Almost 50 years since the publication of Crash by J.G. Ballard it is worth looking at this cult and controversial novel as an insightful and accurate prediction of the world we find ourselves living in now. Ballard’s book, made even more famous through the movie adaptation by David Cronenberg, is a dystopia, consciously using pornographic language and surrealist poetics with the intention of analysing the ways in which we use each other. The makers of Crash are not interested in moralizing, nor the “blood, sperm and coolant liquid” which fill Ballard’s language, but that which is hiding beneath all this – the stories of fascinating characters who are alienated and unable to tell fiction from reality.
The starting point for the production is Ballard’s realisation that crashes are metaphors for life in society. Characters inspired by the novel seek experiences which will shake them up, desperately seeking something realistic in the world of ever-present media. These are Catherine and James (a narcissistic married couple who wish to feel something), Helen (an oversensitive and stressed-out nurse) and Seagrave (a stuntman). The projections of their fears and hidden perversions is something we discover through an imagined space called in this performance the Crash Laboratory – something which best befits Vaughan, the antiChrist and crazy driver, who designs a mysterious project which aims, among other things, to free humanity from a permanent civil war driven by governments and technological corporations.
Crash is a theatrical grotesque comedy set in a foreseeable future. This show by Natalia Korczakowska asks questions about the sources of violence, about why it is people use and destroy one another, and finally what it is they need in order to recover access to their own emotions, imaginations and bodies. The score for the show was arranged by Jacek Sienkiewicz, a renowned composer of experimental and dance music. The costumes are designed by Marek Adamski, the exceptional photography is by Ada Zielińska and work with the body was offered to the Teatr STUDIO team by Bożena Wydrowska.