Love forgives all?
Anna Bajek on the spectacle ‘Miłość’ (‘Love’) staged by the Wrocław affiliate of Ludwik Solski National Academy of Theatre Arts in Cracow

Love forgives all?

There is a writing on the wall and it is repeated multiple times. It says ‘you will die alone’. The characters from ‘Love’ by Cezary Iber are struggling not to let this prophecy come true by looking for various forms of intimacy.

The first scene resembles speed dating – couples introduce themselves to each other, they exchange a few sentences. After the signal, they change their interlocutors. The following scenes reveal a tangled web of relations between a dozen of friends. Affairs from the past intertwine with new infatuations and family crisis situations. Paula (Aleksandra Pałka) informs her partner Gil (Grzegorz Karłowicz) that she is pregnant and he in turn leaves her for a model named Sandra (Katarzyna Janiszewska) who calls herself ‘a calculated, mean cunt’. Agata (Magdalena Lamża), an alcoholic, is drifting away from her husband Tomek (Jan Kardasiński) and swinging partners with their friends is their idea of overcoming the crisis.

Weronika (Malwina Brych) considers sex immoral and juxtaposes it against God’s love, but as she discovers her own sexuality, she goes from on extremity to another, displaying sadomasochistic tendencies. Her needs are satisfied by Patryk (Jakub Łopatka), brother of Mikołaj (Adam Turczyk), a homosexual rejected by his father in love with his boss Rekin (Mateusz Sałajczyk). He, in turn, is a friend of Buła’s (Igor Kowalunas) who wishes to shoot pornographic movies, but ends up as a pimp in love with one of his prostitutes (Paula) who chose this career path to provide for herself and her daughter. The circle is complete, as the story of those lost and emotionally broken people can be told from various angles, since their paths cross so often. Dialogues smoothly intertwine with choreographies which represent moments of jealousness, love triangles or intercourse.

In some moments, students from Wrocław quickly go from one emotional state to another just like in the scene with Paula and Gil on stage. Only a few sentences stand between the woman’s declaration of love and a mechanical ‘Can you abort the child?’ uttered by the man. One could consider this dialogue a soap opera parody or assume that the idea behind it was to point out the absurdity of the situation, but on the other hand, the superficial approach to the emotions prevents the actors from the possibility to create multi-dimensional characters. The script does not help either – the language the characters use to communicate strikes the viewer as cumbrous and understating the characters’ problems rather than drawing attention to their inability to express emotions. The overuse of vulgarisms adds to the comicality rather than counterpoints the tragedy, rendering most of the dialogues appear immature. One can also get the impression that instead of exploring the depth of characters, the creators of the play put more emphasis on the physicality itself. In drama, it is important to highlight the animality of human urges, but in this case the focus on the corporealness overshadows the text. That is why the greatest part of the spectacle are its choreographies employing music and various forms of lighting which are even more impressive thanks to the actors’ great physical fitness.

The spectacle mainly consists of scenes played by two actors, none of which stands out. Malwina Brych seems to be the main character of the whole team. This is a result of the construction of her character – it combines the exact opposites which are separated by a very thin line.