I received the book "Kevin alone in the kitchen" by Kevin Aiston just before Christmas. I thought that my family would disown me when instead of looking after the Christmas dishes I started to read this book. With my mind's eye I saw burnt mushroom soup, too salty carp and overcooked cabbage. Despite this, with good intentions and with a spoon in one hand and the book in the other everything went well. As I read the book I had to try hard at times not to burst out laughing directly into the cabbage with mushrooms.


This book by Kevin Aiston is only ostensibly a cooking book. In my opinion it is an amazing, cultural repository about Great Britain, containing titbits about dishes, seasonings and customs. Do you know why allspice has this name? What is "toad in the hole"? Where does the name beef Wellington come from? What are Scotch eggs, and how do you put out burning oil in the kitchen? You will find in this book the answers to these and other questions. The author observes our all Polish habits in depth, and accurately, ironically and in a slightly quizzical way condemns our culinary and customary little sins. A housewife insisting on another piece of tasty homemade cheesecake even though the guest is full and has no desire for anything else - what a typical picture during a family visit to our grandma's or aunt's home. For us this is typical, but for a foreigner it is difficult to understand and accept.


We live in relationships, sometimes marriages, we spend time together, we live under the same roof, but we only know about each other what the other person wants to say. Even people who have known each other since the nursery have their own secrets. Sometimes only extreme situations cause us to look at our partner from a completely different perspective.


When we meet the main heroes Justyna and Łukasz from the book "Kidnapped" by Róża Lewanowicz they are living the daily routine of Warsaw city slickers. They have similar problems to many other couples. They think about buying a flat, taking out a loan, and they worry that they do not have children, despite their best efforts.


Their well managed life is turned upside down in one moment, when in full view of Łukasz a hooded character kidnaps Justyna from just outside their house. The story runs fast like an American thriller. At the beginning it seems that the reason for the woman being kidnapped is Łukasz's job as an officer of the Central Bureau of Investigations. In the course of time many secrets of Justyna's past are brought to light. Scared, Łukasz discovers that he knows very little about the person he is sharing his life with. Are the things happening around him real, do they apply to his quiet, retiring wife?


Sometimes I wondered whether it is possible that we really do not know our partner to such an extent. I had the impression that this couple was completely separated from their family and friends. Of course, we can say about ourselves only what we want others to hear. Even so, it is still unlikely that we will never meet anyone from our hidden past, if only by chance, and that everybody will agree to keep quiet about their former life.


The plays in Rampa Theatre raise sky high the expectations for other productions for kids and youths. They are polished up to the last detail. Every time Cezary Domagała is responsible for an adaptation or script you can expect another fantastic event. So we have in this case as well. "The twins who stole the moon" has everything a kids' play needs: fast-flowing action, jolly heroes, catchy music and mise-en-scene which replenish the whole picture and do not divert our attention at the same time. Even the theatre program produced in the form of a beautiful leaflet with a soundtrack cd attached is no longer an unnecessary gimmick not worth spending a zloty on.


Did you know that Rampa Theatre has been successfully staging plays for kids and youths for 15 years already? The premiere of 'The twins...'  took place on the March 27th 2015 on International Theatre Day. When the opportunity for buying tickets came I used it immediately and my kids could once again watch the adventures of their theatrical heroes.


Kornel Makuszyński used to say that there are no bad people, there are only unhappy people, and this is true of the heroes of his fairy tales. They change thanks to the influence of friendship and love; they overcome their difficulties and escape oppression. "Wet hair Maid", "The twins who stole the moon", "Wrangle for Little Barbara" "Maid Ewa Madness" and "Marry Devil's Friend" make up a wonderful land of "smiling books". They are beautiful, clever, full of universal values, but as they were written a long time ago they raise very high the expectations for today's play and movie auteurs. How should you adapt the story to current reality so as not to discourage such a demanding audience as kids and youths. How can you retain the original story's character?


Breaking the law is unfortunately a part of humanity's DNA. It is really scary that the number of crimes committed by young people has gone through the roof. They break the law in an increasingly violent way – they don't only steal, but they abuse, rape and kill.


What is the reason for the demoralization of the young generation? Do we adults make any mistakes that cause young people to feel more and more like they can act with impunity? I know that fear is not the best advisor, but I think that only a few years ago concern for justice, teachers and parents caused children to think more often about whether it is worth getting into trouble. Today we have given young people absolute freedom. In my opinion it is a double-edged sword. On the one hand they grow up to be brave people, feeling untouchable and able to defend their rights. On the other hand they think that their every deed will go unpunished.


The contention that crimes are committed by kids from dysfunctional families is a myth, injuring these who by working hard are trying to get away from the cursed cycle of powerlessness. You may see, however, some dependencies. In less wealthy or dysfunctional families kids more often drink alcohol or steal. However, the biggest surprise is that kids from typical families or even from so-called "good houses" break the law as well. In most cases they have everything: houses, loving hard-working parents, money, holidays and gadgets, but they still reach out for drugs and have police records for fighting, mugging or other crimes.


It was the movie "The Absent One" by Mikkel Nørgaard that led me to this reflection recently. This is an adaptation of the bestselling novel with the same title by Jussi Adler-Olsen. Actually, I do not especially like this kind of movie. I prefer lighter more pleasant movies, or at least something less bloody that doesn't hit me right in the eyes with violence.


Sometimes each and every one of us, being busy and tired, forgets simple things. I am not talking about men, who usually don't remember dates, birthdays and anniversaries. Unfortunately, problems with concentration, the sense of being lost and forgetting things isn't only down to overwork.


Recently, I watched the deeply moving story "Still Alice" by Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland. Alice Howland (Julianne Moore) is a teacher at Columbia University. A happily married woman, an active and organized mother, she has a deliberate, stable life. She and her husband (Alec Baldwin) have three grown-up children: Anna (Kate Bosworth), Tom (Hunter Parrish) and the youngest, Lydia (Kristen Stewart). For some time she has been having small problems with her memory; for example, one day she gets lost on the university campus. Concerned about this she has a physical examination and receives a terrible diagnosis: she has a rare, hereditary kind of Alzheimer's disease. Drama petrifies the whole family; each of Alice's children is threatened with the disease.


From this time onwards she struggles with the ugly awareness of her own limitation. All the more so, since, up to now, she has been known for her mind and intellect. Now she feels like words hang on a string around her never allowing themselves to be caught. The woman is sensible of the fact that her illness is getting worse. The awareness that as a mother she transmits the risk to her children must be terrible as well. It is obvious that she does not do this consciously or deliberately, but it doesn't matter for her. Step by step she loses her life, loses her past, she is afraid of the future and the present is more and more difficult for her and her family.

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