Issue 5/2020

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Plays

Listen to Your Heart

Piotr Rowicki

On 10 December 2019, a lot of high-profile things happened. Olga Tokarczuk received the Nobel Prize, the singer of the Roxette band passed away, and a frustrated resident of Ostrava shot six random people in the waiting room of the outpatients’. Piotr Rowicki's play focuses on this last event, but shows it as one the scrumbles of other sensations of that day, as a piece of news that will quickly disappear from newspaper headlines and from people’s memory. The more that the murderer did not stand out among the ordinary citizens, he simply listened to his heart. The narrative is broken into voices, imitating the world bombarding us with information, increasingly less comprehensible and more and more absurd.

A Theatrical Piece in the Streaming Technique

Kamil Szuszkiewicz

A boy and a girl emigrate to Germany. She gets to college, and he finds a simple job, which he then loses. She knows the language better and makes new friends, whereas jealousy, a sense of  loss and frustration build up in him. In addition, the boy falls in with bad company, and from the beginning it is evident that he will become the Perpetrator, and his partner a Victim. We see the breakup of their relationship, documented with photos on Facebook, from an alternate perspective of both of them. The experimental record resembles an online streaming: we accompany the characters "live", up to the supposed tragedy. Noteworthy are the well-picked, colloquial language and accurately outlined psychological and social tensions.

Kinderkriegen (Let’s Have Children!)

Kathrin Röggla

Translated by Elżbieta Ogrodowska-Jesionek

A bitter tale about the pressure to be (or the obligation to become) a parent, built from a series of loose scenes, often duplicating clichés from pedagogical textbooks or slapstick cabarets. The author presents a group of  characters subordinated to social pressure, more engaged in raising children in accordance with common perceptions of education, rather than personal feelings.

Essays, Studies

“I am addicted to Capri”

Michał Kuziak

Recently, Krystian Lupa has been staging political plays and giving interviews proclaiming the necessity of such work, motivated by the specificity of the time in which we live, at home and abroad. He has met with criticism - for what he does, how he does it and what he does not do in his performances. Perhaps the fact that in his last performance Capri at the Powszechny Theatre in Warsaw (2019) he accuses Malaparte that he does not know the languages of the present day and does not understand it, is some echo of these debates.

Dialogue in a minefield

Jolanta Kowalska

What is the range of the theatre power? What is its effectiveness and real causative power? In whose name is this authority used and what are the goals pursued with it? Piotr Dobrowolski's book Teatr i polityka [Theatre and Politics] (2019), provides many reasons for considering the power of critical art. Although the author's main focus is new dramaturgy, but through its prism he also examines  changes in the language and the aesthetic of the theatre after 1989.

Virus

Kornelia Sobczak  

In fact, the epidemic has not brought any new knowledge of the world. It has only dramatically clarified what we thought about it for a long time. This world is not what it is supposed to be. Perhaps, then, what humanists can offer to the world in difficult times is to recover words and concepts. We may have to stop confusing wealth with material prosperity and call the former  exploitation, instead of "less resourceful" to say "less greedy", call tax progression justice, replace self-care with mutual care, and start embarrassing those who being made of money still reach into our pockets.

AI Aesthetics

Lev Manovich

Translated by Sławek Królak

AI plays a crucial role in the global cultural ecosystem. It recommends what we should see, listen to, read, and buy. It determines how many people will see our shared content. It helps us make aesthetic decisions when we create media. In professional cultural production, AI has already been adapted to produce movie trailers, music albums, fashion items, product and web designs, architecture, etc. This is the excerpt from the book AI Aesthetics, published by Strelka Press, December 21, 2018.

Individual existence won’t last

Lech Sokół

The current state of culture, society, the human being, politics and serial crises of various kinds in the Western world, widely discussed in various ways, recall Witkacy from the past as a debater or at least a companion to our thoughts. Witkacy's Cassandra-like motives, catastrophism and pessimism are ubiquitous in his literary output, in his thoughts, in his painting and graphics, in letters, and finally in his conversations with friends and in jokes. Behind his thoughts is the experience of the twentieth century.

Witkacy’s return

Ewa Wąchocka  

The influence of Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz on Polish drama has been restricted to a closed circle for quite some time. We think first of all about Gombrowicz, Mrożek, also, with some caution, about Różewicz, and in this group of authors from different generations this is certainly a significant presence. His artistic and even more intellectual testimony can also be recognized in newer dramaturgy. To what extent and why can Witkacy be interesting for contemporary authors? For some, he is regarded as a creator ahead of postmodernism, when his vision of the future - in the opinion of others - inevitably works, and his concept of Pure Form in the theatre presents itself as a beautiful dream.

One hundred years of boundless dullness

Antoni Winch

How the works of Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz helps us to understand the dramas of contemporary authors. One of them is Israeli playwrigther, Hanoch Levin. In this essay his play, Ikhsh Fisher (1999), is analyzed with such Witkacy’s dramas as The Pragamatists (1919) or Miss Tutli-Putli (1920). It is also considered in the context of ideas contained in Witkacy’s aesthetic concept, which he called The Theory of Pure Form. Despite the fact that Levin was born four years after Witkacy’s suicide, both writers talk to each other. The theme of their philosophical, sociological and political dialogue, which is filled with surreal humor, grotesque, absurd, and macabre, is the condition of Western culture of the modern era. The conclusions they reach are not encouraging.

Columns

Tadeusz Bradecki, Tadeusz Nyczek, Marek Beylin

Varia

Notes on plays: Dino Pešut Granatiranje; Lars Werner deutsche feiern; Michał Rogalski Flat white 

Playbill

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