Ashes accumulate in the centre of the Sun

Pałyga, Artur
Tytuł oryginalny: 
W środku słońca gromadzi się popiół
Grand Prix in the competition for the Gdynia Drama Award 2013
Obsada kobiety: 
Obsada mężczyźni: 
Czas akcji: 
after the end of the world
Prapremiera polska: 
8.3.2014, Narodowy Stary Teatr, dir. Wojciech Faruga

The play is a kind of continuation and development of the masterful Unfinished Story. However, Artur Pałyga here touches upon a darker sphere of life and human experiences - because he tells about the mystery of the end of the world that has just happened, or actually occurs every day in front of people. It is a record of the endless history of horror, in the light of which the end of the world can be a sudden, unexpected death of a loved one, a deadly illness - every incomprehensible loss that clashes with the human desire to live. The ends of the world of the drama's protagonists have been framed by a performance that starts with three characters: Lucy, Spark and Ashes. They are the survivors of the end of the world, hiding in a shelter. Now they emerge from the darkness and ashes to remember what just happened, evoking memories and real people who experienced the disaster. This process takes the form of a ritual to help us understand.

"it always looks like this
as if all the stuff around here had conspired
and ever since they built the block, they've been digging the slope
when that lady moved into that apartment
for some reason this particular one
and these reasons could be detailed and from all sides
points of view
and human fates
try and demonstrate
like everything in all these years millimeter by millimeter
was preparing this accident
with everyone else it would be the same
I can assure you that every detail of your death will be conducive to it."

The poetic title refers to a paradoxical scientific fact: in the middle of a hot star, the Sun ("ultra-heated furnace"), it is cold and dark, because the ashes accumulate there. The dazzling, apocalyptic glow of the sun constantly accompanies the protagonists of the drama. This suggestive metaphor reminds us that death and destruction are an integral part of every form of life.

The axis of the play is composed of poetic, sensual images of the tragic death of a woman in a fire, which nobody could have done anything about. It was the result of coincidences that emerge in the course of the plot's development: objects become sharper, situations are symbolic, but this does not bring us any closer to unraveling the mystery of life and death. Even Aristotle and Alexander the Great, who comes alive from the pages of books. This will not be understood by a woman suffering from cancer, who wants to photograph herself before death or a drastic procedure, or by a father who unsuccessfully tries to communicate with his paralysed son by means of Janusz Laskowski's album. The closest to understanding are Lucy, Spark and Ashes, who see that the incomprehensible death is always the fault of another man, too busy with his own life.

So, just as in the Unfinished Story, the action and stage activities of the characters are arranged by human death - but there it was the death of an elderly woman - Wiktoria Dworniczek, here it is a tragic death, less understandable. The text is equally, or perhaps even more universal, philosophical and poetic than the Unfinished Story. The action takes place in an undefined space, equally undefined are the characters who impersonate the people they knew before the "end". Apart from poetic metaphors, the very form of writing resembles the best traditions of linguistic poetry.

The play won the Grand Prix in the competition for the Gdynia Drama Award 2013.