Jerzy Zon, co-founder of Poland’s experimental Theatre KTO, directs a cast of five for this play. There are no words spoken, instead the story is told through movement and the kind of sounds that sound the same in any language. (…) Marta Zon, Bart Cieniawa, and Grazyna Srebrny have choreographed a near-perfect visual song based on Hrabal’s writing. (…)
What Zon has managed to get across the strongest is that each of the characters is alone, yet placed in urgent, formalized, and droll relationships with each other. (…) Zon blatantly recasts Hrabal’s world in terms of 500-year-old clowning to point out that this is pretty much what Hrabal was doing anyway. (…)
The beauty flickering throughout the hour is the kind found in furtiveness, in a cup of tea, or in confession.
The ensemble’s performances are dynamic, spellbinding and irresistible. There are constant surprises along the way that will entertain you, draw a tear from your eye, amaze you, and make you leave the theatre with the feeling that you have just seen something exciting and truly magical. Do not miss this show!
The inventive originality of Polish company Teatr KTO’s nonverbal piece I’ll Sell the House in Which I Can Live No More, subtitled “a theatrical séance”, is a fascinating addition to the Fringe Festival. (…) this surreal and often-poignant journey Director Jerzy Zon and his expert company provide a sweet, strange piece of theatre.
Small joys and great dramas contribute to heightened tension (…).
In their previous grand, outdoor shows, the artists have shown us how marvellously they can control large spaces, enchanting hundreds and thousands of spectators. This time, we saw them in close-up, so near we could hear their breathing. We saw an extremely subtle emotional and lyrical performance in which words turned out to be completely unnecessary.
And this is the essence of the gentleness and the fragile beauty of the one-hour-long performance I’ll Sell the House in Which I Can Live No More by the KTO theatre – the silence of this realm of the void.
The audience is moved by the characters who reveal imminent truths concerning all of us and then, a moment later make us laugh with grotesque scenes. (…)
It is worth going to the KTO Theatre to watch a wise and charming story in which one can detect the fragrance of Hrabal’s wine and kisses never returned.
I’ll Sell the House in Which I can Live No More – has been in the KTO’s repertoire for years. Half of the world has seen it and yet it is still worth seeing. It is still not covered with dust. Maybe the secret of the performance is hidden in its universal mode of communication – words are irrelevant and not worth any attention. Gestures, costumes and music suffice to relate the story and enchant the audience. Maybe it is the theme? One cannot talk about life since birth till death in a more universal way. And the characters: mother and father, a priest, godparents, a living gallery of wedding dresses, the mourners. And the prop inseparable to every character – a bottle. Maybe it is the simplicity? The set is made of just a few suitcases capable of conjuring up almost everything and a stall of a prestidigitator who, if he wants, can be a Spaniard, a Frenchman or an Italian. Whatever the reason is, it is a fact that I’ll Sell the House … is not ageing, or, one might say, is ageing tastefully, still capable of evoking the audience’s delight, agitation and a long-lasting smile.
It is a story without words about life from birth to death. Played within a small area and with a limited number of props, it is deeply touching for the truth contained and presented without unnecessary pathos or pomposity – in an everyday way. There are a few scenes I will remember for a long time for their visual beauty. (…)
There is also the music composed of various pieces, but coherent. It lifts the whole performance a few inches above the floor. When it comes to art, what more can you ask for?
I’ll Sell the House in Which I can Live No More directed by Jerzy Zon is a piece of entrancingly beautiful reality reflecting the spirit of Bohumil Hrabal’s prose and achieving it without any words. The phenomenal feature of the show is that we feel the presence of the excellent Czech writer in almost every minute of the performance while no single quote or even word is used. (…)
Together with Zon and his actors we go on a metaphoric journey through life. It may sound banal, but is not. We are accompanied by Hrabal’s characters and bits and pieces of their stories. (…) To each stop in the journey Zon gives a new extraordinary dimension of a sacrament. (…)
People in the audience laugh or smile with tolerance. They squint their eves, viewing a mute reality that is universal in its character although burdened with the touch of Hrabal’s pen and “provincionalism”. The title as it is, borrowed from the Czech author (and slightly modified by the stage director), bears reference to our constant travel from one stage of life to another. It is just the same in the show. We keep wandering, following Zon, his actors and Hrabal. We laugh, we get moved and wish we would not have to leave that unusual visual reality.
Jerzy Zoń (…) has managed to transform the KTO Theatre into Hrabal’s dream space. (…)
In this space five actors use the language of gesture, movement and theatrical symbol to tell us about the rituals of life and death.
Although it seems impossible to spin a tale of Hrabal without the least piece of dialogue, Teatr KTO faultlessly translate the magic of what’s been told into bodily expression, into a kaleidoscope of faces and gestures sprinkled with vodka, to the grand baptism accompanied by accordion, to the joy and sadness contained in a quiet funereal sob. The lazy images pulse with music phenomenally selected by Jerzy Zoń – the director of both the theatre and the production. Anyone who loves Hrabal’s prose, who has wordlessly read more than one story told in the dialect of Prague, of the beerhall, for amateurs of Czech literature there remains a universal tale about human life, coloured with a touch of irony and the reflective song of a barrel-organist who is traveling from Mexico to Paris. Without doubt, Teatr KTO’s artists have created an enchanting production closely observed by music and silence.
An hour-long theatrical séance inspired by the life and works Bohumil Hrabal. After 15 years of only open-air productions, it is Jerzy Zoń’s first stage production in the KTO Theatre.
Since its premiere in 2003, it has been performed more than 530 times, becoming one of the audience favourites, not only in Krakow. The production has won the Buława Hetmańska Audience Award of the 40th Zamość Theatre Summer (Zamojskie Lato Teatralne). It is one of the most travelled KTO Theatre performances and it has been presented during dozens of tours, including Albania, Austria, Belarus, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Georgia, Iran, Germany, Russia, Romania, Slovakia, Ukraine, USA and Great Britain.
Script, direction and selection of music:
Zofia de Ines
Andrzej „Czoper” Czop
Lights: Robert Kania
Grażyna Srebrny-Rosa, Marta Zoń / Justyna Wójcik, Sławek Bendykowski, Bartek Cieniawa / Adam Plewiński, Michał Orzyłowski
Premiere: March 24 and 25, 2003