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2015 | 20 | 80 - 87

Article title

Theological Tropes in Piotr Cieplak's Theatre


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In contemporary art, seemingly far from religious or faith-related affiliations, one can find many theological tropes: hidden values, symbols and motifs. Being focused on existential issues, touching upon the problems of suffering, dying, longing and love, theatre is still open to getting engaged in a dialogue with theology. Piotr Cieplak, one of the contemporary theatre directors that is worthy of greater attention, uses the language of “verging realities”, i.e. in his performances, he refers to the notions from the realm of theology. He is interested in such issues as faith, doubt, trust, hope and salvation. One of Cieplak’s inspirations at work is the thought of Tomasz Halik, an outstanding Czech theologian. His deliberations contained in the book Cierpliwość wobec Boga (Patience With God) can be a key to interpreting “Somkowy kapelusz” performance. This French farce dressed with T.S. Elliot’s poetry and read through the theological lens of Tomasz Halik becomes a story of patient waiting for an unnamed mystery. Here, Cieplak refers to the apophatic theology where God is described as the presence of Absence, a being impossible to embrace or label in any way. From this perspective, “Słomkowy kapelusz” is a story of a man who knows that he is an actor in the big theatre of the world, who believes, doubts, ask questions, longs but is unshakably waiting on the threshold of the mystery.


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