With regard to the statement made by the Skirball Theatre in New York, I would like to inform that the claim contained therein, stating that the Adam Mickiewicz Institute (AMI) withdrew the financing the American performance of Kafka’s The Trial directed by Krystian Lupa, is untrue. The AMI was not part of the talks between the event organizers, i.e. the NYU Skirball and Teatr Nowy, which took place without the Institute’s involvement. It is also incorrect that anyone from the NYU Skirball officially requested financial support from the AMI. Similarly, such arrangements were not made in Kraków during the Divine Comedy Festival in December. The NYU Skirball director Jay Wegman was invited to the festival by the Institute, which sponsored his visit.
The AMI learned about the planned performance in the U.S. from Teatr Nowy in November 2019, long after finalizing its own budget plans for 2020. No proposals to share the financing of the performance were made at that time. The AMI was merely informed about the search for financing. At no point in time, however, had director Jay Wegman officially requested support from the AMI. The Divine Comedy Festival was attended by the current AMI deputy director in charge of theatre promotion, whom Jay Wegman met in person and whom he had personally showed around the New York-based theatre a month before. Back then, he did not mention Lupa’s case either, which proves that the Institute was never asked to participate in the organization or financing of this project in the first place.
The untrue statement from the theatre was preceded by what the representatives of the Institute regarded as a blackmail attempt: director Jay Wegman reportedly told the guests of the Divine Comedy Festival that he would notify a major American daily about the case and talk about censorship in Poland if the AMI refused to finance Lupa’s The Trial. However, the fact is that, contrary to Wegman’s statement, the AMI did not withdraw the grant for Lupa as it had never been given in the first place. According to our sources, the current situation results from the American sponsor’s withdrawal, which took place after the ticket sale was launched.
The AMI has been promoting Krystian Lupa’s theatre for years. Lupa was an honorary guest at a panel co-organized by the Institute during the Divine Comedy Festival in Kraków. Since 2016, the Institute has spent over PLN 1.4m to support his theatre abroad.