Maryla Zielińska. "To measure out the black truth"
Maryla Zielińska describes the plays and the events organized as part of the celebration of the March 1968 events. She mentions, among others, the plays of Agata Duda-Gracz, Anna Smolar, Michał Zadara, Magda Umer as well as a mondrama of Joanna Szczepkowska. Depicting the chosen plays, she reflects on their contribution to a discourse on anti-Semitism and Poles' fault for an expulsion of Jews in 1968 which is particularly lively in 2018.
Marta Streker, Zadara’s principles
The text describes six main principles of Michał Zadara’s work as a director. Not only does it present fundamental values of director’s methods but also takes a critical look at them and assesses their rightness and performative efficacy. The paper is based on a master thesis which can be considered as a dialogue between a master and a student, between a director and an assistant, between Zadara and Streker. The author analyses this issue taking into consideration her individual experience gained during work on several theatrical productions in collaboration with Michał Zadara.
In child language, Maja of the Bible. Maryla Zielińska in Conversation with Maja Amsterdamska)
Maryla Zielińska talks with Maja Amsterdamska about work on the Bible by Michał Zadara.
She is curious about the course of rehearsals and Amsterdamska's (young actress who is a second year student attending a primary school) approach to work with Zadara. Maryla Zielińska wonders how much freedom Maja had regarding her conceptual work. The author proposes that Maja answers the questions connected with the Bible and its meaning which are posed by young actress during the play.
Living in an eternal paradoxe. A conversation with Bartosz Bielenia led by Katarzyna Dobrowolska, Julia Kowalska, Monika Kwaśniewska, Radosław Pindor and Weronika Wajszle
Bartosz Bielenia describes broadly his education at PWST (National Academy of Theatre Arts in Cracow) as well as his experience gained outside the Academy, for instance, during work on Mauzer with Theodoros Terzopoulos that took place at Grotowski Institute. Comparing his work in repertory theatres to a non-institutional activity, he argues that it is institution that encourages teamwork. Bartosz Bielenia talks about an eventful ending of Jan Klata's direction in Stary National Theatre and mentions his transition to the National Theatre in Warsaw.
Monika Kwaśniewska, „iPhone” acting
The text aims to summarize the initiation phase of a project which is devoted to examine the actors of young generation. In particular, it focuses on their performance style, methods of work and cooperation and the way they act in the theatre market. Analyzing the interviews with Jaśmina Polak, Jan Sobolewski, Dominika Biernat and Bartosz Bielenia in terms of actors’ interaction with media and the Internet, the author states that their role changes constantly and moves towards both post-media condition and aesthetics, as well as post-internet art. Their consciousness and the way of using post-media which are totally dissimilar to an approach of the previous generations, enhance artistic freedom of actors during work and influence their relationship with audience. The effect of young actors’ activity in the area of media and the Internet is called „afectic periperformance”.
Martyna Nowicka, Konrad Wojnowski, Interrupt and Integrate: Theatricality in Contemporary Art
In this text we argue that theatricality – defined by Josette Féral as an effect of disturbing the order of the quotidian and establishing a relation of distance between the scene and the viewer – becomes an increasingly important concept in the field of visual arts. By analyzing artworks made by three important post-relational artists – Pipilotti Rist, Pierre Huyghe and Philippe Parreno – we investigate the nature of contemporary theatricality and how it differs from similar strategies employed by artists in 20th century. We claim that these differences are to be understood in the context of the postmedia condition in art and the neoliberal, “circulationist” logic of the market.
Agnieszka Jakimiak, Between theatre and museum
The paper is focused on the question of the possibility to create an alternative institutional structure in the field of performative arts. Its main benchmark is the group of artists from Iceland who were involved in founding The Living Art Museum. I refer to this example in an attempt to lead to confrontation between the conceptions concerning visuality, perception and presentation of performative arts in Poland and the other point view on archive, institution and relationships represented by The Living Art Museum in Reykjavik. The key question remains the relationship between theatre and museum as well as the possibility of exchange of experience between people who are connected to both of institutions.
Marta Bryś. Kunst Macht Frei
Marta Bryś writes about an exhibition "Lagertheater" which focuses mainly on a theatre in prison camps and in death camps (20.10.2017-28.01.2018, MOCAK Museum of Contemporary Art in Krakow). Describing an arrangement of an exhibition by Jarosław Kozakiewcz, she highlights that there are only few traces left after an artistic activity in the camps. The author mentions conversations with prisoners involved in a foundation of camps' theatres and tells briefly the story of groups such as the Theatre of Symbols in Oflag Arnswalde or the Theatre of Puppets in Oflag Murnau.
In Body and in History. Patrycja Cembrzyńska in Conservation with Jarosław Kozakiewicz
The main subject of an interview is Jarosław Kozakiewicz's work in the places on which history left its imprint. The artist tells about his projects connected with Palace of Culture and Science and Piłsudski Square in Warsaw. He comments on critical architecture and conscious creation of projects which are not implemented in urban areas. Jarosław Kozakiewicz characterizes work on Most dla pieszych ["Bridge for pedestrians"] which, according to plans, was to serve as a link between the area adjacent to Auschwitz-Birkenau and the Mound of Remembrance and Reconciliation. The aforementioned project becomes a starting point for a conversation about raising the topics such as Holocaust, collective memory and cooperation with Krzysztof Wodiczka when realising a project called The Józef Rotblat Institute for Disarmament of Culture and Abolition of War.
Arkadiusz Półtorak. Dissimilation. Overdetermination of Postcolonial Memory in Rabih Mroué’s Oeuvre
In the article Dissimilation. Overdetermination of Postcolonial Memory in Rabih Mroué’s Oeuvre Arkadiusz Półtorak discusses three works by Rabih Mroué: the photo-collage series Diary of a Leap Year and the performances Three Posters (2000) and So Little Time (2017). The author scrutinizes Mroué’s references to Lebanon’s modern history and – drawing upon a cultural analysis of the chosen works – proves that instrumentalization of collective memory discourses is one of the pivotal themes in the artist’s oeuvre. The author posits that Rabih Mroué reveals the arbitrary quality of the past’s representations through defamiliarization (ostranenie), and that his method bears an affinity to Derrida’s notions of deconstruction and decolonization.
Diana Poskuta-Włodek, Other performances
Ewa Partyga’s Wiek XIX. Przedstawienia and some items from book series published by The Zbigniew Raszewski Institute serve as a basis of reflection on the author’s strategies which can be adopted by a historian of cultural spectacles (including theatre) who has the tools of postmodern humanities at his disposal. The aforementioned strategies, for instance a subjective choice of examined areas and of examples used to support argumentation, as well as an interdisciplinary and performative approach lead to a refreshing view on the history of theatre. Ewa Partyga’s work illustrates the positive outcomes of this choice. A sociological examination of chosen phenomenon enables valuable analysis of both emancipatory process and conservative attitude which marked Polish culture in 19th century. Contrarily, adopting this subjective method runs the risk of establishing discursive history and of an instrumentalist approach towards it.
Katarzyna Lemańska, What do not women talk about
Analyzing Weronika Szczawińska's play "Genialna przyjaciółka""My brillant friend"(which had its premiere at Edmund Wierciński Wrocław Contemporary Theatre, Scena na Strychu [Stage in the Attic] on 17th February 2018) , Katarzyna Lemańska regards a right to an anonymous artistic speech as a leitmotiv. She pays attention to a precise scenic movement and a function of live music. The author reflects on the perspective of spectators who are forced to occupy different places in order to observe the play in "open space" composed by Karol Radziszewski.
Katrzyna Fazan, "Feast" as a celebration of speech
In writing about Uczta ["Feast"] by Krzysztof Garbaczewski which premiered at Nowy Teatr in Warsaw on 8th February 2018, Katarzyna Fazan starts from a description of a space arrangement which demands that actors interact with objects surrounding them. The author concentrates on role that speech, sounds and actors' activity play in an exploration of philosophical discourse about love. Fazan refects on the audience's participation in a dialogue led on the stage. She also wonders if the director's way of presenting raised doubts can be regarded as the effective one.
Justyna Wota, In quest of a proper tone
Justyna Wota reviews Kram z piosenkami ["A Market Booth of Songs"] directed by Cezary Tomaszewski (Teatr Powszechny in Warsaw, premiere on 30th December 2017). The play is analyzed in the context of audience's expectations which were influenced by Leon Schiller's distinguished spectacle composed of Polish well-known songs. Justyna Wota reads the particular scenes as an attempt to find an adequate musical expression and interpretation of the compositions. She interprets the play as an endeavour to define their imaginary and real meaning within national culture and contemporary society.
Zuzanna Berendt. How not to see the world
Zuzanna Berendt reviews René Pollesch's play "Kalifornia/ Grace Slick" which had its premiere at TR Warsaw on 8th December 2017. The author characterises a structure of the play with its intertextual allusions and quotations and focuses on an image of contemporaneity constructed by the artisits. In her interpretation of this play, she shows a discussion with the topics such as mediatization of reality, mass production of the images, Internet's domination over the other channels of communication. A scenography created by Nina von Mechow and actors' creation are analyzed in this context.
Katarzyna Waligóra, In the (eternal) comfort zone
Katarzyna Waligóra reviews "Ośrodek wypoczynkowy" by Anna Smolar which had its premiere at Komuna in Warsaw on 3rd December 2017. She reflects on a mentioned in the title recreational centre where arrive the individuals who need support in a process of adaptation to new reality. Describing dramaturgical moves of Anna Smolar and Michał Buszewicz (dramaturgy), the author states that in spite of outstanding acting and intriguing subject, the play leaves a feeling of dissatisfaction. Katarzyna Waligóra mentions that nowadays the films and series address the subjects of technological and capitalist dystopia very often and in a far more sophisticated way than the play does.
Dominika Bremer. Conrad is not essential for talking about Poland
Dominika Bremer reviews two Conrad's plays: „Lord Jim. Ćwiczenia z czytania powieści Josepha Conrada” ["Lord Jim. Exercises on reading Joseph Conrad's novel"] by Maciej Podstawny (Teatr Współczesny in Szczecin, J. Szaniawski Drama Theatre in Walbrzych, premiere on 9th December 2017) and „Ciemności” ["Darkness"] by Monika Strzępka (Żeromski Theatre in Kielce, Imka Theatre in Warsaw, premiere on 13th January 2018). The author describes the subjects which are of the utmost importance for the directors. Taking inspiration from Conrad's novels, they talk about relationships between sovereign and subject, cultural narratives which are entangled in national discourse, colonialism and corporatism.
Kinga Kurysia. Lenin with an earring in his ear
Kinga Kurysia describes Monika Muskała's „Tożsamość Wila”["Will's identity"] directed by Gabriela Muskała. She begins her review with calling Nowa Huta non-place which is composed of the myths, images, prejudices and unusual history due to the fact that sentiments and resentments connected to this social realist suburb became subjects of the play. Kurysia delves into both the method of work on the play (a field research conducted by a group of anthropologists from Jagiellonian University) and the dramaturgical ideas of Monika Muskała, such as personification of iconic places of Nowa Huta. Nevertheless, she wonders if a convention of farce allows to avoid speaking directly about specific problems.
Beata Guczalska. "Ivona”, contemporary violence
Beata Guczalska analyses "Ivona, princess of Burgundia” directed by Grzegorz Jaremka (J. Szaniawski Drama Theatre in Walbrzych, premiere on 13th October 2017). The author examines the original screen creations and reveals the doubts which were raised by the character of Iwona and thanks to the stage arrangements. Beata Guczalska states that this play demonstrates the individuality of young artists and their determination to talk in their own voice.
Marcin Bogucki. Psyche made of celluloid
Marcin Bogucki scrutinizes an opera Eros and Psyche directed by Barbara Wysocka which premiered on 13th October 2017 at the Teatr Wielki – Polish National Opera in Warsaw. He mentions that the works of Ludomir Różycki and Jerzy Żuławski enjoyed great popularity at the beginning of 20th century. In order to inscribe the opera in an aesthetics of film, Wysocka make use of a libretto composed of five images in which Psyche is presented as an actor interpreting succeeding roles. According to the author, Wysocka made an attempt to disclose authentically a kaleidoscopic structure of the text and not meaning of work itself.
Natalia Jakubowa. Farewell to Carmen and discovery of Erismena
Natalia Jakubowa writes about two opera plays: "Carmen" by Dmitrij Czerniakow and Erismena by Jean Belloni (Festiwal in Aix-en-Provence, 3-22.07.2017). Juxtaposing two distinct interpretations of opera classics, she analyses the solutions that aim at rupture with conventional motions of soloists and at throwing into question the method of subordinating the plays to the commonplace fabula schemas. Jakubowa argues that the history presented in Erismena (the opera which is less-known than Bizet's one) enables to overcome on many levels a traditional way of staging musical spectacle.
Katarzyna Tórz. Dry tears
Katarzyna Tórz writes about the most recent work of Ed Atkins which was presented at Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin (29th September 2017 to 8th January 2018, curated by Lisa Marei Schmidt). Tórz describes an installation "Old food" which was placed in 5 halls. The spectator who wants to get acquainted with it needs help of many senses. Adopting a perspective of the spectator, Tórz analyses the way how digitally generated images affect him.
She scrutinizes also a complex relationship between fiction and reality, between material reality and digital reality that are implied by the aforementioned digitally generated images.
Monika Wąsik. It is terrible to devour a soul
Monika Wąsik reviews the play "Der Revisor oder: Das Sündenbuch" by Cilia Drexel that premiered on 7th November 2017 at Theater Basel. The author inscribes a drama of Lukas Linder which was a basis of the play into a tradition of new folk drama and describes strategies chosen by the director in an attempt to bring out comic quality of folk drama. The drama narrates the story of habitants of Alpine village who feel hysterical fear of immigrants and murder a tourist coming to their place. Wąsik focuses on play's strong effect on its spectators which can be associated with the context of Switzerland's politics towards immigration.
Thomas Irmer. Two turning points: 1917/2017
Thomas Irmer writes about two plays of Milo Rau: "Sturm auf den Reichstag" and "Lenin".
The former had its premiere on 7th November 2017 at International Institute of Political Murder in Berlin and constituted part of project regarding democracy. Apart from the actors of Schaubühne, the activists coming from all the world took part in this project. When it comes to „Lenin”, which premiered on 19th October 2017 in Schaubühne in Berlin, it is a staging of biographical and historical drama about the choice of Lenin's successor to take over the role of political leader of Russia. Irmer focuses on director's strategies of alienation and experimentation with documentary realism and analyzes them in the context of aestheticization.
Katarzyna Wielechowska. Opening of space
Katarzyna Wielechowska gives an account of Festiwal szwalnia.DOK 2 which was held in Łódź from 23rd October 2017 to 25th November 2017. She describes Alicja Brudło's play "Brudło from Wąchabno", Katarzyna Skręt's installation "Tsunami tendenko", Michał Brzozowski's film "Free Kurdistan", Suavas Lewy's project "Sound history of Łódź", as well as Ludomir Franczak's multimedia project "Atlas of sounds". She notices that what characterises all of these works is presentification of microhistories that evokes individual or collective lot.
Dobrochna Ratajczakowa. The garden with forking paths
Dobrochna Ratajczakowa reviews Ewa Bal's recently published book „ Locality and cultural mobility of the theatre : tracing Harlequin and Pulcinella” (Jagiellonian University Press, Kraków 2017). Making reference to the title that mentions two personages from the Commedia dell'Arte, she notices that mobility of theatre symbolized by Harlequin is in opposition to stationary theatre of Pulcinella. Ratajczakowa identifies the subjects that Ewa Bal's field of interests lie in (Italian Theatre), the problems she is curious about (locality, mobility, dialects) as well as her preferred methodologies (critical humanities, cultural anthropology, performance studies and postcolonialism).
Anna R. Burzyńska. Permanent cultural revolution
Anna R. Burzyńska writes about Bryce Lease’s book titled “After ’89. Polish Theatre and the Political” (Manchester University Press, 2016). His main field of interest is Polish political theatre and its critical reception. Lease takes advantage of methodologies which are well-known in Poland, but he does it in innovatory way. The author analyses, among others the plays of Jarocki, Lupa, Grzegorzewski, Warlikowski, Szczawińska and Klata in the context of contemporary movies, performances and debates over the role of political theatre and work of the directors such as Tadeusz Kantor and Jerzy Grotowski. Lease's original view of Polish theatre makes this book valuable not only for foreign readers but also for domestic readers.