Anna Wakulik, one of the most interesting Polish playwrights of the moment, is coming to Barcelona to teach a course and present a play of hers that premiered to great success at the Royal Court Theatre in London.
“It’s not that I’m afraid to die, I just don’t want to be there when it happens” wrote Woody Allen (whom we may hate for #metoo, but we can’t stop loving his great punchlines!).
I’m interested in humour in theatre writing. What are the tools we need to pierce the balloon of seriousness and involve the audience in the story we are telling?
How to play with humour – whether you write a comedy, a farce, or something serious, which in my opinion shouldn’t be 100% serious to avoid losing the dramatic power. Can we stand a fully serious theatre piece? What makes us laugh in different cultures? What types of humour can we find and describe? Are the same things funny for British and Romanian audiences? For sure they are not, but perhaps there are some universal rules? How culture is reflected in the sense of humour and – thinking of writing craft – can we detect where in the language, where in situations created by the writer, where in characters we can find something that brings a smile to our faces and perhaps paradoxically makes the whole story more serious and moving?
And how can we deal with it in the translation – is it possible to translate a sense of humour from language to language and from culture to culture? Who laughs more on Hanoch Levin? Who prefers Roberto Cossa? Who’s a fan of Woody Allen?
I would like to examine the differences between the grotesque, black humour, farce, nonsense – all possible versions of comedy, but also find the funny moments in plays which are more about serious topics. I’m interested in what makes you laugh and how you see this subject.
We will analyse excerpts of plays, write and talk about humour. So please, come along prepared to laugh!
Within the GREC 2017 Festival of Barcelona.
Anna Wakulik was born in Gdańsk, Poland, and studied at the Playwriting School (Szkoła Dramatu) of Teatr na Woli in Warsaw and at the Institute of Polish Culture at the University of Warsaw. She is an associate playwright at the Teatr Dramatyczny, Warsaw. From 2012 to 2014 she was the Literary Manager at Teatr im. L. Solskiego, Tarnów. She was also Press Secretary at Teatr Atelier im. A. Osieckiej, Sopot, from 2006 to 2009.
She is the author of the play Zażynki (A Time to Reap) (Teatr Polski, Poznań; The Royal Court Theatre, London; the play was nominated for a London Evening Standard Theatre Award in 2013, received the Journalists’ Prize in the Teatr Polski Poznań’s playwriting contest Metafory Rzeczywistości and was shortlisted for the All Poland Staged Contemporary Play Contest [Ogólnopolski Konkurs na Wystawienie Polskiej Sztuki Współczesnej]) and Bohaterowie (Heroes) (Teatr im. L. Solskiego, Tarnów).
She has been a runner-up for the Gdynia Dramaturgy Award (Gdyńska Nagroda Dramaturgiczna) multiple times: in 2010 for her play Krzywy domek (Crooked House) (in collaboration with the Teatroteka series, 2016; Polish Radio Theatre, 2016); in 2014 for Wasza wysokość (Your Highness) (which premiered at Teatr WARSawy; in collaboration with the Teatroteka series, 2015; Polish Radio Theatre, 2017); in 2015 for Dziki Zachód (The Sentence), and in 2016 for Błąd wewnętrzny (Internal Error). Her other awards and nominations include: 2009 runner-up for her text Sans Souci in Teatr Polski Poznań’s playwriting contest Metafory Rzeczywistości; 2011 winner of the Teatr Wybrzeże’s playwriting contest for Elżbieta H. (Elizabeth H.).
She has been published in the dramaturgical monthly Dialog (Dialogue) (including the plays Sans Souci, Elżbieta H., Zażynki, Wasza wysokość and Dziki Zachód). She was recipient of a grant from the Polish Ministry of Culture and Cultural Heritage in 2013. She also taught creative writing at Collegium Civitas, Szkoła Dramatu, and the Warsaw School of Photography and Graphic Design.