A PERFORMANCE BY Kamila Klamut (Poland)
CREATED IN COOPERATION WITH Mariana Sadovska
PERFORMED BY Kamila Klamut AND Ewa Pasikowska
music: Mariana Sadovska
lighting design: Bartosz Radziszewski
in the performance used fragments of Camille Claudel’s letters and poetry of Zuzanna Ginczanka
assistance with the english translation: Ewa Pasikowska
english translation editor: Anne Dennis
CREATED DURING AN ARTISTIC RESIDENCY at the Grotowski Institute in Wrocław, Polando by maciej margielski
Camille Claudel was a sculptor and artist. She was also the sister of Paul Claudel and the lover, creative collaborator and muse of sculptor Auguste Rodin. After the end of her relationships with Rodin she suffered a nervous breakdown and was confined to an asylum by her brother. She spent the last 30 years of her life there. Kamila Klamut’s performance, based on the poetry of Zuzanna Ginczanka and fragments of Camille Claudel’s letters, explores her life and work using text, sculptural costume and live music by Ewa Pasikowska.
“The last photo ever taken of Camille provided an impulse that directly influenced the final shape of the performance. It features Camille together with a friend who visited her in the hospital. I imagined that the visits, which didn’t occur very often during her 30 years in the asylum, may have evoked in her a cascade of memories – memories whose shapes I sensed and clothed in my own sensitivity”. Kamila Klamut
What was the inspiration for this performance?
It was the story of an extraordinary artistically talented woman, who was unlucky to be born one and half century ago in Europe, in France in times when legal and social situation of women was not very good at all. The sculptress, Camille Claudel, the sister of famous writer Paul Claudel, long term collaborator of the most renown French sculptor Auguste Rodin, with whom she was connected by great unhappy love.
Her unfulfilled relationship with Rodin and great difficulties she faced on her path to becoming an independent artist caused that Camille suffered huge nervous breakdown and was placed against her will in a psychiatric hospital by her family. She spent there the last 30 years of her life.
Is theatre still a good space for the public discussion of ideas?
How did you become interested in making performance?
Nothing will ever replace a face-to-face meeting of a human being with another human being and this is exactly what a theatre performance is. And of course it becomes a medium to voice ideas that provoke a response.
There are performances that include the reactions to the messages transmitted from the stage directly into the structure of the piece. Other performances (like ours) are more like a sparkle that triggers further discussion after the performance.
The need to create theatre comes directly from a profound human need for a dialog.
Is there any particular approach to the making of the show?
A performance is something very important for us, it requires time and devotion. The process of creating a performance goes hand in hand with a deep research, with weeks, sometimes months of work on music.
We very often travel to places connected to the themes we are trying to touch, to meet people, speak to them, often make music together, or just to see the landscape of those places. At the same time we cultivate our skills as actors and musicians to finally gather all the treads, connect them and shape the final performance.
What do you hope that the audience will experience?
We would like to take spectators on a journey that is full of emotions, that brings reflection, that tells a story of a woman imprisoned not only in a psychiatric institution but also in the patriarchal world. The world that's not at all a distant, perhaps Muslim country but that existed in Europe, in Catholic France just 100 years ago.
What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?
Our greatest strategy is quality theatre. Theatre that grabs spectator's attention, that is absorbing, that opens a channel of contact between actors and the audience, that is a direct transmission from heart to heart.
Kamila Klamut is a co-founder of award-winning Theatr ZAR (among others at the 2012 Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, performance Caesarean Section: Essays on Suicide of Theatre ZAR won a Total Theatre award for Physical Theatre and a Herald Angel) and a regular collaborator with Song of the Goat Theatre and the Grotowski Institute.
The Edinburgh Festival Fringe
Aug 3 preview, 5–9, 11–13, 15–17, 19–21, 23–25, 27–28, time 21:10
Venue: Summerhall, 1 Summerhall Place, Edinburgh, EH9 1PL
(Cairns Lecture Theatre)
RUNNING TIME: 50 mins
SUITABILITY: 16+ (Guideline)