Elizabeth Costello. Sept leçons et cinq contes moraux

Based on the work by J.M. Coetzee

  • Show
  • Theatre
The 2024 archive

Krzysztof Warlikowski

Poland / Creation 2024

The travels, encounters, and speeches of a writer invented by J.M. Coetzee, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2003, who appeared in his earlier novels... and in plays by the Polish director. A theatrical debate about ever more uncomfortable questions. 

Elizabeth Costello. Sept leçons et cinq contes moraux, Krzysztof Warlikowski, 2024 © Magda Hueckel


Under the name Elizabeth Costello hides a character created by J.M. Coetzee. After he first mentioned her in a conference in 1999, she kept showing up in his work, until she became the South African author’s alter ego. The fictional life of Elizabeth Costello—a once-successful novelist on the decline—consists of a series of lectures that often stand out for her controversial statements. Krzysztof Warlikowski has become fascinated by this imaginary and scandalous author, to the point of including her in several of his shows. She is the guiding thread of this creation. The Polish director likes to walk the thin line between fantasy and reality in his theatre. Costello then becomes the ideal travelling companion to explore the grey areas outside of the well-trodden paths of morality. 

Los viajes, encuentros y discursos de una escritora inventada por J.M. Coetzee, Premio Nobel 2003, que ya había aparecido en sus anteriores novelas... así como en obras del dramaturgo polaco. Un debate teatral sobre cuestiones cada vez más incómodas. 

Interview with Krzysztof Warlikowski


With Mariusz Bonaszewski, Andrzej Chyra, Magdalena Cielecka, Ewa Dałkowska, Bartosz Gelner, Małgorzata Hajewska-Krzysztofik, Jadwiga Jankowska-Cieślak, Maja Komorowska, Hiroaki Murakami, Maja Ostaszewska, Ewelina Pankowska, Jacek Poniedziałek, Magdalena Popławska
Text based
on Elizabeth Costello, The Slow Man, The Glass Slaughterhouse by J. M. Coetzee
Text collaboration Łukasz Chotkowski, Mateusz Górniak, Anna Lewandowska
Screenplay Piotr Gruszczyński, Krzysztof Warlikowski
Stage direction Krzysztof Warlikowski
Costumes and sets Małgorzata Szczęśniak
Lighting Felice Ross
Dramaturgy Piotr Gruszczyński
Artistic collaboration Claude Bardouil
Music Paweł Mykietyn
Video Kamil Polak
Make-up Joanna Chudyk, Monika Kaleta
Translation for surtitles Margot Carlier (French), Artur Zapałowski (English)
Assistant director Jeremi Pedowicz
General Manager Paweł KamionkaDie
Stage Manager Łukasz Jóźków
Video Manager Tomasz Jóźwin
Lighting Manager Dariusz Adamski
Sound Manager Mirosław Burkot
Video capture Bartłomiej Zawiła
Surtitling Zofia Szymanowska
Machinery Wojciech Sadowski, Łukasz Żukowski
Accessories Tomasz Laskowski
Wardrobe Kajetan Korcz, Sylwia Szefer


Production Nowy Teatr (Warsaw)
Coproduction Schauspiel Stuttgart, Festival d'Avignon, Théâtre de Liège, La Colline - Théâtre national (Paris), Athens Epidaurus Festival, Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg, Malta Festival Poznań 2024
With the support of Ministry of Culture and National Heritage (Poland)
With the help of Kinoteka (Warsaw), Institut français de Pologne

The Adam Mickiewicz Institute is the main partner of Elisabeth Costello's 2024/25 European tour


Elizabeth Costello © 2003 by J. M. Coetzee / Slow Man © 2005 by J. M. Coetzee / Moral Tales © 2017 by J. M. Coetzee / Interview © 2018 by J. M. Coetzee; Soledad Costantini revisited by Peter Lampack Agency, Inc.
Philippe Parreno's video Anywhere Out of the World (2000) was used in the show
Sophie Calle North Pole, 2009
Sophie Calle La Dernière Image, Istanbul 2010 Polish translation Agata Kozak
Sophie Calle Des histoires vraies © Actes Sud, Arles 2018 Polish translation Agnieszka Grudzińska

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  • Café des idées
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The 2024 archive