Short Cut. The Krakau Files

By Stefan Kaegi

This play traces an invisible thread through the city: you can follow its course or yank at it. A curtain lifts behind every door, and a performance begins.


"A sentimental make-believe hunt for theatre nomads, lovers of the theatre, audiences that are none too attached to their seats, who would happily run up onto the stage, just to wander up and down it, wherever their legs should take them."
(Hubert Spiegel, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung)

"Kaegi has fashioned a design from a human-spatial magma which, for the majority of participants, was an excellent time out and an unforgettable experience, combining childhood fun and games with real detective work."
(Rafal Romanowski, Gazeta Wyborcza)

In July 2003 a group of young artists, theatrologists, and journalists, along with Stefan Kaegi, found a route leading past extraordinary Cracovian windows. They sought out fragments of the world framed off by the windows, and the messages concealed behind them. In painter’s terminology: finestra aperta. Put in espionage terms: blown contacts. Through bulletins and conversations they convinced Cracovians to recognise the theatrical merits of the views from their windows and to make them accessible for artistic purposes. The candidate apartments were visited, and every visit became a rehearsal. Using some basic accessories, such as stethoscopes, eyeglasses and letters, the set design was created. Every view is an element of decor, every perspective is a fragment of art, every spy could be the audience.

The prologue takes place in the Goethe Institute: an introduction is given, the first contact addresses are handed out, a letter, a code, perhaps a magnifying glass or sunglasses. The search begins. The town is a backstage area to creep about in. The apartment owners are informants, and the searchers have to decipher the clues which are scattered all about town. A kiosk-worker will hand a black matchbox hidden under a newspaper to the person who gives the correct, absurd-sounding combination of bird names. In a bookshop, a handkerchief has been placed between pages 223 and 224 of a certain book, leading the reader to a particular bench. Everything becomes some kind of document, evidence left behind. Every audience member is a detective. Everyone conducts their own investigation. Everyone tries to leave the carefully-camouflaged clues for the next participant. Each act is a concrete task, each observation a piece of the jigsaw puzzle. The drama develops along the principles of remote control. The public can observe the action from in hiding. What lies behind the final clue?

The performance lasts 3-4 hours, depending on the aptitude for clue-finding. Participation in this theatrical event should be reserved in advance by telephone at the Goethe Institute. The locations where everything is taking place can be accessed and observed between 12:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. Texts are available in Polish, English or German.

Revival: March 26, 2004 (until at least end of July)
Every Friday, departure between12:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.
Meeting point: The Goethe Institute, Rynek Glówny 20, Kraków

Reservations: Participation in the play is only possible following reservations, either by telephone (0048 / 12 / 422-69-02) or e-mail (

Lektüre an seltsamen Orten. Von Stephan Wackwitz