Footage of an acting rehearsal held in the middle of the eponymous river. Wearing a Baroque dress from Las Meninas by Diego Velázquez, the actress (Agnieszka Szablewska) uses exaggerated facial expressions and gestures to enact an 18th century pantomime scene.
The peculiar conditions in which she acts – cold water in the river causing discomfort – transform the rehearsal into a special task, a kind of skills exercise in unconventional circumstances. The piece is also a story about acting out a historical convention. The adopted method of work is based on a model where the director holds sway. Her instructions become commands that the actress is supposed to carry out in order to achieve an effect devised by the director.
The river scene also appears in Zborowska’s later film Zalesie.
© Julia Zborowska