Przejdź do głównej zawartości strony
Print version

Elizabeth Costello at Athens Epidaurus Festival

Krzysztof Warlikowski's production is being presented at a festival in Greece. The production, which premiered in April this year, will be presented at many international festivals, including Avignon.

The writer Elizabeth Costello first appeared in 1999 when John Maxwell Coetzee was invited to give two lectures at university in the United States. Those lectures concerned a writer, Elizabeth Costello, who is invited to give two lectures at a university in the United States. In the years that followed, Coetzee went on to write several more pieces featuring Elizabeth Costello and her biography began to expand until, in 2003, she became the protagonist of an eponymous novel.

Elizabeth Costello is more than a made-up literary character. She might be said to be Coetzee's artistic alter ego: someone who speaks in his name and bears the criticism and ire of his readers and academic polemicists. According to Coetzee, Elizabeth Costello elbows her way into his imagination and onto the page, then uses his voice to speak about philosophy, the environment and social and existential issues, and appeal to our conscience by drawing attention to the fate of animals, social injustice, and the exclusion of the elderly and the infirm. Appearing in texts the author had never intended for her to be in, she is like a ghost, a revenant – a dybbuk, perhaps. Or maybe she is just a beloved creature who keeps returning to haunt her maker.

Costello has also come to be a recurring character in Krzysztof Warlikowski's theatre. She has appeared in five of his productions to date – sometimes speaking under her own name, sometimes being quoted by other characters. But while she seems to haunt Warlikowski nearly as often as she does the writer who called her to life, she has never had a whole play devoted to her.

Now, in placing Elizabeth Costello firmly at the center of his latest production, Warlikowski is taking the next logical step in a process whose development he might not have foreseen when he first gave her a platform on his stage.