Sedler? Callas? Zajączkowska!
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31. 01. 2017.

A screening of ‘Walpurgis Night’ recently took place in our Cinema. Małgorzata Zajączkowska, who plays Nora Sedler in the film, was present alongside director Marcin Bortkiewicz.

After the screening, there was a meeting with our guests – Marcin Bortkiewicz told viewers about how he received a proposition to create an intimate drama centered around two actors. Roman Polanski’s ‘Venus in Fur’ was meant to be a primary inspiration. Working with a minimal budget proved a challenge, as did finding a group of actors who were willing to immerse themselves in the film.

Bortkiewicz wanted his directorial debut to portray a story that was important for its viewers and such a desire led him to adapt Magdalena Gauer’s ‘Diva’ for the screen. Gauer’s work focuses on an opera singer who survived the Holocaust. Martin Bortkiewicz, who co-authored the script, admitted it was difficult to introduce a second character into proceedings, which resulted in work on the script taking two months.

Małgorzata Zajączkowska let viewers know her first impressions of the play, which she read whilst the script was still unfinished. She admitted that the proposition of playing the protagonist was exciting, but also extremely challenging and required a unique perspective. She felt as if she was embarking on her first ever role again, shedding years of experience in the process. Bortkiewicz even admitted that the first rehearsal looked completely different to the final scenes in the film. Following early edits, it became clear that the actors’ performances required less subtlety than originally planned and a different approach was required.

The evening’s guests also informed viewers about the importance of documentation. The director left no stone unturned during production, meticulously checking the musical score and even the number of digits in a telephone number seen on screen. Marcin Bortkiewicz emphasized the need for each character to be grounded in a form of dramatical structure. As a result, he wrote a short fictional biography of each role which he relayed to the actors. Małgorzata Zajączkowska found this very useful and felt it gave her character substance. She also revealed one of her inspirations to be Maria Callas, principally the way she behaved in unofficial and confrontational situations. Such occurrences, like the time she was thrown out of a theatre and relieved of her role in a play for acting inappropriately, shed light on Callas’ true character. Such material aided Zajączkowska in her portrayal of a diva, who’s behavior suddenly changes as soon as she enters the dressing room.