The authors of ”Ball at Hawking’s” ask the question not only about the essence of the disability, but also whether it has to be a barrier that separates people from the world.
The play’s protagonist is Stephen Hawking, (Michal Przybysz), an exceptional scientist who has been suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis for 50 years.
That fact that he cannot move on his own and he uses speech synthesis to communicate with the world has neither inhibited his scientific career nor prevented him from an active participation in public life. Moreover, after the diagnosis, Hawking got married, then he sired three children and after 30 years of marriage he got divorced in order to marry his nurse.
Two different plots are alternating on the stage. The first one is scientist’s love story and the second one the theme ball that is taking place in his head.
There aren’t any taboos in the play. One of the scenes is accompanied by a moving monologue of Teresa Trudzik, Ark’s young actress with disability, who speaks about corporeality and erotic fulfillment. Hawking’s story is reach in all the indispensable ingredients of good affair: passion and tenderness, faithfulness and betrayal, intimacy and rejection. The only difference is a wheelchair to which the protagonist is confined. The inertness of his body is purely physical barrier – it is Hawking who will achieve victory on a love battlefield and progressive disease won’t make his passion and infatuation disappear.
How about the second plot, the theme ball? It is a race of thoughts, questions and scientific theories, performed by Ark’s young actors dressed up in colourful abstract costumes that resemble magnified to gigantic proportions neurons, being spotted during hectic, apparently chaotic chase. God, universe, Einstein’s theory of relativity – all of this runs in front of spectator’s eyes at such a deadly pace that we have an impression that our “able-bodied” heads are just about to explode. It is a living, vivid proof of the fact that the disease, that destroys protagonist’s body, leaves his mind untouched.
“Ball at Hawking’s” scenography refers to the black holes on which Hawking has been working for many years. In the beginning of his career he was proving that they destroy everything that they capture. 30 years later he revised his theory. The trip to the ”Ball…” may cause a similar revision – it shows that disability doesn’t necessarily mean the end of the life that we would like to live.
Direction – Renata Jasińska
Director's Assistant – Maciej Sibilski
Scenario – Jarosława Makus – based on the works by Stephen Hawking and Andrzej Falkiewicz
Scientific Advice – dr Iwona Mróz
Music – Łukasz Damrych, Maciej Sibilski
Sets and costumes – Sylwia and Maciej Hoffman
Choreography – Agata Obłąkowska-Woubishet, Alessandra Donati
Electroacoustics – Bartosz Pakos
Dresser – Dorota Dolik
Technician – Bogdan Rachuta
Project Coordination – Anna Kowal and Mariusz Gaj
Cast (actors & adepts):
Husband – Michał Przybysz
Wife/Marilyn Monroe – Agata Obłąkowska-Woubishet
Musician – Maciej Sibilski
Flatlanders – Sylwester Różycki and Tomasz Żytka
Mathematical Equations – Teresa Trudzik, Joanna Gierdal, Alicja Idasiak, Anna Rzempołuch, Jan Kot, Dariusz Bajorczyk
Shakespeare – Andrzej Kusiak