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Iwona Kempa

photo: Tomasz Ostrowski

GLASSROOM director Iwona Kempa

Premiere 6 November 2021 - Theatre Academy in Warsaw

Diploma performance of the 4th year of the drama theatre acting course

Before the premiere, I spoke to Iwona Kempa, the director of the show.

Tomasz Ostrowski: In a devastated abandoned greenhouse, a group of teenagers meet at night. They are lost in the modern adult world and in a world of their own problems. What prompted the choice of Jordan Tannahill's The Greenhouse as the graduation play for the fourth year of the drama theatre acting course? 

Iwona Kempa: I knew the text beforehand because I was preparing another play by Jordan Tannahill in Krakow at the beginning of the year. I met the author's agent, who sent me all his texts. Tannahill is a young Canadian playwright, but already acclaimed and award-winning. He is a versatile artist, writing not only dramas but also screenplays and novels, and directing himself. He is also very socially engaged. He is an activist in many fields. He fights against homophobia, stands up for people from the LGBT community, and is also involved in the climate protection movement. "Greenhouse" also came about under specific circumstances, as a result of Tannahill's work with young people from the Toronto suburbs. First the play was created, and then the text of the play. Writing on stage and staging the play was probably part of the social activism of this group of young people. I think it's important for Tannahill to refer to the local context when staging it in a given reality, to try and create a collective portrait of youth that is relevant to that place and time each time. For me, it was the perfect material for a graduation play. I felt that the suburbs of Toronto could be the suburbs of Warsaw.

In his text, the author uses not names and not surnames, but the names of plants that may have been grown in this greenhouse in the past, also the names of animals and objects. 

Yes, as well as having a group of ten teenagers telling a story that happened in a greenhouse, Tannahill also gives voice to animals and objects: the titular greenhouse that witnessed the events, the birds and the fox that inhabit the greenhouse, which build a non-human perspective of the events. These characters are also embodied by the individual 'story tellers'. The overarching structure of the drama is precisely that of a story written for voices.

Important to the story is the moment when the young people receive a phone call from a dead girl, whose body Rosa Mundi and Rose Rose discovered in a well in the vicinity of an old greenhouse. 

In Tannahill's and in our performance, the voice becomes a person. We deliberately don't use the phone at all, we bring a person on stage straight away. The status of this character remains mysterious almost until the end of the play.

At the same time, according to the author's suggestion in the didascalia, all the actors remain on stage at all times and create a collective performance. 

It is a narrative written in voices. It is undoubtedly a collective creation. This is also the reason why I chose this text, because it seemed to me that the moment of creating a diploma is very important precisely for a group of young actors and actresses who are finishing a stage of several years' work together. Perhaps this is the last moment when they will create something together in this very group and then disperse, hopefully happily, to many theatres.

Thank you for talking to me. 

Thank you


White Rose – Sylwia Achu
Fox - Waleria Gorobets
Rose Pink – Magdalena Kekenmeister
Rosa Mundi – Weronika Kozakowska
Rose Red – Kamila Najduk
Sofa – Robert Czerwiński
Rice eater – Paweł Gasztold-Wierzbicki
Greenhouse – Szczepan Kajfasz
Jan – Jakub Pruski
Rose Bush – Jan Wieteska

author of the text: Jordan Tannahill
author of the translation: Krzysztof Puławski
directing: Iwona Kempa
sets, costumes, and projections: Jeanne Zemanek
assistant director: Kinga Chudobińska-Zdunik

photo: Tomasz Ostrowski