Grzegorz Wiśniewski’s Production of Richard III in Teatr Jaracza in Łódź—Textual Authority, the “Director’s Cut”, and Theatre Status
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Grzegorz Wiśniewski’s 2012 Richard III in Teatr Jaracza in Łódź was a very successful production with critics and audiences alike. At the 2012 Gdańsk Shakespeare Festival it won the Golden Yorick, a prestigious Polish award for the best staging of a Shakespearean play in the season. Wiśniewski, a renown Polish theatre director and professor at the National Film School in Łódź, has his own way of understanding theatre, its role in culture, and Shakespeare’s place in it. Wiśniewski believes in the theatre of the middle path, as he calls it, that is neither classical/conservative, nor radically avantgarde. He wants to attract wide audiences and offer them intellectual and well-balanced cultural entertainment. Without diminishing the weight of such cultural and literary icons as Shakespeare, he vivisects texts to make productions that can easily speak to a contemporary audience. This paper analyzes Wiśniewski’s Richard III to show how the director manages to achieve balance between his own auteur power, the authority and complexity of Shakespeare’s text, and theatre’s cultural mission.