Kamila Klamut has a degree in cultural studies from the University of Wrocław. Since the mid-1990s she had been closely associated with the Centre for Study of Jerzy Grotowski’s Work and for Cultural and Theatrical Research, and then, since 2007, with the Grotowski Institute. In 1996, at the invitation of Grzegorz Bral and Anna Zubrzycki, she took part in forming Song of the Goat Theatre and performed in its first piece, Song of the Goat: Dithyramb.
Since 1999 she has collaborated with Jarosław Fret, with whom she has been on several expeditions searching for the oldest extant forms of music. She co-initiated the founding of Teatr ZAR, and appears in all three parts of Teatr ZAR’s triptych Gospels of Childhood (Gospels of Childhood, Caesarean Section, Anhelli), which has been performed in numerous cities around the world, including London, Florence, Paris, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Cairo, Seoul, New Delhi, Beijing (The Theatre Olympics) and Edinburgh, where Caesarean Section: Essays on Suicide won a Total Theatre award for Physical Theatre and a Herald Angel at the 2012 Fringe Festival.
Camille Claudel was an artist and sculptor who spent 10 years of her life as the partner of Auguste Rodin, refused the patriarchal conventions of her contemporary France and subsequently spent her final three decades in an asylum. Polish performer Kamila Klamut has created a suitably dark and tortured tribute to those final years, a work of shadows and anguish, a lament for the domination of women’s bodies and the excision of the unusual, the deviant and the revolutionary. Claudel describes her own "kidnapping" – facilitated by her brother Paul, who resented his sister's bohemian ways – reflecting on her life before the hospital and raging at her current situation. It’s a wild, exhilarating performance from Klamut, accompanied with subtle, shifting live music from multi-instrumentalist Ewa Pasikowska. It’s a work that suffers more than most from the sound-bleed that afflicts Edinburgh venues, because it has been created in such subtle, shifting tones. It’s a painterly production, built from strong contrasts of light and shadow, noise and silence. As it builds to its violent conclusion, period detail is smashed away in an iconoclasm of death metal. It’s a song of waste. A lament for wasted, stolen years.
Fragments of Stewart Pringle's review, The Stage
9 Auguste 2016
Notable French sculptor Camille Claudel, kidnapped by her older brother Paul and confined in a psychiatric institution in 1913 for the final 30 years of her life, is here remembered by performance artist Kamila Klamut. Her touching, tortured performance verbalises the violent punishment of women for exercising autonomy over their bodies and their artistry. It is thought that Paul’s motivation to have Camille arrested was to incarcerate her for a suspected abortion, which Paul assumed she underwent after her relationship with Auguste Rodin. Klamut sits in almost total darkness from inside her room, a shaft of light illuminating only parts of her face, as she recounts her brutal kidnapping and transfer to the asylum. A large sculpture ominously gazes over Camille throughout, which she occasionally stops to scold as if it were Paul himself. This often obscure performance is bursting with intellectual rigour. From the way in which Klamut constructs and performs the infantilisation of women in France during the 20th century to the hostile male gaze which frequently objectifies and assaults, Camille is both distressed condemnation and tender soliloquy. Accompanied by classical piano music performed by Mariana Sadovska, it is careful to guard against any joy we might experience. After all, Camille is also a meditation on how asylums cause insanity, rather than treat the condition. We are gradually, painfully, dragged into an abyss. What is at times a difficult watch is also an uncompromising interrogation of silenced and obliterated sexual and artistic freedom. Relentless and chilling, to be sure, but utterly compelling.
Fragments of Andrew Latimer's review, The Fest
15 Auguste 2016
Camille Claudel was a 19th century sculptor. She was also Auguste Rodin’s lover for ten years, and sister of the dramatist and poet, Paul Claudel. When she suffered an episode of mental illness after her relationship with Rodin ended, Paul Claudel had her committed to a lunatic asylum. In spite of the asylum telling the family she was well enough to leave, she stayed there until she died thirty years later. Out of this raw material, Kamila Klamut has created a claustrophobic patriarchal nightmare. Initially seated centre stage, Klamut gives us Camille as an elderly lady to towards the end of her life and moves out from here to explore different phases of her life in fragmentary scenes. Independent and defiantly subversive, Camille creates art, is a sweary lady and enjoys a drink – forbidden territory for a woman. The piece is a wailing lamentation for the subjugation of women who stray from the permitted order. Kamila Klamut gives an absolutely astounding performance. Her acting is intensely physical, seemingly teased out of every last sinew of her body. She manages the flitting moves between the memories and different eras of Camille’s life without needing costume changes to depict them; she becomes the younger Camille or the elderly lady simply though her physical posture and movement. There is a beautiful sequence where Klamut dresses in a dress, which is reminiscent of white clay sculpture, and, in particular, of her own sculpture, The Wave; here, she moves from a carefree celebration of art and creation to a whirling dervish spinning out of control to destruction.
Fragments of Clare Simpson's review, Fringe Review Highly recommended show
18 Auguste 2016
Most Fringe shows think they can squeeze two hours into fifty minutes. Not Camille: it’s focused and the pace of it is of a kind gallingly absent from Edinburgh.Musing, Camille takes the stage quietly, though don’t assume this means she’s content. With Ewa Pasikowska on piano and violin, Kamila Klamut’s hero sits, ruminates and occasionally moves in a flurry of kinetic modelling. Camille Claudel is our plaintive protagonist, the lover and muse of sculptor Auguste Rodin. Her story is told gradually, using fragments of her real-life letters, although ‘story’ might not be the appropriate term here. Camille simply begets feeling, and what a feeling it is.Spurned by lovers and family, Camille is consigned to a mental institution, forced to wither out her days with the memories of her modelling and her self-hatred. It’s more poem than play, yet this is not to undermine the vivid physical current of the show. Camille is a hybrid of the concrete and the conceptual, almost more of a sculpture than a piece of theatre. It should be said that the English translation doesn’t fare that well. It’s either too obvious, as when she dodges ambiguity by telling us explicitly that Camille’s brother has put her in an institution, or else uses awkward idioms like “cut to the quick” which are ill-fitting with Klamut’s accent.
Fragments of Oliver Simmonds's review, Broadway Baby
18 Auguste 2016
Allow me to break free from critical detachment for a moment. I’m well aware that it’s generally considered bad practice to critique the venue in which a show takes place rather than focusing solely on the show itself, but on this occasion I feel I must. Camille is a beautiful, intricately crafted show. It’s delicate, subtle and precise, and it suffers badly from the noise bleeding from an overamped show in Summerhall’s Roundabout space. To some extent noise bleed is an unavoidable aspect of the Fringe – there’s nothing Summerhall could reasonably be expected to do about the occasional police siren or the gentle ripple of chatter from the courtyard – but there is no reason why Roundabout shows have to be so excessively loud that they become an unwanted soundscape in a different show. Summerhall really needs to address its sound levels or at least its scheduling in future years, because the current setup is detrimental and disrespectful to the quieter show. To Kamila Klamut’s credit, she does not allow the racket to disrupt her performance. She is absolutely in the moment from start to finish, bringing Camille Claudel to life as an angry and betrayed woman left to rot in an asylum. The audience is shown no more than brief glimpses into her life before her incarceration, and nothing is made explicit about her career, her associations with Rodin, or her difficult relationship with her family. People can, if they choose, learn more from the short but detailed biography on the programme sheet, but it’s an enhancement rather than a necessity. The performance is compelling even without prior knowledge of its subject.
Fragments of Jen Bolsover's review, Edinburgh Spotlight
18 Auguste 2016
On stage before us Camille Claudel, who we encounter sitting, obviously already locked up in an asylum. She is writing a letter with requests to her family. Perhaps they could send her some wine, maybe coffee. Once more she relives her past. Her creative work, love, despair, the disagreement with the social entrapment of women. And from this eldery lady sitting in a chair she moves backwards in time. She becomes a marvelous, charming young girl, then she is already aware of her talent: mature rebel, creator, she becomes also – and this is visually beautiful – she becomes her own sculptures, which she in a way acts out. Brilliant, focused, exposed but not a dishonest creation of Kamila Klamut. Because this is not mainstream acting – of theatre with curtain – but still it is terrific, professional acting. I really believe one has to see it. This, and the subtle work of the background plane of this performance are it’s great strengths. And what surprised me: I thought, I am going to see a solo show, it’s going to be very dry, very plain. I was surprised by how elaborate the set was. Later I realised that maybe there was not as much as I thought. A piano, some sculptures – still it felt incredibly dense.
Fragments of Dagmara Chojnacka’s review, that appeared on Radio Wrocław
22th FEBRUARY 2015
Camille, brilliant obviousness
These sorts of stories always fill me with a slight concern. We know what it’s about, how it came to be, what the end is. We know the drama of Camille Claudel, her genius, her suffering. So how to present obviousness; not to fall into cliché? In the way Kamila Klamut did during Monosytuacje Festival at the Grotowski Institute. [...] It’s not easy to depict madness and torment convincingly. It seems like Kamila Klamut chose one of the best ways to present various states of an “imprisoned” sculpturess. She started slowly, humbly, without bluster, but slowly pouring growing unease into the spectators’ minds. Gradually the story about parcells, mother, food (suggestive kneading of food-pulp) transforms into – not quite yet an expolsion. A change of costume from a simple dress into an exquisit creation leads us through the retrospection, memories, Rodin’s letters, his promises – all that is connected to a past that would mount in the terrified mind of a captive woman. The visual side and the acting technique are excellent. We see Camille as a whirling ballerina from a music box, wearing a sophisticated dress. We see her in the poses of her own sculptures. We live through her downfall when she begs the rich to buy her art, when she asks spectators for money. Finally we are terrified by her rage/frenzy – and indeed it is a powerful energy. The smashing of the sculptures against the walls of the studio space of the Laboratory Theatre Space makes you want to cower.
26th FEBRUARY 2014
performance of Theatre ZAR
Performance is a culmination of the company’s more than 10 years of work with ancient sacred songs. It premiered in London at the Barbican Centre in 2009 and was presented in Los Angeles, Florence, San Francisco, Chicago, Sibiu in Romania, also in Wrocław, Legnica, Szczecin and Bydgoszcz in Poland. Separate parts of the opus were presented among others in Athens, Edinburgh, Madrid, Beograd, Budapest, Paris, Cairo, Seoul, New Delhi, Boston. With presentation of it Teatr ZAR was named Best New Music Theatre from the „Los Angeles Times“ in 2009, and in October 2010 it was honoured with the Wrocław Theatre Price.
performance of Theatre ZAR
The first presentation initiating the work on the performance Gospels of Childhood took place during the 25th Anniversary of the Centre for Theatre Practices “Gardzienice”. The premiere performance was in October 2003 in Brzezinka, the forest base of The Centre for Study of Jerzy Grotowski’s Work and for Cultural and Theatrical Research.
The 19 parts of “Gospels of Childhood” consist of Georgian liturgy, Svan songs, biblical allusions (Greek, Roman and Gnostic) and a touch of relatively modern angst, courtesy of Dostoyevsky and French philosopher Simone Weil. Birth and death are exercised and exorcised. The main characters are Mary Magdalene and her sister, Martha, but mainly they are the dancer in the orange dress (Kamila Klamut) and the dancer in the red dress (Ditte Berkeley).
fragment of Mark Swed review, Los Angeles TimesMore
performance of Theatre ZAR
The first special presentation of the project took place in May 2007 in Florence as part of the Fabbrica Europa festival, at the invitation of Roberto Bacci. The premiere of the performance was in December 2007 in the Grotowski Institute, Wrocław. Performace shown at the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh in August 2012 was presented with the prestigious Total Theatre Award in the category Physical/Visual Theatre and Herald Angel Award.
At the heart of the score an elemental chorus based on polyphonic Corsican songs seems to rise from the earth. Nini Julia Bang in particular has the most strange and wonderful voice, sounding sometimes like she is singing in a cave or cathedral, while sublime lighting bathes every strained muscle of the performers' bodies in a spiritual glow. As a shaft of it pours down on dancer Kamila Klamut she reaches up, desperate to touch whatever salvation it might bring. In the final image, a broken pieta, her frozen silent scream is unforgettable.
fragment of Lucy Ribchester reviewMore
performance of Theatre ZAR
The premiere presentations of the performance took place at the Barbican Centre, London in September 2009, as the last part of the triptych Gospels of Childhood, shown within the POLSKA! YEAR in Great Britain. In October 2011 special version of the performance was presented in Belchite near Zaragoza, in ruins of San Augustino church in the historic part of the city that still bears traces of the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939).
performance of Theatre ZAR
Armine, Sister touches on how painful the memory-carrying process can be. It is also an attempt to identify/name our place in relation to past generations, and to understand who we are – we, who always stand on the other side of memory like on the other side of the camera. We gaze at history through a peephole, seeing only a trace, a shadow, a thought. For our new project, Armine, Sister, we decided to explore Anatolian monodic traditions, based on the group’s vocal competence built for over ten years, resulting from our experience performing polyphonic songs. The project includes musicians from various music traditions of Asia Minor, Anatolia and Iran.
performance of Studio Matejka
Harmony of Contradictions: Poland is about watching Poland from a distance, with irony, but simultaneously with commitment and seriousness. It is both a return to the past, and a critical gaze at our current reality filled with absurdities and contradictions. The project attempts to understand and convey some aspects of Poland’s juxtaposed identity. It does this by presenting a symbiosis of opposite standards, attitudes and behaviours. Using a combination of contemporary performance, new media and installations, the artists create a subjective landscape of what Poland means for them.
Characteristically the most successfull part of the project produced by "laboratory of theatrical expression" - as Matejka pathetically defines his Studio-was simply a well acted role, almost of traditional theatre lineage. The revelatory Kamila Klamut acted a solo of a patient in a therapy session with bravado. In fact she could have played this role in any other space with similar effect. Klamut proved again that talent and professionalism in theatre count for more than any ideology or directorial concept. With her charismatic acting she made me forget for a moment were I was and even made me feel warm inside.
fragment of Mirosław Kocura reviewMore
performance of Song of the Goat Theatre
"Dytyramb - Song of the Goat" (1997), the first performance of Song of the Goat Theatre, whose musical layer referred to old songs from the Greek region of Epiros, Albania, Romania, Greek funeral lamentations and the tradition of Madinados-musical improvisations of poetry from Crete. The story was based on "Bacchae" of Euripides. Out of this mixture the group tried to evoke the spirit of ancient spectacle.
Tuning the Body. Awareness
For me, developing mindfulness of the body means, on the one hand, a challenge that might lead to the opening and broadening of the actor’s/person’s perception in her animal, biological core and, on the other, the development of the skill of looking into our inner self which is deeply connected with presence.
How to develop actor’s physical training to turn it into mental training?
How to expand the spectrum of the actor’s presence?
The work is based on elements of partner training and on individual actions. The common denominator is an attempt to build an internal line of actor’s dramaturgy, clearly discernible from the outside, but immersed in an organic process.