The fourth and fifth days, He reserved for laughter.
He released the clowns to do somersaults,
And He let the kings, emperors
And other misfortunate to have a good time.”
Marin Sorescu, Shakespeare
Piotr Kondrat has never read Marin Sorescu. But on planet Shakespeare, on the small island which belongs to him, for over a quarter of a century he has explored – and reading his work, he plays with the creator from Stratford.
Well-known actor on the Polish stage, television and cinema (recently next to the famous French actor Charles Berling – where he plays “the Polish patient” in a French-Polish coproduction dedicated to Marie Curie), he has been a habitual presence at international Shakespeare festivals, after creating and recreating Hamlet and The Mousetrap – after imposing Shylock, in a vision shared with the late Polish theatre critic Andrej Zurowski –, he has gathered… the clowns! All of them, together! And if they’re seven, it’s not because they are all buffoons! Their actions, words, verdicts, opinions, and meditations, their laughter, grimaces, grins, their play with Fate, Heaven, and Hell, all their lines – are gathered from the numerous plays and sonnets of Shakespeare. Even The Passionate Pilgrim is part.
For an entire hour, surrounded by the haunting noises of The Seven Samurai by Akira Kurosawa, the actor changes between the caps of the Dromio twins, of Puck, Feste, Touchstone, or Trinculo the drunk. From the brotherhood of great fool-clowns of life and death also comes Richard III… leaving as Lear with his Fool.
The extraordinary performance created by Piotr Kondrat with a judicious parsimony of means, in a minimalist setting of three black boards and a few shirts symbolically colored, we are assisting at the bet of Man with Divinity, with the Tablets of Stone, of Scripture. A kaleidoscope of Vice and Virtue, of Justice and Lawlessness – a struggle, a ludic trite between Victim and Dictator, in a game enchanting through ingenuity of comic, and the raw-painful sarcasm of boundless sadness of Man the Dreamer.