The Sexual Life of Savages

Krzysztof Garbaczewski

First warsaw theatrical project of Krzysztof Garbaczewski.

Premiere: 14.04.2011 Play duration: 2 hours

First warsaw theatrical project of Krzysztof Garbaczewski.

Premiere: 14.04.2011 Play duration: 2 hours

The Sexual Life of Savages is a theatrical project prepared by Nowy Teatr and realized by Krzysztof Garbaczewski and Marcin Cecko based on legendary anthropological text of Bronisław Malinowski and his journals. The pioneering anthropological work has never been explored by using artistic approach. The goal is not to stage his writings but rather to confront his observations and relate them to our sensitivity, the present taboos and erotic boundaries.

Anthropology which is a relatively young science, builds its status quo on the Other, the Alien, or as anthropology precursors called it, on the Savage, which became fascination and negative reflection of the developing mass and computer culture in XX century. However as it is shown in life, writings and analysis of the Savages, it comes at a high price – the primitive tribes go down with many illnesses and die out after the first contact. In Baudrillard’s words: The paradox of anthropology is that it kills object of the research. At the beginning of XX century Europe needed the Savage figure to maintain its identity and reassure itself that it had chosen the right trend in civilization development. Can we confirm today it was indeed right choice? And where shall we place the Savage figure?

Bronisław Malinowski twice played a substantial part in shaping global anthropology. First as an untiring scholar when he developed fieldwork method and the concept of functionalism. His monographs shocked with their focus on details and understanding of foreign cultures. Later, A Diary in the Strict Sense of the Term, published posthumously, shook the foundations of ethnology. Malinowski’s objective description turned out to be a prepared narration as diaries revealed demons haunting Malinowski forever i.e. racism, loneliness, eurocentrism.

Krzysztof Garbaczewski is one of the most talented representatives of the youngest generation of directors. His productions in significant and experimenting theatrical centres in Poland (Wrocław, Opole, Wałbrzych) gained recognition of critics and have been presented at many Polish theatre festivals. It is rather difficult to categorize them as traditional theatre pieces. The theatrical installations - a term used by the director himself seems to be more appropriate. They always create different kind of the encounter and exploration of the theatre substance through improvisations with text and experience of corporeality and physical presence of the actor. They are rebel, cyberpunk, full of disagreement with conformism of the present world and theatrical appropriateness.

The Sexual Life of Savages is a third premiere made in collaboration with Marcin Cecko, author of stage adaptations and playwright. Marcin Cecko, a performer and poet, co-author of Neo-linguistic manifesto - a widely commented voice of young penmen which redefined literary work in the context of electronic media, copyleft and performance studies; in his textual actions clashes two distanced language registers: scholarly discourse, primordial sound language, poetry, figurative language, physiology and science-fiction language.

Garbaczewski and a group of brave, uncompromising actors follow the track of open theatre algorithm set around extraordinary personage of Malinowski, confronting him with postcolonial awareness and vision of possible future society. Savages studied by Malinowski here represent a futuristic tribe discovering its primordiality via radical application of modern network technologies.

The Sexual Life of Savages is a fantasy about the wild children of the future for whom the natural environment is silicon, carbon nano-pipes and wind rustling in databases rather than in trees.

The aim of the project is to bring Malinowski’s work closer through artistic instead of scholarly discourse. It is all about looking on it and analysing with theatre and visual means. Checking what kind of bold theses work in the civilization older by several dozen years of intensive development. Creation of the language of dialogue with the text from before several dozen years particularly vital for the development of civilization, and offering a new opportunity for savage to function in contemporary society. The goal is to work out original theatre poetics and pose a question about the place of savage in postmodern reality. The idea is savage by nature, situating Krzysztof Garbaczewski’s action within counterculture.

At the same tame the project aims at revealing dark sides of Malinowski’s work and his attitude to the subject of his studies, described in details in the anthropologist’s diaries.

The undertaking seems to be keeping with the attitude of the Nowy Teatr Art Director, Krzysztof Warlikowski, who keeps searching for new forms of interaction and dialogue with audience, different than traditional theatre approaches.



  • Director: Krzysztof Garbaczewski
  • Script, dramaturgy: Marcin Cecko
  • The Island: Aleksandra Wasilkowska
  • Music: Jan Duszyński
  • Costumes: Ania Kuczyńska / Andrzej Sobolewski
  • Assistant Director: Liubov Gorobiuk


  • Justyna Białowąs,
  • Dominika Biernat,
  • Wiktoria Gorodeckaja,
  • Sebastian Łach,
  • Jacek Poniedziałek,
  • Paweł Smagała,
  • Maciej Stuhr,
  • Krzysztof Zarzecki

Production: Nowy Teatr
Coproduction: CSW Zamek Ujazdowski, Festiwal TEMPS D’IMAGES

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