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Krystian Lupa
In 1963–1969 he trained as a painter and printmaker at the ASP in Krakow, and then as director at the Higher School
of Film and Television Art in Lodz and at Krakow’s State School of Theatre Art. Having completed his education he
joined the Norwid Theatre in Jelenia Góra, where together with a group of young actors he investigated new forms of expression, and later the Teatr Stary in Krakow, where he debuted with Gombrowicz’s Ivona, Princess of Burgundy and which in 1984 became his sole workplace for many years. The Jelenia Góra years brought his Transparent Room, Dinner as well as interpretations of Witkacy’s plays: Dainty Shapes and Hairy Apes, Pragmatists, Maciej Korbowa and Bellatrix (1986). These pieces treated theatre as one of the opportunities for crossing the boundaries of human personality. Those experiments were synthesised at the Stary in The Dream City (Traumstadt) based on Alfred Kubin – a type of journey inside one’s self. His next shows produced in Krakow tackled the subject of man’s spiritual condition in the time of great cultural change: Dreamers by Musil, The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoevsky, Sketches From the Man Without Qualities based on Musil (at Krakow’s PWST), and Malte or a Prodigal Son’s Triptych based on Rilke. The Lime Works (Kalkwerk) based on Thomas Bernhard’s novel marked the beginning of Lupa’s fascination with this writer’s oeuvre (followed by Immanuel Kant in Wrocław and Ritter, Dene, Voss in the Stary), which helped explore irrational mechanisms of the human psyche. His reflection on the spiritual change of the man of European-Christian background was synthesised in the two parts of The Sleepwalkers based on Hermann Broch, whereas to refresh his mind he reached for Yasmina Reza’s “Art”, a witty, contemporary drama on the paradoxes of avantgarde aesthetics. Outside Krakow, he produced Wyspiański’s The Return of Odysseus (in Warsaw), and Bernhard’s Auslöschung – Extinction (in Warsaw) – a brilliant attempt to expose cultural distortions. After 2000, the Small Stage (Scena Kameralna) of the Stary, where all Lupa’s Krakow productions are presented and where he does laboratory work with groups of actors, saw his three grand pieces: The Master and Margarita (based on Bulgakov), Zarathustra (based on Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra and Schleef’s Nietzsche. Trilogy) and Factory 2 – a collective fantasy inspired by Andy Warhol’s work, the content of which partly relies on ad-lib play. Krystian Lupa, winner of a range of major awards, has lectured at State theatre school since 1983.