This theatrical investigation starts out quite innocently. Invited to Groningen in the Netherlands, Janek Turkowski creates a performance for the local community inspired by a club of amateur filmmakers that was founded there in the 1930s. Some time later, together with Iwona Nowacka, they decide to return to that completed project and re-examine the archival film footage they have gathered over its course. They are particularly interested in materials from 1945 that show the city's liberation from German occupiers. Shots depicting joy and celebrating the end of the war are interspersed with scenes showing collaborators targeted by vigilantism. The artists were particularly taken with images of a mysterious woman whose head is being shaved as she is heckled by a crowd of onlookers. The whole event was filmed in detail from various angles. After this peculiar "execution", the woman was forced to walk down the city streets at the head of a procession of hecklers. But instead of the fear or shame one might expect in this situation, her face radiates pride and confidence. She looks less like a culprit and more like a runway model. Who is this mysterious woman? What was she punished for? Is her tranquil expression proof of her innocence? What future awaits her? In order to answer these, as well as other questions, the artists launch their own investigation, searching for the elusive truth. They use research tools such as working with archival materials, talking to witnesses, as well as trying to locate the family of the woman depicted in the film, and supplement their efforts with artistic techniques, including a reconstruction of the woman's walk through the town, performed by Nowacka. The results of their investigation are presented to the public as a video performance. But confronting the gathered materials with reality does not end this story – on the contrary, the act only complicates it further. As the artists peel back layer after layer, they come face to face with an even bigger mystery. Maybe sometimes speculation, uncertainty, and an open ending have to be enough in the absence of the expected proof and a complete narrative?

by and with Turkowski & Nowacka 

video Smalfilm Liga, Janek Turkowski, Iwona Nowacka 

music & collaboration René Duursma 


coproducers: Noorderzon Performing Arts Festival in Groningen, GAVA Gronings AudioVisueel Archief (Netherlands), Grand Theatre Groningen

supported by: Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Toronto, SummerWorks Festival in Toronto (Canada)

Premiere March 2018 


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