A supernatural tragicomedy for actors and choir. Told from the perspective of biblical loser, original anti-hero and father of the Jews  – Cain, the work takes a dark and humorous look at one community’s response to an horrific crime. The work draws on Roman, Biblical and Romantic texts plundered and adapted by Brennan between 2011 and 2013, whilst he was employed as ensemble actor and instructor with renowned avante-garde theatre cult Gardzienice OPT. In a small village poised in the wild lands of Poland’s eastern border with Ukraine, the company has inhabited a vast ex-nobel estate for the past 37 years producing arguably the best and most hectic ethnographic music-driven theatre anywhere in the world, under the mad brilliance of Włodzimierz Staniewski.

“The Mark of Cain” is a landmark event. For the first time in the history of the theatre, a show has been directed by someone other than Vladimir Staniewski. Brennan’s work is an eclectic piece of theatre, employing a wide variety of styles and conventions which are used in striking combinations. The performance space becomes a place for the game, which is governed by the rules of alternation, where seemingly mismatched elements collide and the conventions of theatre are flouted. In this particular space unfolds a story of marked people whose lives have been determined by the impossibility of dispelling associated stigmas. Like the tattoos of a prisoner the stigma has distorted the characters. In the final moments of the performance echoes the question, “Is this a crime beyond forgiveness?”  However, the definition of crime is much wider than that of the Cain’s murder. In Brennan’s performance, all are marked.” by Ewa Maria Kazmierczak, Teatr. 2013, # 1

 

‘Robak’ (Worm) composed by Szczepan Pospieszalski.
An extract from the works music sung by James Brennan, Joanna Holcgreber, Lia Ikkos-Serrano, Agnieszka Mendel, Marcin Mrowca, Szczepan Pospieszalski and Janek Zorawski.

photos by Ivor Houlker

James Brennan – writer / director / musical director

Szczepan Pospiszalski – composer / conductor

Michal Zak – composer

Marty Jay – costume

Rhys Chapman – set design and build

Choir of Lublin University of Living Sciences – chorus

Jan Zorawski – performer / script translation

Joanna Holcgreber – performer

Ilona Zgiet – performer

Michal Zgiet – performer

Daniel Adamcyk – performer

Joanna Belzyt – performer / costume assistant

Barbara Ciemiega – performer

Anna Getka – performer

Lia Ikkos-Serrano – performer

Martin Quintela – performer

Anna Sadowska – performer

Damian Borowiec – piano / arrangement

Olena Yeremenko – violin

Malgorzata Krakowska – viola

Anna Bojara – saw