“the dead class” TADEUSZ KANTOR / DEMENTIA 2008

Tadeusz Kantor’s theatre piece “The Dead Class” is to be considered a fundamental work of 20iest century theatre history. Childhood memories, remembrance and the omnipresent sentiment of death are the material for this “dramatic seance” (as Kantor himself called it) that is located in the corner of a dark and indefinite space at the light of a simple bulb.

The first presentation of this perfect theatrical machine of memory took place in Krakow on 15th November 1975, in the cellar of a 15th century palace, location of the Krzysztofory gallery and meeting point of artists and theatre folks.

30 years after the creation of “The Dead Class”, the CRT Artificio Milan (Center of Theatrical Researches), which has produced all the last works of Tadeusz Kantor till his sudden death in 1990, and the Triennale of Milan have prepared a special event that includes for the first time a group of 24 original drawings, two installations by Tadeusz Kantor and a video document with the integral performance.

Incredibly, “The Dead Class”, which was hosted by theatres all over the world more than a thousand times, has never been entirely documented – excluding Andrzej Wajda’s freely inspired film of the work and a TV document filmed in Paris without audience.

This new video document uses one rare fragment filmed in 1976 and other video documents collected from 1975 to 1990 from various places, in order to faithfully reconstruct the entire work on the basis of Kantor’s original script.

In order to underline the uniqueness of this event and its emotional impact, the projection of “The Dead Class” is intersected live by the words of Tadeusz Kantor (some of them unpublished) through the voice of a long time actor of Teatr Cricot 2.


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