The Ghost Road Company traveled to the Korczak Festival in Warsaw, Poland this October, where we presented our production of Malgorzata Sikorska-Miszczuk’s “Pantofelnik’s Suitcase”, and also presented our latest ensemble-devised work, “The Bargain and the Butterfly” at Komuna//Warszawa. All 9 of us (yes, 9!) had an amazing experience and the shows went off without a hitch and were very well-received!
Along with Ghost Road ensemble members Ronnie Clark, Kim Glann, Christel Joy Johnson, Katharine Noon, Mark Seldis and Brian Weir, our wonderful collaborators Doug Sutherland, Jen Kays and Andrew Lia, we made it through loading in, teching and performing two shows in five days in two different (very different) theaters! Here’s the itinerary, in short:
On October 4th, we traveled from LA to Warsaw, arriving on Saturday evening. We checked into our hotel and after having dinner and the blurry-eyed cast ran lines for Pantofelnik’s Suitcase.
On Sunday, we load-in/tech/dress for “Pantofelnik” (in a theater we had never laid eyes on). After a long day, the jet-lagged company goes out for a well-deserved dinner.
On Monday, we presented 9am and 12pm performances for a couple hundred middle and high school students (with supertitles!) then packed everything up.
On Tues, we move all our stuff out of Teatr Powszechny, and head over to Komuna//Warszawa. We then load in & tech build for “The Bargain and the Butterfly”.
On Wednesday, we finish building cues and, with a lovely lunch break, had two tech rehearsals at Komuna//Warszawa.
On Thursday, after a morning off, we gather at Komuna//Warszawa for a final dress rehearsal. After a break, we presented a 8pm performance of “Bargain” then a wonderful late dinner hosted by our terrific friend and patron Joanna Klass, with other Polish friends who attended the show, including members of Studium Teatralne, Barbara Kirschenblatt-Gimblett, and the Australian Ambassador to Poland (!)
On Friday, after a remarkably efficient and quick strike/pack up at Komuna//Warszawa, we take everything back to the hotel, followed by a free afternoon and evening, capped by a lovely dinner with our Polish friends. The last night in Warsaw.
On Saturday at the crack of dawn, we head to the airport and Ronnie, Kim, Doug, Jen and Andrew head back to LA, while Brian, CJ, Katharine and Mark fly to Wroclaw for two days to attend the Dialog Festival and meetings. In Wrolclaw, the four attended two performances and a discussion at the festival, and spent some quliaty time with “Captain” Klass and Wojtek.
On Monday afternoon, a quick trip back to Warsaw, dinner and then a very early Tuesday flight back to Los Angeles.
In 10 days, we had an amazing adventure. One which showed what a remarkable team of artists we have assembled and shared our work with Polish audiences. Thanks to all of you, we were able to represent Los Angeles and our artistic community with people across the globe.
To view the Photo Diary of our Warsaw Tour, click here!
Some thoughts about the tour:
“During a talk-back with students after our performance of “Pantofelnik’s Suitcase”, I realized that this was their first experience with an American theatre company (and for some, it may also be their only). It was at that moment I understood the profound impact and power of international theatre exchange.” – Ronnie
“I think I was most touched by the way we all came together as a company to put up 2 plays in 5 days. No small feat, but one we maneuvered gracefully with the help of a few key Warsovians.” - Christel
“It’s so great to perform in a place where theatrical work is at the center of cultural life; where the audiences look for and embrace experimentation and risk-taking. “ – Katharine
“Warsaw, with its changing trees, amber and cobblestone walks, is moving. Early one morning, I watched a woman on the street notice a friend of hers walking toward her. As her friend passed in the hurry to start the day, I watched this woman stand still, in the path of a bustling sidewalk, and admire her friend. She was bursting with love, for several minutes. The joy she felt was as palpable to me and as time bending as the joy I felt watching this family of artists I was with. Warsaw reflects its history upon you and yet, somehow, has room to open its arms to receive your art with passionate curiosity. I was blessed to meet this city in this way, with these people, making this art. I will never forget it.” – Jen
“Theatre is about making connections – actors with audiences, audiences with ideas, etc. We were able to make the most incredible connections in Poland, both personally and artistically, which really re-enforced our connection as a company. I can’t imagine a better trip.” – Brian
“I don’t question how the heck I ended up walking the streets of Warsaw with some mighty fine folk with the mission to do a couple of plays with all the heartfelt gusto one could muster but I sure am grateful.” – Doug
“The experience of mounting two plays in the span of a week was unforgettable and life changing in two incredible ways. First, spending pretty much every waking moment together afforded the opportunity to get to know one another on a much deeper level (which was luckily a good thing – these people are awesome!). And secondly, creating theatre in this historic city, hanging with some awesome locals and staying in the Praga (a very working class non-tourist area), allowed us to get to know the real Warsawa. “ – Kim
“I could not be prouder of the work we did together, on and off the stage. And grateful as always to our wonderful friends in Warsaw, especially our champion Joanna, as well as dear Dorota, the Wojeteks, and the Studium Teatralne folks (Piotr, Gianna, Martina, Piotr and Waldek).” – Mark