Street of Crocodiles, 1999

Street of Crocodiles, 1999

Theatre de Complicite's 'The Street of Crocodiles' opened at the Royal National Theatre in 1992. The play was based on the semi-autobiographical stories of the Polish writer Bruno Schulz and revolves round his childhood in south east Poland, and the eccentricities of his family, particularly his father.

This image is of Cesar Sarachu as Joseph, the autobiographical character, and his father played by Matthew Scurfield. The company devised a show that was neither a straight reporting of Schulz's short life, nor a straight dramatisation of his writing, but an evocation of both. The fantastical, surreal and poetic elements of Schulz's writing were theatricalised. The way in which events could spiral off into unreality gave the production a dreamlike (even nightmarish) quality. Director Simon McBurney explained how the rehearsal process involved trying different ways of retelling Schulz's stories, sometimes using just words, sometimes using none at all, sometimes mixing languages or using rhythm and music in place of text.