Zubrzycki, Kuba
Tytuł oryginalny: 
printed in „Dialog” 5/2021
Obsada kobiety: 
Obsada mężczyźni: 

Do you know the feeling of being God, of having someone's life depend on you? And you have to decide on a person's fate? This feeling is a side effect of being involved in helping the needy, the sick or the disadvantaged. And do you know it when, in order for someone to trust you, you have to give up a part of yourself and expose your weaknesses? This is what Zero is about.

An Animator arrives at an overcrowded psychiatric hospital. He is to conduct classes with the patients there. Three patients come to the classes. At first, they jeer at the Animator because he does not allow them to discuss difficult issues. "I am not your psychologist", he says, fearing that he cannot cope with their problems. "I just make theatre with you". Is that a punch to the gut? It is, because in theatre the patients are the audience, and the theatre has always wanted to reach beyond the fourth wall, it has always had the ambition to heal people.

Is this play about community theatre classes in a psychiatric hospital? Or about the condition of theatre? Both, because it's really a text about hopelessness and helplessness in the face of the enormity of the injustices facing the whole of society. For quite some time now, a mental hospital has been a perfect metaphor for society, just think of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and many other great films, such as K-PAX. It is no secret that in Polish psychiatric hospitals there is no therapeutic work at all. The reasons are trivial: poorly paid staff, lack of places, overcrowding, greater emphasis on pharmacotherapy instead of individual and in-depth work with the patient.

What is Zero about? About a boy whose mother "shat him out into the septic tank" and that is why he is a "miracle": because he miraculously survived. About a girl who wanted to sell her virginity and was committed by her mother to a psychiatric clinic as insane; the truth is that this girl was raped by her father, a highly respected man, and the girl could not cope with it any other way than by writing a controversial advertisement on the Internet. About a young person who is extremely intelligent, but who does not want to and does not know how to live, because years ago she found her mother hanged in a house that had been previously an idyllic space. And about the fact that nobody helps these kids, these people - even if an Animator comes along and manages to open them up, he still leaves after a while, because these are not his problems. And the hospital? The worst in the world, but when they close it, it turns out that it was better to sit quietly and not complain, because such a hospital is better than none at all. This is the reality.

Zubrzycki is inspired by a specific institution and the infamous events surrounding it, but the scale of the problem is so widespread that Zero could be a story about any Polish psychiatric hospital, especially about pediatric wards and young people committed to them; a mad chase after a white rabbit.