Nowy Teatr - Krzysztof Warlikowski

Elizabeth Costello / J. M. Coetzee: Seven lectures and five moral tales
Based on J. M. Coetzee’s works Elizabeth Costello, A Slow Man, and Moral Tales


International co-production

Can art save the world? Or is the desire of artists to ‘speak’ through art and make an impact simply utopian? This is the question posed by Elizabeth Costello, the fictional heroine of South African Nobel laureate J.M. Coetzee, to her creator.

Yet, Elizabeth Costello is not just a fictional literary character. One could argue that she is Coetzee’s artistic alter ego: speaking on his behalf, she suffers the criticism and wrath of his readers and critics. According to Coetzee, Elizabeth Costello invades his imagination and writings, and then uses his voice to talk about philosophy, the environment, social and existential issues, or to raise awareness of animal abuse, social injustice, and the exclusion of the elderly and disabled. She is something of a ghost, always returning to haunt her creator.

The beloved Polish director Krzysztof Warlikowski constantly makes reference to Coetzee’s work: Costello seems to be haunting Warlikowski’s theatre, as she has already appeared in five of his performances so far – at times as herself and at times as an allusion. However, this is the first time that he devotes an entire play to her, making Costello the central character in his new performance.

His new production premieres in spring 2024 at Warsaw’s Nowy Teatr and after that will be presented in Barcelona, Liege, Paris, and Stuttgart among others. The Festival is a proud co-producer of this work and has the privilege of presenting it first, immediately after its world premiere in Poland.