PERFORMED IN POLISH WITH ENGLISH SUPERTITLES
The King of Hearts is Off Again by Studium Teatralne from PolandUniversity Theatre, CSU East Bay (25800 Carlos Bee Blvd, Hayward, CA) Map it $20
The San Francisco International Arts Festival presents the Bay Area debut of Studium Teatralne from Warsaw with the stage adaptation of Hannah Krall’s prize winning novel Chasing the King of Hearts (recently published in English by Peirene Press of London).
King of Hearts is based on the true story of the life of Izolda Regenberg a young Jewish woman trapped in the Warsaw ghetto with her husband and their families during the Second World War (the historical Izolda Regenberg was very close to Krall to whom she told her life story. Izolda died in Israel in 2009).
King of Hearts tells how Izolda escapes from the ghetto and lives disguised as an Aryan Polish woman named Maria Pawlicka. Her all consuming obsession is to save her husband and is the impetus for the play. She returns to the ghetto to try and free her parents and her husband. But he is deported to the death camps. The action follows Izolda’s efforts to free him by any means. The title “The King of Hearts is off Again” is a tarot-card-like prediction of the journey of the husband and the wife that follows him.
Studium Teatralne is an ensemble theatre in the tradition of Jerzy Grotowski. The play is directed by the company’s artistic director Piotr Borowski—himself a longtime student of Grotowski and the four actors employ Grotowski method acting techniques to collectively play 22 different characters on a stage with a minimalist set.