22.2.16

szemrany szekspir

i'm a big fan of shakespeare's works. i find classic british humour to be hilarious and roles like hamlet are just wonderful. i've read the major plays, both in polish and english, been to multiple stagings of different interpretations of the genius texts. but i'm not here to fluff around about my love about the guy.

as you know, i visited gdańsk recently and there is this thing there that got me seriously excited. a ''shakespeare's theatre''. sounds cool, right? in reality it's not really but we'll get to that later. 

the theatre is this whole investment and project which was started in the early 2000's and finished 1,5 year ago. it resulted in a building. good fun.

why shakespear? he hasn't even visited gdańsk in his times! it turns out that there was an old theatre (about the time the author was alive), where the new one stands, and they hosted various artists from all over europe. so here's why apparently. 

the idea is great. they built a theatre, designed by an italian architect, which is supposed to be a place for other theatres from all over the country to come and act on a very advanced stage, with amazing technology. 


the biggest thing about this building is the stage itself and the roof. the stage is entirely movable, made of parts that can change the pits hight and make the ''italian stage'' (which is the classic pushed back into the wall stage) into an ''elizabethan stage'' (traditional shakespeare's stage, pushed into the audience, actors can be seen from almost all sides). this poses so many opportunities! like there can be plays just for this stage, much different from the norm, watched from many angles! imagine that...
the seats are movable
italian stage, 
the dark parts can be changed

and here comes the first absurd. even though the stage has so much potential, the guide (he was kinda creepily in love with the whole thing) couldn't name one play that was newly written for this theatre. they don't want to invest in their own troupe (continuing the olden traditions) so the plays depend purely on the guest theatre. oh, and even the true shakespeare plays are on the italian stage! oh my god! such a waste! even the one produced as the first traditional play (they plan on having a premiere once a year of a new shakespeare play, since he wrote so many) wasn't on the full elizabethan stage!

~~~

another cool thing about this building, as mentioned, is the roof. you probably noticed that they have a roof, yet the original didn't have those. 
the pattern is really cool though...

i was really confused at first cause a sort of open air theatre gives a totally different feel to a play than a closed space (and the lighting is very different) but they sort of dealt with that.

they have a freaking movable roof! it weights 40 tonnes, although don't quote me on that, and can open in 3 minutes. because it was really gloomy, rainy and cold when i went, they didn't open it for us but you can see photos on their page. tbh looks interesting.

~~~

now let's get to the szemrany part. szemrany translates to dodgy or shady. 

so... the whole thing seems to be very dangerous, from a ''health and safety''. it seems that the architect was really stubborn with the concept but didn't take into account that this is a public use building. almost all the staircases are like 90cm wide, two people barely fit. we went on this terrace thing:
and when the guy was talking he kind of contradicted himself in the next sentences. firstly, he said that this is not available to the general public and they don't open it during performances, yet it's supposed to be a walking trail and he invited us to suggest projects that can happen in these areas... 

another thing. my mum and i bought tickets online to see a play that very same day, yet somehow they failed to inform us that it's canceled. we were there 3 hours earlier! oh, and they suggested we should keep an eye on their facebook page, tf...

to be honest, the last thing i think is the building from the outside. it is very controversial in the gothic architecture in the city center, i can totally see why. it looks like a burnt tomb to me... i even heard some architecture people discussing it in a cafe, to be gentle, they weren't happy. 

all and all, it was a weird, shady and not very enjoyable experience. and it's such a shame, damn it! 

~~~

now, i'd like to know what you think. i know you probably haven't been but what do you think about the building (it costed almost 100 milion zlotys, the bricks on the outside where hand made...). 

i really don't like it, and it looks terrible in connection to the whole panorama, shame...

~~~

okay, here it is. the travelog is coming on friday i think.

this has been your monday dose of architecture banter.

love, 

qofr

p.s. i'm sososososo sorry this didn't come out last week, my laptop refused to turn on and i had to deal with that...

thank you

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