Jan Karski (My name is fiction)


Warsaw, 1942. Poland is wrecked by the Nazis and the Soviets. Jan Karski is a messenger for the Polish resistance for the Polish government in exile in London. He is led secretly into Warsaw's ghetto to bear witness to the extermination of the Jewish population of the Warsaw Ghetto and warn the Allies of his findings. Jan Karski travels through Europe in war, alerts the English and meets President Roosevelt in the United States. But his appeal has no consequences. After nearly forty years of silence, he accepts to testify once again in the film Shoah by Claude Lanzmann.

The extraordinary destiny of this man, confronted with the passive stance of the Allies in the face of genocide, is the start to Yannick Haenel's novel Jan Karski (My name is a fiction) - written in 2009 and nominated in France for the prestigious Goncourt Prize. The story is structured in three parts: opening with a segment transcribing the film interview by Lanzmann, followed by Karski's memoir, and closed by Haenel's fictionalised account of Karski's interview with Roosevelt, told in the present tense.

Troubled by the book, Arthur Nauzyciel decided to adapt it to the stage and follows his dream of a theatre without borders, interrogating its role and nature while questioning the collective memory. Just as the witnesses of the Holocaust are disappearing, the time to take over has come.

Running time : 160 mins

2012 : Georges-Lerminier prize of the Syndicat de la critique for best creation / 2011 : Beaumarchais Prize for best actor awarded to Laurent Poitrenaux


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Based on the novel by Yannick Haenel Direction : Arthur Nauzyciel
Video : Miroslaw Balka
Music : Christian Fennesz Set : Riccardo Hernandez
Advice and choreography : Damien Jalet
Sound : Xavier Jacquot
Costumes : José Lévy Lights : Scott Zielinski
Cast : Alexandra Gilbert, Arthur Nauzyciel, Laurent Poitrenaux and the voice of Marthe Keller

Production : Centre Dramatique National Orléans/Loiret/Centre
Coproduction : Festival d'Avignon; Les Gémeaux Scène nationale de Sceaux ; CDDB-Théâtre de Lorient, CDN ; Maison de la Culture de Bourges, Scène nationale ; La Comédie de Reims CDN, Festival Reims Scènes d'Europe.
With the support of the Région Centre, the Polish Institute of Paris and the Fondation d'entreprise Hermès as part of the New settings programme.
With the participation of the French Institute.
With the help of the Theatre TR Warszawa and the French Embassy in Poland.