Kamila Klamut

Kamila Klamut has a degree in cultural studies from the University of Wrocław. Since the mid-1990s she had been closely associated with the Centre for Study of Jerzy Grotowski’s Work and for Cultural and Theatrical Research, and then, since 2007, with the Grotowski Institute. In 1996, at the invitation of Grzegorz Bral and Anna Zubrzycki, she took part in forming Song of the Goat Theatre and performed in its first piece, Song of the Goat: Dithyramb.

Since 1999 she has collaborated with Jarosław Fret, with whom she has been on several expeditions searching for the oldest extant forms of music. She co-initiated the founding of Teatr ZAR, and appears in all three parts of Teatr ZAR’s triptych Gospels of Childhood (Gospels of Childhood, Caesarean Section, Anhelli), which has been performed in numerous cities around the world, including London, Florence, Paris, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Cairo, Seoul, New Delhi, Beijing (The Theatre Olympics) and Edinburgh, where Caesarean Section: Essays on Suicide won a Total Theatre award for Physical Theatre and a Herald Angel at the 2012 Fringe Festival.

Klamut co-created, with Mariana Sadovska, Camille, a piece inspired by the life and work of French sculptress Camille Claudel, which premiered in the Grotowski Institute in February 2014.

In September 2014 she began collaborating with Studio Matejka, with which she performed in The Harmony of Contradictions: Poland, directed by Matej Matejka. In April 2015, following the invitation of Milan Kozanek, she took part in Couch Corner Performance dance project that took place in the Grotowski Institute during Cyrkulacje Festival.

Kamila Klamut closely collaborates on the BodyConstitution programme that has been realised by the Grotowski Institute within the domain of research in practice. She is currently part of Teatr ZAR’s new project Armine, Sister.

Interview with Kamila Klamut and Ewa Pasikowska (Teatr Zar)


A performance by Kamila Klamut created in cooperation with Mariana Sadovska

Performed by: Kamila Klamut, Ewa Pasikowska

Music: Mariana Sadovska

Directorial assistance: Mariana Sadovska, Carol Brinkmann Ellis, Vivien Wood, Alexandra Kazazou

Lighting design: Bartosz Radziszewski

Set design consultant: Bajka Tworek

Sculptures created by: Marianna Lisiecka, Magdalena Wegrzyn

Assistance with the English translation: Ewa Pasikowska

English translation editor: Anne Dennis

English version of fragments of Camille Claudel’s letters based on a translation from French to Polish by Marie Magneron and Magdalena Spytkowska

Premiere: 27th of February 2014, The Grotowski Institute original cast: Kamila Klamut, Mariana Sadovska

The english version of the performance was premiered on the 7th of February 2015

Suitability: 16+ (Guideline)

Duration: 50 minutes

Mariana Sadovska

Mariana Sadovska is a Ukrainian singer and actress currently living in Cologne, Germany. In her work she draws on Ukraine’s rich musical tradition. She mainly works with Ukrainian folk songs, and the essence of her performance work is what happens at the intersection of the songs and her non-folk contemporary artistic imagination backed up with extraordinary vocal skills. Hailed by critics as the Ukrainian Björk, she spent ten years in Poland, working for the Centre for Theatre Practices “Gardzienice”.

A few years ago she embarked on a solo career, and has given solo concerts around the world. In 2013 she received the RUTH award, the most prestigious German world music prize, and made her debut as a composer with the requiem Chernobyl: The Harvest, which she performed with the Kronos Quartet at the Kiev National Theatre and at the Lincoln Center in New York.

Ewa Pasikowska

Ewa Pasikowska studied philosophy at the University of Wrocław. She was part of the group that formed Teatr ZAR in 2002, and then a member of the company until 2012. While with ZAR she took part in several expeditions to Georgia, Bulgaria, Corsica, Sardinia and performed as an actor-musician in Teatr ZAR’s triptych: Gospels of Childhood, Caesarean Section: Essays on Suicide and Anhelli: The Calling.

She explored Ukrainian orthodox chant traditions (Irmos) under the direction of Natalya Polovynka of Maisternia Pisni Artistic Research Centre (Lviv, Ukraine). In 2012 she moved to London where, with theatre director Andrei Biziorek, she formed Waving Not Drowning!Physical Theatre.

In 2014 Ewa was invited to join the performance of Kamila Klamut, Camille, in which she has been performing since. Currently, together with Andrei Biziorek and a group of singers she researches and performs Corsican polyphonic chants. Ewa continues collaborating with members of Teatr Zar (Aleksandra Kotecka and Tomasz Wierzbowski) exploring Georgian polyphonic singing. She is also a self-taught musician-instrumentalist.

Camille Claudel was a sculptress. She was also a sister of Paul Claudel and for ten years the companion and artist-partner of Auguste Rodin. She died over 70 years ago. The last 30 years of her life Camille Claudel spent in a mental asylum.

The last photo ever taken of Camille provided an impulse that directly influenced the final shape of the performance. It features Camille together with a friend who visited her in the hospital. I imagined that the visits, which didn’t occur very often during her 30 years in the asylum, may have evoked in her a cascade of memories – memories whose shapes I sensed and clothed in my own sensitivity. Camille’s friend was Jessie Lipscomb, who since the very early days of Camille’s stay in Paris was her work companion. A British woman, who after her first successes in her own country, came to the capital city of France to continue studying sculpture. She soon became a confidant of Camille, and so it went on almost until the end of her life. In the photo from 1929, taken by William Elborn – Jessie’s husband – we see two women, advanced in years, sitting on one of the porches of the Montdevergues hospital in Montfavet near Avignon. In the summer of 2014 together with Ewa Pasikowska I visited this place. Today it is a modern medical centre surrounded by a forest full of incredibly loud cicadas, the sound of which could still, once more, drive a person mad. The old buildings, where Camille had spent around 30 years of her life, have been preserved. Ironically, Camille is probably the best known patient of this place, although we know how strongly she wanted to avoid this infamy: “I have not done all I’ve done, just to end my life as number one of some hospital; I deserve something else...”

Camille died in the hospital, aged 79, as a serene old lady, remembered warmly by the medical staff. What an amazing internal process she must have gone through during those 30 years. How was it that throughout her life she was a rebel, sometimes quite ill-mannered, uncompromisingly breaking the French female stereotype at the turn of the 19th/20th Century? In France, it wasn’t until the middle of the 20th century that a woman stopped being “perpetually adolescent”. This meant she could not decide her own fate, often also the fate of her children (mothers became equal to fathers in the matter of parental authority only in 1970). Prior to this change, women were evenly handed from the guardianship of their parents to that of their husbands or brothers. After the death of their mother, Paul Claudel used this legal status to keep Camille in Montdevergues, even though after only a few years in the hospital, the doctors had appealed to Claudel’s family in order that she might come back to normal life. The decision of placing a member of the family or a friend in a hospital for the mentally ill shouldn’t be easy, the matter is rather complex. One must consider not only the best interests of the ill person, but also the financial circumstances of her family, who might not be able to afford to create the right conditions to aid recovery. This was not the case with the Claudel family, however, who were very wealthy. In 1927 Paul Claudel bought a medieval castle in Brangues in southern France. Up until her final days Camille kept asking Paul to enable her to return to the family house in Villeneuve-sur-Fere, where they were born, but her brother turned a deaf ear to her pleading. I believe that his fundamental motives where ideological. Paul, who converted to catholicism quite late, had the zeal of a neophyte. Six months after putting his sister in the asylum he published a text in Comoedia about his vision of staging the self- -written drama Annunciation. Bruno Dumont, in his film Camille Claudel, 1915 from 2013, interprets Paul’s decision to lock up Camille as being motivated by a wish to punish his sister for her abortion, which he suspected she underwent while in relationship with Auguste Rodin.

At a certain point in her life Camille Claudel went through a deep nervous breakdown that led to depression and obsession. Certainly now it would be much easier to help her in a more humanitarian way, but over 100 years ago in France (and obviously not only there), there was only one idea of how to deal with the situation. If it was not uncommon to lock up a woman in a lunatic asylum because of irregular menstruation or ebullient erotic fantasies (one such institution was La Sain Maison de Correction, the branch of the Salpêtrière Hospital in Paris for immoral young women, practically children), what other reaction could one expect to Camille – weird, sticky from dirt, hiding within her four walls? In 1909 Paul Claudel wrote in his diary: “In Paris Camille went insane. Wallpaper ripped in long strips, the only armchair broken and torn, horrible filth. Camille dreadful, with a soiled face, speaking ceaselessly in a monotonous and metallic voice.” But before she got to that point, she lived through her golden years, most of which she spent in a stormy relationship with Auguste Rodin, which changed her life for good. They created a perfect creative tandem. She was his muse, his assistant, but also during all that time she was an independent sculptress with her own artistic path. Auguste was also a father to the child she lost. This moment in her biography marks the beginning of her end, a merciless downfall that leads Camille into the abyss.

Kamila Klamut


Gospels of Childhood. The Triptych

performance of Theatre ZAR

Performance is a culmination of the company’s more than 10 years of work with ancient sacred songs. It premiered in London at the Barbican Centre in 2009 and was presented in Los Angeles, Florence, San Francisco, Chicago, Sibiu in Romania, also in Wrocław, Legnica, Szczecin and Bydgoszcz in Poland. Separate parts of the opus were presented among others in Athens, Edinburgh, Madrid, Beograd, Budapest, Paris, Cairo, Seoul, New Delhi, Boston. With presentation of it Teatr ZAR was named Best New Music Theatre from the „Los Angeles Times“ in 2009, and in October 2010 it was honoured with the Wrocław Theatre Price.

Overture. Fragments on Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood

performance of Theatre ZAR

The first presentation initiating the work on the performance Gospels of Childhood took place during the 25th Anniversary of the Centre for Theatre Practices “Gardzienice”. The premiere performance was in October 2003 in Brzezinka, the forest base of The Centre for Study of Jerzy Grotowski’s Work and for Cultural and Theatrical Research.

The 19 parts of “Gospels of Childhood” consist of Georgian liturgy, Svan songs, biblical allusions (Greek, Roman and Gnostic) and a touch of relatively modern angst, courtesy of Dostoyevsky and French philosopher Simone Weil. Birth and death are exercised and exorcised. The main characters are Mary Magdalene and her sister, Martha, but mainly they are the dancer in the orange dress (Kamila Klamut) and the dancer in the red dress (Ditte Berkeley).

fragment of Mark Swed review, Los Angeles Times


Caesarean Section. Essays on Suicide

performance of Theatre ZAR

The first special presentation of the project took place in May 2007 in Florence as part of the Fabbrica Europa festival, at the invitation of Roberto Bacci. The premiere of the performance was in December 2007 in the Grotowski Institute, Wrocław. Performace shown at the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh in August 2012 was presented with the prestigious Total Theatre Award in the category Physical/Visual Theatre and Herald Angel Award.

At the heart of the score an elemental chorus based on polyphonic Corsican songs seems to rise from the earth. Nini Julia Bang in particular has the most strange and wonderful voice, sounding sometimes like she is singing in a cave or cathedral, while sublime lighting bathes every strained muscle of the performers' bodies in a spiritual glow. As a shaft of it pours down on dancer Kamila Klamut she reaches up, desperate to touch whatever salvation it might bring. In the final image, a broken pieta, her frozen silent scream is unforgettable.

fragment of Lucy Ribchester review


Anhelli. The Calling

performance of Theatre ZAR

The premiere presentations of the performance took place at the Barbican Centre, London in September 2009, as the last part of the triptych Gospels of Childhood, shown within the POLSKA! YEAR in Great Britain. In October 2011 special version of the performance was presented in Belchite near Zaragoza, in ruins of San Augustino church in the historic part of the city that still bears traces of the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939).

Armine, Sister

performance of Theatre ZAR

Armine, Sister touches on how painful the memory-carrying process can be. It is also an attempt to identify/name our place in relation to past generations, and to understand who we are – we, who always stand on the other side of memory like on the other side of the camera. We gaze at history through a peephole, seeing only a trace, a shadow, a thought. For our new project, Armine, Sister, we decided to explore Anatolian monodic traditions, based on the group’s vocal competence built for over ten years, resulting from our experience performing polyphonic songs. The project includes musicians from various music traditions of Asia Minor, Anatolia and Iran.

Harmony of contradictions - Poland

performance of Studio Matejka

Harmony of Contradictions: Poland is about watching Poland from a distance, with irony, but simultaneously with commitment and seriousness. It is both a return to the past, and a critical gaze at our current reality filled with absurdities and contradictions. The project attempts to understand and convey some aspects of Poland’s juxtaposed identity. It does this by presenting a symbiosis of opposite standards, attitudes and behaviours. Using a combination of contemporary performance, new media and installations, the artists create a subjective landscape of what Poland means for them.

Characteristically the most successfull part of the project produced by "laboratory of theatrical expression" - as Matejka pathetically defines his Studio-was simply a well acted role, almost of traditional theatre lineage. The revelatory Kamila Klamut acted a solo of a patient in a therapy session with bravado. In fact she could have played this role in any other space with similar effect. Klamut proved again that talent and professionalism in theatre count for more than any ideology or directorial concept. With her charismatic acting she made me forget for a moment were I was and even made me feel warm inside.

fragment of Mirosław Kocura review

Work session with Song of The Goat Theater in Brzezinka (forest base of The Grotowski Institute) – summer 1997 Work session with Song of The Goat Theater in Brzezinka (forest base of The Grotowski Institute) – summer 1997

Dytyramb - Song of the Goat

performance of Song of the Goat Theatre

"Dytyramb - Song of the Goat" (1997), the first performance of Song of the Goat Theatre, whose musical layer referred to old songs from the Greek region of Epiros, Albania, Romania, Greek funeral lamentations and the tradition of Madinados-musical improvisations of poetry from Crete. The story was based on "Bacchae" of Euripides. Out of this mixture the group tried to evoke the spirit of ancient spectacle.


Tuning the Body. Awareness

For me, developing mindfulness of the body means, on the one hand, a challenge that might lead to the opening and broadening of the actor’s/person’s perception in her animal, biological core and, on the other, the development of the skill of looking into our inner self which is deeply connected with presence.

How to develop actor’s physical training to turn it into mental training?

How to expand the spectrum of the actor’s presence?

The work is based on elements of partner training and on individual actions. The common denominator is an attempt to build an internal line of actor’s dramaturgy, clearly discernible from the outside, but immersed in an organic process.