Theatre seance by Monika Wachowicz and Jarosław Fret
Sheol is at once a theatrical séance and a very contemporary lamentation for the dead and the undead, the born and the unborn. It is a descent to the bottom of silence down the thin line of breath, voice and sound; a silence that, like the mythical Sheol, covers and closes, becoming a veil through which no feeling or image can pass through. Love is the only force that can save those entering Sheol. Their descent is accompanied by music, or rather its extraordinary density, as if our bodies were just a sound or an instrument and at the same time a path into bottomless depths.
Inspired by a fascination with Henryk Górecki’s Symphony No. 3, also known as The Symphony of Sorrowful Songs, and including excerpts from Olivier Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time and Gregorgio Allegri’s Miserrere, Sheol is a story about the desire and will to live a life that is full and vibrant like breathing fire.
Jarosław Fret is a founder and leader of Teatr ZAR, theatre director and actor. He is Director of the Grotowski Institute, lecturer at the PWST National Academy of Theatre Arts in Kraków (Branch in Wrocław) and President of the Board of Curators of the European Capital of Culture Wrocław 2016 and Curator of its Theatre Programme. In 1999–2002 he organized a series of expeditions to Georgia, Armenia and Iran, conducting research into the oldest forms of religious music of Eastern Christianity. In the following years, together with members of Teatr ZAR, he led expeditions to Mount Athos in Greece, Sardinia, Corsica, Armenia, Turkey and Israel. He has directed four performance pieces with Teatr ZAR. Teatr ZAR’s Gospels of Childhood triptych has been seen in Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Athens, Belgrade, Edinburgh, Florence, Madrid, Paris, Sibiu, Cairo, New Delhi and Seoul. In November 2013 he completed work on Armine, Sister, for which he developed an original musical dramaturgy and special stage architecture. He lectures and leads work sessions in Poland and abroad. His awards and honours include: Best New Music Theater for Teatr ZAR from Los Angeles Times (2009); Wrocław Theatre Prize for the Gospels of Childhood triptych (2010); the prestigious Total Theatre Award for Physical/Visual Theatre and the Herald Angel at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival (2012). He has originated and coordinated numerous Polish and international projects of the Grotowski Institute, including the Grotowski Year 2009, Masters in Residence, the International Theatre Festival The World as a Place of Truth and the Theatre Olympics 2016 in Wrocław.
Monika Wachowicz is an actress, theatre instructor, educator and theatre event organizer. She has worked for the Cogitatur Theatre, Katowice, and the Cantabile 2 Theatre, Denmark. Monika Wachowicz is involved in all productions and artistic projects of the A Part Theatre (except for the one-person plays Lullaby, Bonds and The Rite of Spring). She coordinates the A Part Festival of Performing Arts, heads the A Part Theatre’s Actor’s Studio, curates the Interstices. Women in Performing Arts series at the Grotowski Institute, and runs the Body and Emotion Studio. In 2019 she was appointed President of the Marta Paradecka ART FOR LIFE Foundation. As a teacher of the State Academy of Theater Arts at a branch in Wrocław, she conducts acting classes for 2nd and 3nd year students.