News From Poland #1: Out here in the woods…

Jason6First day with Matej and the actors had only been here for 14 hours. We got an incredible amount of work done. It’s very VERY exciting for everyone. The work is so meaningful already.

Tim’s luggage was lost in Houston and still has not arrived! They said they’d bring it today but that did not happen so, we are really counting on tomorrow, poor guy.

We get our lunches delivered from a little restaurant called the “Milk Bar” in the nearest town, twelve miles away. Through our liason at the Grotowski Institute, we had let them know that one person in our group, Madeline, was vegan. The guy who runs it is named Luca and he is super nice, probably in is mid-thirties. Coincidentally, he also happens to look like a Dutch boyfriend I had in high school during a summer abroad, my first boyfriend ever, so I am particularly fond of him. On Friday Luca had delivered our lunch of fried fish, boiled potatoes and cabbage slaw out to Brzezinka. It’s impossible to find without precise directions so he had picked up a complete stranger at an incorrect house he had first tried and this man had been his guide to our place. After the delivery, these two shared a cigarette outside seemingly contemplating the remote location of our retreat.

Jaon8The reason the cook at the Milk Bar chose to serve us fish on the first day was so that Madeline could eat it with the rest of the group. : ) Also, and anyone who knows me can imagine that this was very important, every one of those twelve lunches (we also order food for our teachers) came in a huge styrofoam container. Soooooo, on Saturday morning I got up early and drove to this Milk Bar in Olesnica. Luca was surprised to see me but his English is quite good and he’s very interested in American culture. He asked me what we were doing out in Brzezinka and when I said “We are working on a play. Antigone.” he said “By Sophocles.”. It never ceases to shock me, how much all people in Poland embrace theater as part of every day life. Luckily, our liason from the Grotowski Institute had already called them to talk about eliminating the styrofoam by bringing the food family style, in big pans. We quickly established this new order. Then I handed Luca a book that Madeline had given me. This book explains what being vegan means in many different languages. It was cool to try and read it in Polish and humbling to see it Arabic, Russian and Korean as well. Working in my favor was the fact that the person playing Antigone was herself, the vegan in question. I handed him the book, explaining the basic tenants of veganism and his eyes widened. Then he started laughing. Then he called the main chef out to the front. Agatha was pretty, with a nose ring, maybe thirty or so. She started reading with him and pretty soon they were laughing so hard that they both had tears in their eyes which made me laugh too. My Polish is as basic as it comes but I could understand that she was saying “No EGGS?! No MILK?!”. They hung on each other, each trying to catch their breath, going back to the book, bursting out laughing again and looking at me with utter confusion and merriment. I left them discussing what in the world they were going to make for Madeline that day and I went on my way, back to rehearsal.

By Paige Rogers, Director

August 6, 2014

In the Workshop with Matej


The Antigone Cast (top to bottom, left to right): Tim Green, Jason Wong, Madeline H. D. Brown, Elissa Stebbins, Paul Loper, Wiley Naman Strasser, Hannah Donovan, Emma Crane Jaster, Teatr ZAR co-founder and workshop leader Matej Matejka, director Paige Rogers, stage manager and lighting designer Heather Basarab.

Jaosn 5The Barn/Lab in Brzezinka

Jason 4

Evening Jog – Wiley Naman Strasser and Paige Rogers