Tag Archives: malta festival 2009

Poland – Part 13: First Day in Poznan, Still Sick, and LA MENZOGNA

June 26, 10:10AM

Just had breakfast – cocoa puffs again, and the strange Poland milk.  The bunks last night weren’t too pleasant, and I half-jokingly recall hearing distant gunfire through our windows last night.

Probably just my imagination.

Tamara is handing out tickets for the shows:  La Menzogna and Caligula.  She also tells us that it’s going to be hot and humid for the next few days.  Oh well, at least there isn’t a garbage strike to stink it up.

Oh, and a sad bit of news today:  Michael Jackson and Farah Fawcett have died.

We hit the streets and started to explore.




Just got my official program for the Malta! Festival.  Wow!  Lots of big names in this festival – and not just theatre, but bands too!

Nine Inch Nails!  Jane’s Addiction!  Snow Patrol!  Radiohead! Unfortunately, we’re not saying long enough to see Radiohead or Jane’s, and we’ve already missed NIN – but Snow Patrol is on tonight.  I’ll bet that the tickets for them will have been sold out far in advance, but it still might be worth checking out.


Just finished eating a nice, simple, spaghetti and tortellini meal at a pasta bar.


Everybody is talking about Michael Jackson.

The structure for today seems pretty relaxed.  I’m not exactly sure what’s on the itinerary.  I think I’m just going to tag along with the group I’m in and see what happens.

And my throat is still killing me.


All the stores we’re going into today are playing Michael Jackson; mourning the death of the King of Pop.  People are carrying radios, and playing his music out loud.

It’s chilly and windy today.  Where was that humidity that Tamara promised?  I didn’t bring my jacket, and now I’m freezing.


We spent the last few hours walking around, eating, drinking, and talking:


Along the way, I met a nice Polish dog.  The owner was kind enough to let me pet her:


My throat is getting worse.  Bleh.  I think I’m going to go back to the hostel and take a nap.


Just woke up from my nap.  Skipped this Guerilla Walk thing that we had the option of doing today.  Not sure what that is, but Tamara and Peter are raving about it.  Anyhow, glad I took the nap.  I’m feeling a bit better.


Just had some, you guessed it, pirogies!  Pretty good – very filling!

Our next stop is our first show in Poznan, called La Menzogna.  The theatre is a 20 minute hike from the hostel.

The cigarette smoke from the crowd outside the theatre isn’t helping my throat much.  Cough cough cough.


The theatre space was cavernous – it reminded me of either a large gymnasium, or a small aircraft hanger.  There were bleachers, and cushions on the ground in front of the bleachers to face the stage.

Initially, I sat on the cushions but eventually decided to migrate to the bleachers – it was going to be a long show, and I’d need the back support.

As usual, I’m a bit at a loss to describe this show.

First off, I went in (and came out) not really knowing what it was talking about or trying to say.

And that’s not only because it wasn’t in English.

Months later, with the help of the Internet, I am able to tell you what they were trying to do:

In December 2007, on Thyssen Krupp’s steel factory in Turin, a fire takes the lives of seven factory workers. From this tragic work accident, Pippo Delbono draws a theatrical, political and spiritual journey, in the line of his work, which combines theatre, dance, music and poetry, producing a unique stage language, which has brought him recognition from all over Europe. Delbono’s theatre is contaminated by life, raising questions he wants to share with the spectators, and a place of encounter and reflection on the nature of human being. La Menzogna aims to question human life’s dignity of and its place among our society.

As usual, reactions from my comrades were mixed.  I found the whole thing rather silly.  I believe the main character was supposed to be some sort of frightening ringmaster.  He did “edgy” things like coming into the audience, waving a lead pipe around, and snapping pictures of us…invading our space.  I found him rather boring and impotent.

And then there was the nudity.  At this point in the trip, I’d seen a lot of nudity on stage – both male, and female.

And you know what?  I get it.  I see what you did there.  You got all vulnerable for me.  Thanks.

The lead character got all naked, and it was almost as if he was saying to me, “Look!  Look how vulnerable I just became for you!  Look at what I’m giving you!  BASK IN IT!”.

And…again, I just thought it was silly.  And it had so much promise!  The set was absolutely gorgeous.  Ah well.  A disappointment.  I’d certainly choose it over Cleansed or Medea, though.

After the show, we walked back towards the hostel.  We stopped by a restaurant for a late dinner – it was Peter’s last night with us (he would be taking a train to Warsaw at 6AM the next morning and flying back to Toronto to prepare the Playhouse for the Fringe festival), so we all hung out with him to say our farewells.

The whole time, my throat was getting worse and worse.  The restaurant was engulfed in cigarette smoke.

I eventually left, and went back to the hostel to sleep.

Click here to go to Part 14: Guerilla Walk and CALIGULA

Click here to go back to Part 12: Getting Sick, To Poznan, and A Sketchy Hostel

Poland – Part 12: Getting Sick, To Poznan, and A Sketchy Hostel

June 25, 11:25AM

It seems like we just got to Krakow, and now we’re leaving again.  We’re taking a 7 hour bus ride today to Poznan for the 2009 Malta Festival.

Originally, the plan was to wake up around 8:30AM this morning and go on a walking tour of Krakow.  But when 8:30AM rolled around, and people started getting up, my throat was absolutely killing me.  I was getting sick.  It wasn’t a surprise – Ryan and Jiv had been sick the night before, and all of the second-hand cigarette smoke I was inhaling probably wasn’t helping either.

So I thought it’d be best if I sacrificed seeing more of Krakow for my health.  I went back to bed.

I woke up just after 11AM.  It turns out that Una and Linn opted out too, and now we’re sitting outside of the hostel at the first floor restaurant.  We’re about to get breakfast, and then it’s 7 hours to Poznan.


Still sitting outside the restaurant.  We’re really taking it easy this morning…I had a “Polish Breakfast” (bread, ham, cheese, scrambled eggs), orange juice, and a lemon sorbet for my throat.  It looks like either Linn or Una got pirogies:


Our waiter found out we were from Canada, and says that our rugby team is really rough and tumble, but “never gets anywhere”.  Hm.  I didn’t even know we had a team.

Everybody came back from the walking tour (or from their own separate morning adventures) at pretty much the same time.


And then we were off!

3:00PM – On the Bus to Poznan

We’re on our way to Poznan.  We left about 40 minutes ago.  I’m trying to read Guns, Germs and Steel.  Even by itself, it’s a pretty hard book to read.  Now try doing it on a bumpy bus with people talking all over the place.  Not exactly ideal.  I found myself rereading paragraphs over and over again without really absorbing anything.  Eventually I gave up and just looked at the countryside.


You can barely see them in the second shot, but there are wind turbines in the background.  Wind turbines seem to be pretty common out here.  It’d probably be more common in Southern Ontario if we didn’t have the Hydro system to rely on.


Still en route to Poznan.  Apparently another hour and a half to go.  We’ve driven through a pretty brutal thunder/rain storm.  Rain flooded an entire section of the street, but our bus driver, Pan (Mr.) Stephan, just plowed right on through it.

Now the sun is setting, and it’s overcast, but at least the rain has stopped.  We’re all getting pretty stir-crazy in the bus.  We’ve all been reading, sleeping, playing word games, making jokes, telling stories… this long trip has reminded us of how brutal our flight home will be (20+ hours!!).  We also joked about the garbage strike (which was still on at that point).

We’ve been eating chips, popcorn, and other junkfood from gas stations and rest stops along the way.  I feel pretty trashy.  Everybody is restless.


We’ve arrived at the hostel.  Feeling like trash.  We couldn’t find the place at first, and then found out we had to walk down a sketchy alleyway to get there.

To top it off, between us and the door was a veritable lake of foul smelling liquid.  We grit our teeth, and Tamara visibly shuddered as we walked through our personal oasis of filth to the hostel door.

This hostel really doesn’t feel secure at all.  And the shower doesn’t drain.  And the bathroom door doesn’t close properly.  The beds aren’t comfy.  A whole host of complaints.  Our long journey probably didn’t help our mood.

And I was hungry.  So after dumping my stuff at the hostel, I walked back through the putrid lake, and found an all-night grocery.  I got some fruit, some yogurt, and some soup.  I showered (most unpleasant, with the soapy water not draining), and then I went to sleep on my lumpy mattress on the creaky bunkbed in the sketchy hostel.

Click here to go to Part 13: First Day in Poznan, Still Sick, and LA MENZOGNA

Click here to go back to Part 11.5:  Back to the Hostel