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- Author Tadeusz Kantor
- Date of production 1975
- Dimensions height: Bedel: 131 x 56 x 80 cm, Bedel’s chair: 96 x 41 x 54 cm
- ID no. Bedel — CRC/VII/48, Bedel’s chair — CRC/VII/49
- Object copyright The Cricoteka Centre for the Documentation of the Art of Tadeusz Kantor
- Digital images copyright © all rights reserved, The Cricoteka Centre for the Documentation of the Art of Tadeusz Kantor
- Digitalisation RDW MIC, Małopolska's Virtual Museums project
Dummy of Bedel on a Chair is an object from Tadeusz Kantor’s performance Umarła klasa [The Dead Class]. The premiere took place in the Krzysztofory Gallery in Kraków in November 1975.more
Dummy of Bedel on a Chair is an object from Tadeusz Kantor’s performance Umarła klasa [The Dead Class]. The premiere took place in the Krzysztofory Gallery in Kraków in November 1975. It is a depiction of a man sitting on a chair, dressed in black, wearing a frock-coat and a peak cap and holding a newspaper spread out on his knees. The whole exhibit is about 130 cm high.
Bedel is a typical caretaker or a school janitor who is one of the main figures in Umarła klasa [The Dead Class], right next to the Rubbish Cleaning Lady. It is Bedel and the Cleaning Lady who hold the spiritual and physical care over the pupils of the school class. Their role and mode of functioning in the performance (throughout the entire period of its staging) has not changed in any way.
Kantor wrote that “BEDEL is the lowest-rank figure inseparable from the school class that is permeated by the whole melancholy of the Past Perfect tense. He will forever and always sit on his chair, and his suspicious revivals are yet another class prank – they should not be treated seriously....”
Krzysztof Miklaszewski recalls that “it is as if Bedel received two forms of existence in Kantor’s performance. Oscillating on the borderline of life, at one time he becomes a passive mannequin, while at another time he comes to life. The first revival is triggered by the issue of the Rubbish Cleaning Lady-Death who reads press reports on the sudden outbreak of war in the already cleaned benches among the obedient sitting doll children. The issue of having a war revives Bedel back to life. Then he sings the hardly remembered anthem of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy (Got erhalte, Got beschütze)...”
Another comment from Kantor: “The unruly bunch of screaming pupils heading for the exit like a natural element sweeps BEDEL together with his chair and abducts him. THE OLD PEDOPHILIAST who has already dealt with two belated OLD MEN returns unexpectedly pushing the CHAIR with BEDEL (alive!) in front of him. He sets the chair in the same place, rearranges BEDEL's head and withdraws.”
The role of Bedel in the Past Perfect Tense was performed by the following:
1. Kazimierz Mikulski (1918–1998) — painter, draughtsman, stage designer, member of the Kraków Group, associated with Tadeusz Kantor since the occupation.
2. Krzysztof Miklaszewski (b. 1944) — author of films and TV shows on theatre, books and articles about Tadeusz Kantor, literary manager of Kraków theatres, an employee of Polish television.
3. Tomasz Dobrowolski (b. 1949) — photographer from the Jagiellonian University, long-term employee of Cricoteka (sound operator, author of radio shows, author of exhibitions organised by Cricoteka).
4. Rajmund Jarosz (b. 1935) — actor at the following theatres: Ludowy Theatre, Rapsodyczny Theatre and Stary Theatre in Kraków.
In Jolanta Kunowska’s book, Zostawiam światło, bo zaraz wrócę (I’m Leaving the Lights On Because I’m Coming Back Soon), Rajmund Jarosz recalls the moment of being hired for the role of Bedel:
“Kantor looks at me and says what am I going to do with you? (...) You’re just a beau, thin and young, and I need an old guy. Kantor took a sponge and made [me] a hump on my back. I was the only Bedel from Umarła klasa [The Dead Class] to have a hump. I liked it very much, and the effect was superb. (...) The new element of this figure, an old crippled man who has lived through life and returns to his youth in his dreams, gained a new rhythm.”
The last unfinished performance by Tadeusz Kantor entitled Dziś są moje urodziny [Today is My Birthday] features a figure named Bedel from Umarła klasa [The Dead Class], played this time by Stanisław Michno.
Elaborated by Józef Chrobak, Justyna Michalik (The Cricoteka Centre for the Documentation of the Art of Tadeusz Kantor), © all rights reserved
 T. Kantor, Postacie „Umarłej klasy”, [in:] T. Kantor, Pisma, Vol. 2: Teatr Śmierci. Teksty z lat 1975-1984, elab. K. Pleśniarowicz, Wrocław-Krakow 2004, p. 33;
 There, p. 86;
 R. Jarosz, Fenomen, [in:] Zostawiam światło, bo zaraz wrócę — Tadeusz Kantor we wspomnieniach swoich aktorów, ed. J. Kunowska, Cricoteka, Krakow 2005, p. 109.