Carmen Funebre is known as one of the most legendary pieces of outdoor arts ever made. It is a show about the impact of war on civilians as the former Yugoslavia broke up in the 1990s. It is a mighty piece of theatre, uncompromising and searing in its impact. The show is 26 years old, has toured the world, and returns to London for the first time in 10 years.
Teatr Biuro Podróży
Teatr Biuro Podróży is a famed Polish outdoor theatre company set up by Paweł Szkotak with a group of young and passionate actors in Poznan in 1988. Since then, they have created 15 different theatre productions, and performed over a thousand times for audiences in 50 different countries.
They have always been determined to make theatre in a different way to accepted traditions, and to make that theatre for people who don’t normally go to well-known theatre institutions. They care about people and the stories of their lives. Teatr Biuro Podróży’s shows are social, political and powerful.
The company emerged onto the scene as civil resistance in Poland demonstrated the people’s demand for change and led to the end of communist rule in the summer of 1989. The new company came up with the name Biuro Podróży, which means Travel Agency in Polish. In a country behind the Iron Curtain, very few people were able to obtain passports. As the rest could travel only in their imagination, the ironically-named Teatr Biuro Podróży offered an ‘escape’ through theatre.
Carmen Funebre, or Funeral Song, is the group’s most famous piece, and was made in 1993-94. As the Balkans Wars raged, just south of Poland, and the former Yugoslavia broke up, 4 million people were displaced in the 10 years from 1991-2001.
The show specifically explores the impact on civilians and focuses on the story of refugees and migrants caught up in the spiral of war. It is based on interviews with victims of the wars.
Directed by its founder, Paweł Szkotak, the show uses physical theatre, overwhelming music, the highly visual effects of fire, and tyrants towering on stilts, to tell the story of people trapped in the turmoil of war.
This seminal theatre production continues to tour the world today. In the context of recent carnage and cleansing in the Middle East, the show is as relevant now as it was 26 years ago. It can be seen just as much as a comment on the fate of refugees caught up in the mass exodus to Europe, looking for a safer place, as it was on the Balkans in the 1990s.
Teatr Biuro Podróży present Carmen Funebre at Bell Square on Saturday 31 August at 8.00 pm. The show lasts 50 minutes. Age guidance 14+
You can follow Teatr Biuro Podróży on Facebook @ Teatr-Biuro-Podróży
And on Instagram @teatr_biuro_podrozy