“The evening of orphans” is a fictional conference, a gathering of orphans who prepare (perhaps) a new social revolution. The performance is based on texts by Janusz Korczak: from “Child of the Drawing Room” and “King Matt I” to his “Diary” written in the ghetto: pieces of journalism and educational writings. Born in 1879, Janusz Korczak was a Polish-Jewish social activist, theoretician and practitioner of education, a maker of an original system of working with children, based on partnership, independently developed procedures and institutions, and self-education. He stayed with his pupils till the very end, walking in the Death March from the Warsaw ghetto to the death camp in Treblinka.
Texts by Korczak – an explorer of the world of children – can be seen as a particular kind of autobiography or as an attempt, a simulation of autobiography. Korczak suggested treating children’s personalities seriously. Six- and seven-year-old pupils in his House of Orphans decided for themselves, they had a community court, precise schedule of their days, division of obligations, and requirement of responsibility. Yet, there was also a real sensitivity to children’s needs. Characters in the performance are symbolic, yet we look in them for traces of real people, Korczak’s pupils. The adventures of King Matt I seem like a fight of an adult man with the surrounding world, and at the same time with the utopias he creates.