Polish theatre company Teatr Biuro Podrozy to stage Planet Lem
The sci-fi spectacular is inspired by the writings of Stanislaw Lem
This article is from 2012.
In 1995, Teatr Biuro Podrozy won critical acclaim for Carmen Funebre, a harrowing account of the war in Yugoslavia. In 2007, they won more plaudits for Macbeth: Who is that Bloodied Man?, which brought us the three witches on stilts and motorbikes.
Now, the Polish theatre giants return with Planet Lem, a spectacular open-air show inspired by the writings of Polish science fiction writer, Stanislaw Lem. Marta Strzalko, who’s been with the group since 1989, says of the piece: ‘The longing for the sacred and dreams of a better world make science fiction today one of the reservoirs for romantic thinking in the general sense. Planet Lem is a future land which has become a false paradise; a kind of dystopia.’
The huge set takes two-days to set up, and features robots, aliens, astronauts and more other-worldly figures. But while Lem is best known for his 1961 novel Solaris, his importance can sometimes go ignored outside of sci-fi circles.
‘What I like in his writings is his power of intellectual prophesy,’ Strzalko says. ‘Living in today’s world we realise how many phenomena and inventions were already described by Lem long ago. Some science fiction authors think that Stanislaw Lem is a nickname for a group of writers because one person wouldn’t be able to think up all of that.’
Alongside Planet Lem, Teatr Biuro Podrozy will reprise Macbeth and will put on a one-night-only performance of Carmen Funebre for Amnesty International. And although it’s been 18 years since their first appearance, the Fringe hasn’t lost its sheen for Strzalko. 'The Fringe is my strongest theatre experience. I don’t know another festival that would be so challenging and so exciting. It is a month long theatre feast. It’s also very demanding but you end with a feeling that you are a part of an enormous theatre diversity – like a plant in the Amazon jungle.’