Karolina Wycisk. Dramaturgy as a Spirit? A Few Remarks on the Dramaturg and Words in Dance
The author begins with an observation by André Lepecki concerning the fear of working with a dramaturg. Recalling several concepts that define the role of the dramaturg in dance (Lepecki, Liesbeth Wildschut, Bojana Cvejić, Bojana Bauer, Maaike Bleeker), she juxtaposes various interpretations of the field and forms of collaboration. She reaches the conclusion that, in a professional context, dramaturgy is based on design work and a freelance economy, and the fusion of various functions and the growing significance of the word in dance productions makes the dramaturg increasingly necessary. At the same time, she notes that the viewer’s work can be considered dramaturgy, and its understanding goes beyond the dichotomy of word/text — movement/stage interpretation.
You Are That Report: Anka Herbut in Conversation with Karolina Wycisk
The subject of this interview is Anka Herbut’s work as a dramaturge in theater and dance projects. Karolina Wycisk’s questions focus on the dramaturge’s work conditions: the reactions of the actor and dance ensembles to her presence, the pace of the work, and her impact on the final outcome. Herbut compares her work method to an author or researcher. She talks about working with Łukasz Twarkowski on Lokis at the National Drama Theater in Vilnius, on the Archers project with Agnieszka Kryst, on Marta Ziółek’s dance play Make Yourself produced by Komuna// Warszawa, and with Iza Szostak on Digger Ballet, PRIV, and National Affairs.
Magdalena Zamorska. Dynamics of Collaboration: Collectives, Centers, and Platforms Created by Polish Artists of the Independent Dance Scene
Over the last decade, Polish new dance artists (choreographers, dancers, dramaturgs, curators) have been creating grassroots spaces for dynamic collaboration networks, formed through interpersonal relations, based on acts of sharing, exchange, and transfer of material and non -material resources. This article examines the dynamic of cooperation in present -day formal and informal collectives, centers, and “houses” created by Polish independent dance artists. It investigates the transfer of knowledge, skills, and practices serving to achieve visibility; this issue is presented with respect to social and professional relationships, inquiring into forms of collaboration on material, intellectual, and affective levels. It also outlines historical practices and a theoretical context.
Michał Kurkowski. On Action – Beginning with Action
Michał Kurkowski’s article covers the collaboration between American choreographer Meg Foley and Polish choreographer Maria Stokłosa on the Action is Primary project. The author outlines Foley’s dance-improv based work, upon which Stokłosa created her own series in Poland: Beginning with Action. Kurkowski provides a detailed description of one of forty events organized in Warsaw, which took place at ATM Studio. He points out how the audience works during the play, and how Stokłosa expands on the format created by Meg Foley.
Justyna Stasiowska. Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)
Justyna Stasiowska reviews Marta Ziółek’s performance PIXO: Smash. Detonate. Explode. Destroy (Komuna// Warszawa, premiere: 27.10.2017). She notes that Ziółek uses a strategy familiar from pop music, with not only the same artists in a series of productions, but having them play the same characters. PIXO is thus jointly created by a team of performers – Maria Magdalena Kozłowska, Agnieszka Kryst, Ramona Nagabczyńska, Paweł Sakowicz, Katarzyna Sikora, and Robert Wasiewicz – who appeared in a previous Ziółek production, Make Yourself. The author analyzes the promotional strategies in the production of PIXO, seeing them as playing on a brand name, a product, and mass culture, which Ziółek picks up in her work. Stasiowska writes about how PIXO raises the topic of urban subcultures and revolts against a reality saturated with consumption.
Dorota Androsz. An Analysis of the Work of the Actor and Performer in Terms of Practice
Dorota Androsz’s article attempts to show differences in the work of the actor and the performer based on two events, in which Androsz was an active participant: the performance Ophelia_3 (Redplexus Festival Préavis de Désordre Urbain in Marseilles, 13.09.2013) and Wiktor Rubin’s play Orgy, with dramaturg Jolanta Janiczak (Teatr Wybrzeże, 24.10.2010). Through a detailed description and analysis of her participation in these two projects, Androsz ultimately forwards the thesis that “the actor’s aim is to construct a convincing role and to know how to recreate it every evening, while the performer’s aim is outlined by the body.” She also writes on the very conscious and responsible involvement of the performer in these projects.
I Look for Extremes in Theater: Dorota Androsz in conversation with Monika Kwaśniewska
Dorota Androsz speaks of her fascination for German theater and dance, showing how they influenced her artistic work and development. She describes the differences between working in an institutional theater (notwithstanding its huge diversity) and in independent institutions (sketching out a fascinating map of alternative art centers in the Tri-City area), in which she works as an actress, performer, choreographer, and director. She considers what makes the work in Ophelia Collective so special, and describes many more or less ephemeral projects by a variety of artists (e.g. Mikołaj Mikołajczyk and the GS Zakrzewo Theater Group, or Paweł Althamer and the Nowolipie Group).
Dorota Sajewska. Necroperformance: Theory as Remains
This article departs from a conviction that contemporary art is performative, characterized by an increasing hybridity, particularly on account of its repetition strategies, blurring the boundaries between art work and aesthetic theory. For the author, art of this kind is problematized by self -archiving processes and the media interdependency within the work, thus leading to (further) decentralization of existing theories of performativity. Analyzing the status of these theories in terms of art practice, the article introduces the new concept of (necro)performance, for which the critical point of reference is the cultural myth of the acting human body, as opposed to dead objects. This concept of necroperfomance problematizes the relationship between animate and inanimate matter in terms of performative practice and theory, and with regard to contemporary theories of the archive.
Konrad Wojnowski. Playing with Recollections – Symrealism and the Vanishing of History
This article details a peculiar model of digital realism, who fullest expression is in first -person virtual -world computer games. The peculiarity of this new realism comes from the fact that, as a response to the revolutionary perception of the reality of someone who uses numerous simulation technologies on a day -to -day basis, it dispenses with giving thought to the objectively existing world. In games like Assassin’s Creed or Soma, the only real things are mediated by the space inside the simulator. The “simulated realism” aesthetic is, however, even more interesting from an epistemological perspective – as it turns out, in this framework, “factual” history cannot be represented at all. The past seen through a simulator shrinks to a virtual, uncertain, and individual memory.
Katarzyna Waligóra. “Are You Very Stupid, or Very Intelligent?” Joanna Szczepkowska and the Embarrassing Performance of Canceling Communism
This article takes a closer look at a performance by actress Joanna Szczepkowska on 28 October 1989. This was a statement on the Television News: “Ladies and gentlemen, communism in Poland ended on 4 June 1989.” Waligóra describes how the appearance happened, the first responses to it, and how it endured in the collective memory. She also mentions the actress’ position in 1989 and the effect of her public image the reception of the words spoken on television. The author also explains why she sees Szczepkowska’s appearance as an embarrassing female performance – simultaneously emancipatory and eliciting consternation.
Przemysław Strożek. Football – Futurism – Fascism: Football and Nationalist Modernism in Italian Culture in the First Half of the Twentieth Century
This article is a study on the phenomenon of football propaganda in Italian art of the first half of the twentieth century. It focuses on various works by Italian Futurists on football in the context of Fascist socio -political changes, as part of a “Modernist Nationalism” concept. Making a chronological breakdown of the pre -Fascist years (Boccioni’s Futurism) and the period of intensified fascist propaganda by Futurists in 1926 -1936, the article is filled with detailed research on the cultural significance of propaganda for the victorious World Championship tournament in Italy in 1934. The article shows that an in -depth exploration of football in Italian interwar art, against a backdrop of the history of Italian sports, provides a much better understanding of the specifics of fascist propaganda, which combined nationalism and Classicism with a program of Futurist modernization in an eclectic and hybrid fashion. Paradoxically, it was the Futurists, who initially sought to tear down and burn the museums, who elevated football players to the altar of art, sanctifying their images and thus creating a truly new language of sports propaganda.
Michał Kuziak. Zadara’s Silver Dream
Reviewing Salomea’s Silver Dream (STUDIO teatrgaleria in Warsaw and Centrala, premiere: 22.04.2018), Michał Kuziak describes Michał Zadara’s initial idea: presupposing the impossibility of staging Juliusz Słowacki’s drama, he decided to translate it into a play for a single actor/performer, and appear by himself on stage. The author wonders what this directorial strategy serves, apart from introducing an alienation from the canonical “mystical” reading of Romantic dramas. He describes this attempt to update the content of the drama, accentuating its cruelty and violence. Yet he remains unable to trust Zadara’s strategy, listing the many traps it risks.
Aneta Głowacka. On the Border
Analyzing Under Pressure, according to Maja Kleczewska and Łukasz Chotkowski (Stanisław Wyspiański Silesian Theater, premiere: 23.03.2018), the author recalls the plot of John Cassavetes’ film Woman under the Influence. Głowacka reads the play’s content in terms of Black Friday, which coincided with the premiere, and states that the play was a powerful commentary on the women’s protest organized in front of the theater building. She focuses on the script’s pedophile theme, interpreting Sandra Korzeniak’s role as Mabel and Antoni Gryzik’s as the father. She describes the realist function of the scenography, music, and projections, which are consistent with the artists’ vision.
Olga Katafiasz. History and Other Determinants
A review of The Death of Danton, directed by Barbara Wysocka (National Theater in Warsaw, premiere: 3.02.2018). The critic wonders at the viewers’ perspective in terms of the situations performed by the actors, focusing on the attempt to juxtapose personal and public histories. Katafiasz stresses the function of the space and the scenography, contributing to the director’s vision to show “a model of a historical situation that will repeat with every revolution in the modern world.” The author notes that this interpretation of Georg Büchner’s drama frees it from mechanically replicating threadbare narratives of the past.
Jakub Papuczys. What about Janek?
Jakub Papuczys reviews the play Sienkiewicz Superstar (or: A Much-Delayed Biographical Anecdote on the Praiseworthy Occasion of the Centenary of the Restoration of Independence) (Jerzy Szaniawski Theater in Wałbrzych, premiere: 23.02.2018). Papuczys points out that, for director Aneta Groszyńska and dramaturge Jan Czapliński, Henryk Sienkiewicz is chiefly a representative of a patriotic-Romantic vision of Poland, reproduced through the canonization of his books in schools. The author takes a critical stance toward this dismissive approach to Sienkiewicz, which he believes precludes some critical questions. He does appreciate, however, the suggestion of taking classical themes from the novella Janko the Musician.
Zuzanna Berendt. Non-places and Non-times, or: Poland and the Transformation
Zuzanna Berendt reviews The Odyssey, directed by Ewelina Marciniak (Polski Theater in Poznań, premiere: 17.03.2018). Focusing on the relationships between the protagonists and their varying approaches to the past and the future, the author analyzes the artists’ approach to the transformation. She also wonders how the aesthetic dimension of the play connects with the theme addressed by the artists. Berendt brings in previous productions by Marciniak, and addresses the untapped potential of audience participation, which was attempted during rehearsals.
Agata Chałupnik. Everything’s Up for Sale?
Agata Chałupnik reviews Neron by Wiktor Rubin (director) and Jolanta Janiczak (script; Powszechny Theater in Warsaw, premiere: 23 March 2018). Focusing on the performative dimension of the play, she explores how the artists try to give audiences the chance to participate in the play, and with what consequences. Chałupnik points out how the audience is situated on the stage, in the seating area, and on the balconies, alluding to the class hierarchies in Ancient Rome. She does wonder, however, if the artists’ strategies are effective in prompting reflection on the uncomfortable and privileged place of the theater viewer.
Dorota Sosnowska. “In a Hundred Years, Those Who Are Alive Will Be Dead”
The author reviews a play by Anna Karasińska, 2118 (Nowy Theater in Warsaw, premiere: 27.03.2018), reading it in the context of Tomasz Plata’s series, How Do You Imagine the Theater in 100 Years?. The author notes the play’s structure adheres to the “what about this possibility…” formula that begins every etude. Analyzing the various scenes, she tries to outline the reflections on the future in the play. Sosnowska also describes the play’s minimal aesthetic, reflecting on the boundary between the game and privacy.
Dominika Bremer. It Is Not So Simple to Name a Fear
Dominika Bremer reviews Małgorzata Wdowik’s Fear (TR Warszawa, premiere: 28.04.2018). The author explores the intentions of the artists, forwarding the thesis that most of the formal tactics encourage a non-intellectual reception. Bremer describes a series of pop, cultural, and social references which Wdowik doubtless includes, while remarking that none are overstated or transparent; on the contrary, they remain hidden in the sphere of experience.
Ada Ruszkiewicz. Trouble with Convention
Ada Ruszkiewicz reviews Three Sisters, directed by Jędrzej Piaskowski (Juliusz Osterwa Theater in Lublin, premiere: 09.03.2018). According to the author, the main staging concept was a play on the Russian realist theater convention. In this spirit, Ruszkiewicz analyzes the costumes, scenography, and the acting. Stressing that parodying a theatrical convention is not the same as striking up a dialogue with it, the reviewer states that Piaskowski’s tactics did not lead to an innovative reading of the classic drama. Ruszkiewicz also has reservations about how the audience functions in the play – the actors speak directly to them throughout the performance.
Agnieszka Marszałek. A Wedding Night’s Dream, or: The Case of Mélisande
Reviewing the opera Pelléas and Mélisande, directed by Katie Mitchell (Wielki Theater – National Opera in Warsaw, premiere: 21.01.2018), the author departs from the specifics of the music and libretto of Claude Debussy’s work. Marszałek notes an excess of psychoanalytical symbols in the scenography – the claustrophobic space of the home, built like a labyrinth. Analyzing the roles of the various characters, she focuses on the vague functions ascribed to the caricatured protagonists. To her mind, the artists’ concept destroys the coherence and fluidity of the work’s text, music, and visuals.
Justyna Stasiowska. The Lowest Level of Material Reality
Justyna Stasiowska describes two plays – Ana Laura Lozza and Barbara Hang’s Arcadia, and Not Your Man by Xenia Taniko, presented during the 27th edition of Tanztage in Berlin (4-12.01.2018, Sophiensaele). The author ponders the material facet of the works in terms of the “recycling scraps and waste” theme. In Arcadia, the dystopian and deconstructive motifs are evoked through the excess of materials and their constant disorganization, while in Not Your Man the links between matter and the body are used to explore gender issues.
Natalia Jakubowa. Normative and Non-normative Femininity in the Plays of Martin Kušej
Natalia Jakubowa describes two plays by Martin Kušej – Hedda Gabler and The Crucible – in terms of how the director portrays the theme of femininity. She says that in Kušej’s theater the demonstration of physical states plays a major role. Following this thesis, the analysis of Hedda Gabler focuses on how the female protagonists’ physicality is created in Ibsen’s drama. In the part devoted to The Crucible, Jakubowa concentrates on the portrayal of the young group of girls and Elżbieta Proctor. With reference to Arthur Miller’s drama, she claims that the author did not manage to avoid patriarchal cliches.
Joanna Zielińska. The Sinking Ship: On Bosnia and Herzogovina
Joanna Zielińska reviews Jedvanosimsoboakalomistobo (Sarajevo War Theater, premiere: 19.10.2017). The author describes the premiere of the Sarajevo theater in the context of the two year directorship of Aleš Kurt (the director of the present play), programming the repertoire to address current social and identity problems in Bosnia and Herzogovina. Zielińska presents the dramaturgical and intertextual tactics (collages of various works, ties with the punk group Protest) in the context of the present-day political situation in the Balkans.
Keeping in Contact: Grace Ellen Barkey, Jan Lauwers, and Maarten Seghers
in Conversation with Dorota Semenowicz and Katarzyna Tórz
Kasia Tórz and Dorota Semenowicz begin this conversation with members of Needcompany by asking how the political reality affects their work. In the following conversation, the artists attempt to define how theater is political, their creative work, and the position of the artist in the world. Tórz and Semenowicz put forward affirmation and conflict as possible strategies for building a relationship with the audience.
Karolina Wycisk. My Political Body
Karolina Wycisk describes the 9th MAAT Festival (Lublin, 7-10.12.2017). The author examines some selected projects (Kaja Kołodziejczyk’s I Wipe, Renata Piotrowska-Auffret’s Gold Comes Out of Me, Iza Szostak’s National Affairs, and Paweł Sakiewicz’s Jumpcore), using the concepts of “my body” and “the political body.” Wycisk outlines the selected performances in terms of the politics of the woman’s body, the dangers of mechanization and technological development, and physical limitations. She also points to the varying meanings and understandings of the festival’s main theme – “the national body” – in selected projects.
Katarzyna Lemańska. My Internal Critic
Describing Nurt Off 39: A Review of Actors’ Songs (Wrocław, 16-25.03.2018), Katarzyna Lemańska focuses on four plays: Can I Be Whitney? by Tomasz Szczepanek, Gender Unplugged by Natalia Orkisz, Pissed off Women in the Crater where Poland Once Was by Przemysław Wojcieszek, and Natasza Sołtanowicz’s Freak Girls. Analyzing the main themes addressed by the artists, she also comments on the various staging strategies. Apart from what she sees as the most interesting projects, by Szczepanek and Orkisz, Lemańska points out that, to her mind, the festival was short on plays that “used the voice and music as sources of content, which might show the theater artists’ various approaches to music.”
Anna R. Burzyńska. Looking Differently
The critic reviews a book by Ewa Partyga, Ibsen Constellations: Exercises in Looking and Reading (2016), each of whose thirteen chapters suggests a different way of looking at the Norwegian’s work, its contexts and reception (from philosophical inspirations to affiliations with painting and photography, or contemporary literary connections and stagings). Despite the freedom and panache in these essays, the publication has a deeply conceived, expressive, and precise structure, which binds all the strands; the various chapters can be read in any order one pleases, uncovering intriguing connections between them.