikowski, Piotr Gruszczyński, Szczepan Orłowski
  • Dramaturgy: Piotr Gruszczyński 
  • Set design: Małgorzata Szczęśniak
  • Music: Paweł Mykietyn
  • Light design: Felice Ross 
  • Choreography: Claude Bardouil
  • Animation: Kamil Polak


  • Stanisława Celińska / Monika Niemczyk
  • Magdalena Cielecka
  • Ewa Dałkowska
  • Małgorzata Hajewska-Krzysztofik
  • Maja Ostaszewska / Jaśmina Polak
  • Magdalena Popławska
  • Claude Bardouil
  • Andrzej Chyra
  • Bartosz Gelner / Hiroaki Murakami
  • Wojciech Kalarus
  • Redbad Klijnstra
  • Zygmunt Malanowicz Roman Gancarczyk
  • Piotr Polak
  • Jacek Poniedziałek
  • Maciej Stuhr


  • Paweł Bomert
  • Piotr Maślanka
  • Paweł Stankiewicz
  • Fabian Włodarek


  • Festival d’Avignon
  • Les Theatres de la Ville de Luxembourg
  • Theatre National de Chaillot, Paris
  • Theatre de la Place, Liege
  • La Comedie de Clermont-Ferrand
  • Narodowy Instytut Audiowizualny 

The texts used in the show listed below:

  • Justin Vivian Bond Tango. My Childhood, Backwards and in High Heels translated by Jacek Poniedziałek. © Copyright by Justin Vivian Bond, 2011 Published in 2011 by The Feminist Press at the City University of New York. © Copyright for the Polish translation by Grupa Wydawnicza Foksal, 2013. The book translated by Jacek Poniedziałek was published by Grupa WydawniczaFoksal in 2013.
  • John Maxwell Coetzee Age of Iron translated by Anna Mysłowska. © Copyright by J. M. Coetzee, 1983
  • John Maxwell Coetzee Life and Times of Michael K. translated by Magdalena Konikowska. © Copyright by J. M. Coetzee, 1990. By arrangement with Peter Lampack Agency 551 5th Avenue, Suite 1613, New York, NY 10176-0187 USA
  • John Van Druten I Am a Camera translated by Piotr Gruszczyński – the adaptation of Goodbye to Berlin by Christopher Isherwood. © Copyright by The Estate of John Van Druten. © Copyright by The Estate of Christopher Isherwood
  • Jonathan Littell The Kindly Ones translated by Katarzyna Kamińska-Maurugeon. © Copyright by Jonathan Littell, 2006. © Copyright for Polish translation by Wydawnictwo Literackie, 2008
  • John Cameron Mitchell Shortbus translated by Piotr Gruszczyński. © Copyright by Safeword Productions, LLC

The texts quoted in the show:

  •  Ingmar Bergman The Serpent’s Egg
  • Fryderyk Járosy Proszę państwa
  • Tony Kushner The Bright Room Called Day
  • Fryderyk Nietzsche The Case of Wagner translated by Stanisław Gromadzki
  • Patti Smith Just Kids

Music used in the show:

  • Oh, du shöner Westerwald lyrics: Willi Münker, music: Joseph Neuhäuser
  • O du, mein holder Abendstern aria from the opera Tannhauser Richard Wagner
  • Big Spender lyrics: Dorothy Fields, music: Cy Coleman
  • Das Rheingold Richard Wagner – the excerpt of the overture
  • Halaila lyrics and music: Yitzy Waldner
  • My Funny Valentine lyrics: Lorenz Hart, music: Richard Rodgers
  • Ca c’est Paris lyrics and music: J.Padilla, F.Pearly, L.Boyer, J.Charles
  • Je T'aime,...Moi Non Plus lyrics and music: Serge Gainsbourg
  • Time to Say Goodbye music: Francesco Sartori, Lucio Quarantotto, Frank Peterson
  • Wenn ich mir was wunschen durfte lyrics and music: Friedrich Hollaender
  • Musica para los jameos del agua music: Samuel Aguilar
  • Hallelujah lyrics and music: Leonard Cohen
  • Everything In Its Right Place lyrics and music: Radiohead
  • The National Anthem lyrics and music: Radiohead
  • Kid A lyrics and music: Radiohead
  • How to Disappear Completely lyrics and music: Radiohead
  • Treefingers music: Radiohead
  • Motion Picture Soundtrack lyrics and music: Radiohead
  • Menuet music: Jan Sebastian Bach
  • Aus Den 6 ländlerischen Tänzen KV 606 Wolfgang Amadeusz Mozart

Photograph: Ullstein Bild www.ullsteinbild.de

The grant project "New without barriers", financed as part of the "Culture without barriers" project implemented by the State Fund for Rehabilitation of Disabled Persons under Measure 4.3 of the Operational Program Knowledge Education Development 2014-2020.


    • Gdynia 3-6 July 2013, Festiwal Open’er
    • Awinion 19-25 July 2013, Festival d’Avignon
    • Wrocław 16-17 October 2013, Międzynardowy Festiwal Teatralny Dialog
    • Kraków 14-15 December 2013, Międzynarodowy Festiwal Teatralny Boska Komedia
    • Paris 7-14 February 2014, Theatre National de Chaillot
    • Luksemburg 6-7 March 2014, Les Theatres de la Ville de Luxembourg
    • Liege 13-15 March 2014, Le Theatre de la Place
    • Clermont-Ferrand 3-4 April 2014, La Comedie de Clermont-Ferrand
    • Munich 24-26 June 2014, Munich Opera Festival
    • Wilno 10-11 October 2016, Festiwal Sirenos

See also

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