Harakiri Farmers | Poland


Optimist’s Testament

Text: Sławomir Mrożek “Testament optymisty”
Direction and choreography:
Dominika Knapik
Wojtek Klimczyk
: Dominika Knapik, Magdalena Przybysz, Tomasz Chołoniewski
Sound advisor:
Anna Szwajgier
: Łaźnia Nowa Theatre, Kraków
: 40 min.
: 2011

“Optimist’s Testament” is a minimalistic dance theatre performance inspired by absurd and ironic short story by Sławomir Mrożek. The piece evokes the atmosphere of Aki Kaurismäki’s movies which are equally ironic. Performers not only talk (very little, actually) and move (quite a lot) but also sing and play songs which are a kind of inner monologues of the characters, natural born losers. All this turns the show (which becomes a “concert-wake” as if the dead were brought back to life to play on their own funeral) into a multilayered narration treating death in a subtle, indirect, non-melodramatic way and presented with deadpan humour.

Dominika Knapik is a graduate of the Ludwik Solski State Theater School in Kraków. She is a dancer and actress but also works as a choreographer in drama theatre. In 2011 she is a scholarship holder of Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage. The same year Dominika with director Iga Gańczarczyk, composer Aleksandra Gryka and animation artist Marta Pajek created a multimedia dance theatre solo “Not I” which won the first prize in the Off Stream of The Review of Stage Songs Festival in Wroclaw.

Wojtek Klimczyk, PhD is a sociologist by profession and theatre maker by passion. He published two books: “Postmodern eroticism” (Universitas, 2008) and “Visionaries of the Body. The Panorama of Contemporary Dance Theater” (Ha! Art 2010). As dramaturge he collaborates with Andre Gingras and the duo Kirstine Ilum/Marek Zawalski. In 2011 he received prestigious “Young Poland” scholarship.

Dominika and Wojtek usually work together as Harakiri Farmers. HAFA is a non-institutional initiative aimed at creating a meeting ground for artists from different artistic backgrounds. HF has no leader, no seat, and no subsidy. The first Harakiri Farmers’ project “Keret” won the first prize of “New Situations” competition organized by Malta Festival in Poznań 2008. “We are oh so Lucky”, a dance variation on Samuel Becket’s „Waiting for Godot” created in collaboration with theatre director Ana Brzezinska, was presented at Polish Dance Platform 2010 and in several venues abroad. Dominika and Wojciech are also members of [MINUS 20] collective with Norwegian choreographer/dancer Kenneth Flak (who is also participating in festivals program “Play”) and French composer David Chazam. The collective debuted in 2010 with musical “The Fork”. In the performance “Optimists testament” they are collaborating with dancer and choreographer Magdalena Przybysz, known for thought provoking multimedia performances, and with percussionistTomasz Chołoniewski, who works with classical orchestras and as well in the field of electronic music.