STUDIUM TEATRALNE'S The King Of Hearts is Off Again - US TOUR

SEPTEMBER 26th – OCTOBER 5th, 2013


KULTURE+ PRODUCTIONS, The Center for Applied Theatre and Active Culture (CATAC), New World Performance Laboratory (NWPL) and The San Francisco International Arts Festival are pleased to present Warsaw’s Studium Teatralne with The King Of Hearts is Off Again stage adaptation of Hannah Krall’s prize winning novel Chasing the King of Hearts (recently published in English by Peirene Press of London).The play, directed by Piotr Borowski, concerns the horrors of war and the power of human love.

There was a family. With these words an actor begins the harrowing story of Izolda, a woman separated from her husband by the nightmare of World War II. Based on a bestselling book by Polish writer Hanna Krall, four actors, playing twenty characters on a bare stage, transport the audience to WWII and into our heroine’s epic journey through the monstrosities of war. Victimized as a Jew, a Pole, and a woman, Izolda escapes the cruelties of the ghetto and disguises herself as an Aryan German citizen in order to save her husband from the concentration camps. Facing unimaginable situations, love becomes her sole means of survival as her own identity becomes obsolete.

Last year Studium Teatralne Artistic Director Piotr Borowski, who also adapted and directed The King of Hearts Is Off Again, explained his fascination with the play: During my childhood and youth, Polish Jews were rarely mentioned as part of our country’s history. Even now, for many Poles this remains an extraordinarily difficult topic to understand with any kind of rationality. I felt that by creating this theatre piece I could open up a dialog about this history.

Using only a table, chairs, and a few props, the actors deploy an inventive arsenal of extreme and precise physical performance techniques. When asked if his physical work with actors was influenced by Jerzy Grotowski, Borowski replies, I met Grotowski in 1975 and later worked with him for seven years in Pontedera, Italy….It’s hard to define what profit I took from his work. In his speeches and texts Grotowski always encouraged everyone to go their own way, to find their own technique, and to do it with their whole existence. He was always trying to respond to the spirit of his time. Like Grotowski I ask questions about the meaning of what I am doing, about its techniques, about my needs and the ethic of it all. They’re the same questions Grotowski asked, only the time is different, because my time is the present.

After working with Grotowski in Italy from 1987-1994, Borowski returned to Poland, converting an old factory building in the Praga Poludnie district of Warsaw into a theatre workspace. During the theatre’s eighteen-year history, Borowski and his company have continued to explore different forms of theatre expression through such productions as Miasto (City) (1997), Północ (Midnight) (1999), Człowiek (Man) (2001), Parsifal (2004), Hamlet (2005), Henryk Hamlet Hospital (H. H. H.) (2006), Linia Powrotu (The Line of Return) (2010), and the 2008 production of Król kier znów na wylocie (King of Hearts Is Off Again), which received its American premiere in 2012 at The Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles. Studium Teatralne has toured extensively in Poland, Russia, Italy, Germany, France, and Colombia.

The cast of The King of Hearts Is Off Again includes Piotr Aleksandrowicz, Gianna Benvenuto, Waldemar Chachólski, and Martina Rampulla. Utilized throughout the performance is music based on the motifs of John Zorn. Zorn’s music is old and contemporary, light and deep at the same time, says Borowski. As Poland was, for centuries, home to the largest and most significant Jewish community in the world, I wanted the musical element to express this vast span of time. Consequently, numerous musical motifs are frequently repeated and intermixed with other melodies, rhythms and chants.


September 26, 27, 28 at 8pm

September 29 at 2pm

Balch Street Theatre (former Akron Jewish Center),

220 South Balch Street, Akron OH, 44302

Tickets are $15. Student tickets (with ID) are $10. Group discounts are available.

Seating is limited and reservations can be made by calling (330) 867-3299 or at


Wednesday – Friday October 2- 4, 2013 8:00pm


2840 Mariposa Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

General Admission: $20 advance, $25 at the door,

$18 full time Students with ID and Seniors


Saturday October 5, 2013 8:00pm

University Theatre, CSU East Bay,

25800 Carlos Bee Blvd Hayward

General Admission: $20 advance, $25 at the door,

$18 full time Students with ID and Seniors

Prior to the performance in Hayward, there will be a discussion led by

Dr Krzysztof Persak – “Poland during and after WWII”

More info at

Financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of Poland, Institute of Adam Mickiewicz and Consulate General of Poland in Los Angeles.

Special thanks to Jim Slowiak, Andrew Wood, Joanna Klass and Malgorzata Cup .