Ferdinand Vanek Award 2017 > A Girl with the Pope
Michał Walczak

A Girl with the Pope

Michał Walczak

(Dziewczyna z papieżem)

2m, 1w

The protagonists of Walczak’s play are Václav (in the text called only He), a successful, but a little burnt-out script writer of a famous TV series, and Anděla (called She), who had unsuccessfully tried years ago to get a part in the series. Luckily they met each other in the studio corridor and fell in love (later they have an argument who spoke to the other one first and who was more miserable). We meet them for the first time in a moment, when they had just moved to a flat in the centre of Warsaw, which Václav bought for them. He hopes that they might start a family there and live happily (and to improve their already slightly failing relationship). Anděla is nervous and worried about what’s happing in the world: Europe is in crisis, the refugees etc. But she might just be under the influence of hormones, because – as she reveals to Václav – she is pregnant. Gradually the situation becomes more and more complicated: it turns out that the flat used to be part of a luxurious brothel and that Václav and his colleagues have probably frequented it. In addition, he cries out from sleep the name Louisa. She is apparently a character from Václav’s novel, which he is writing to avoid the tediousness TV series routine, and which accidently takes place in the brothel. In the following scene everything becomes uncertain. At first it seems that we are in the world of Václav’s novel, but then it turns out that Václav wishes Louisa to act out exactly the same reality as we had been following so far. Then Anděla and Louisa blur into one another and both realities permeate freely. On top of everything, the Pope appears, a strange character probably invoked by Louisa/Anděla, someone between a drunk homeless and runaway priest, who used to work in the brothel as a spiritual guide and a gynaecologist. He is the one who should deliver the child and provide desired salvation, because – as people say – fools like him can save Europe with the help of new rituals. Everything finishes in unsettling uncertainty what is fiction and what is reality. Václav and Anděla decide to leave the flat, which had been repeatedly attacked by a furious crowd (whose political stance changes every time), and henceforth to perform the rituals themselves.
Walczak moves on the verge of seriousness and irony. The characters speak as if they were from some never-ending TV series, the plot is purposefully full of unlikely twists and revelations. It is a refined, stylized meta-play with resonances of reality and events that we directly experience.