Сцена Молот, Пермский академический Театр-Театр, Perm, Russia
"When legal borders are crossed, there must be punishment. Not for the sake of revenge, but for retaliation. But in whose name does our law retaliate? In the name of the innocent? Are we really innocent? And how can we remain free of guilt when we sentance a person to death"
In his multi-episode television drama „Dekalog“ from the 1980s the Polish author, scriptwriter and director Krzysztof Kieślowski is reflecting upon the „Ten Commandments“ from the point of view of Poland in the year 1987. Whereby each episode is subsequently related to one of the biblical doctrines – however not always directly, but rather in a free-form mode: „The movies should relate to the Commandments approximately in the same extent, as the Commandments relate to our today's life. We realize that these – existing for more that two thousand years – Commandments, ten sentences, which in fact are not challenged by any philosophy, any ideology, are nevertheless infringed every day.“ (Kieślowski)
Kieślowski is not aiming to moralize. His stories show us ordinary people and how they turn against the Commandments in their life on totally different grounds – let it be greed, love, or their own understanding of justice. At that Kieślowski is not intending to demonstrate to us, which way of behavior is good and which is bad – he is interested, on the contrary, in evoking empathy towards his protagonists, and by means of that to leave the question of good and evil unanswered and to pass it to the audience further.
The stories are bound together by a mutual place, where the action in all of the ten episodes takes of: a suburban area of panel houses in Warsaw. Here, in the anonymity of gray concrete blocks, Kieślowski is sending his characters in „ethical hell“ – as if he wanted to let us know, that it is not about a singular destiny for him, but that the conflicts of his characters first and foremost mean us, since we as well consciously or not, every day find ourselves in the same sort of decision making situations – „Mind you, there are other people living next to you. What you do concerns and applies not only to you, but also to those, who are near you, or may be also a little further away, and those of whose existence you have no idea at all”, describes Kieślowski.
Our staging will concentrate on three of ten parts: You shall not lie. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not kill. Kieślowskis narrations are dealing with a religious theme in seemingly godless times: in the Socialistic People's Republic of Poland shortly before its breakdown in 1989. The dominating feeling of the characters is senselessness – which however encourages them again and again, lending wings to their hope, that life must have keep more to them, than the gray lethargy surrounding them. Their battles are existential. As well as their failures. The subject matter of Kieślowskis „Dekalog“ is moving between the poles of love and death. The author shows us, that the society can not only blindly chase its moral postulations, but that it should at the same time always keep in mind the person, which it is going to judge according to those principles.
starring: Eva Sheykis, Ivan Vilkhov, Alina Bychkovskaya, Mikhail Merkushev, Ivan Lubyagin, Ekaterina Mudraya, Kristina Bazhenova, Dmitry Kurochkin, Mark Bukin, Alexander Mehryakov, Ekaterina Vozhakova
stage and costume design: Nadezhda Osipova
translation: Ekaterina Raykova-Merz