Issue 7-8/2020

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Plays

Jarosław’s Intimate Life

Magdalena Kupryjanowicz, Michał Kurkowski 

A biographical play, or, as the authors call it, a "non-normative melodrama". It talks about Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz's last big love for Jerzy Błeszyński, who was much younger than him and terminally ill with tuberculosis. We follow their story from the end to the beginning: from dressing Jurek’s body for his final journey until their first meeting. An important place here is occupied by Anna Iwaszkiewicz, also fascinated with her husband's lover. Together they form a kind of "queer family". The counterpoint here is Karol Szymanowski's Efebos, the first Polish homoerotic novel. The play was based on prose, letters and journals by both Jarosław and Anna.

Emigrant Manifesto

Julia Lizurek

A poetic record of the dilemmas of a young woman who founds herself at a crossroads in life and is trying to pull her life together. She travels a lot on trains, and those travels intensify her sense of estrangement. In the finale, she frees herself from the past and vows love to herself. The play written for the main character, played by a mannequin, an external voice and elements of nature has an open, somewhat fairy-tale structure and carries an ambiguous message: it resonates with the viewer on the level of intuitions and emotions.

An Incident

Jarosław Jakubowski

A metaphysical melodrama consisting of two monologues and a dialogue. First, a young pharmacist talks about how a madman with a knife assaulted her in the pasta aisle in a supermarket, and an older guy covered her with his body, thus sacrificing his life. She survived, but she is irritated by all the buzz around this matter, and it is not easy for her to live with it. Then we learn the perspective of her saviour: the average, shy client of the pharmacy, who had liked the girl for a long time, although they only became close during the title "incident". The third part, in which he talks to her from the beyond, introduces the prospect of a happy ending after death. This poetic text contrasts the triviality of human fate and motivations with the religious dimension of the victim.

Edmond (Edmond)

Alekis Michalik

Ytanslated by Irma Helt

A comic story about the creation of Edmond Rostand’s Cyrano de Bergerac, one of the most played theatrical works in the world. The author divides the story into several dozen scenes, thus emphasizing the pace of work imposed on the writer, their  echo being visible in the dizzying momentum of Edmond's turns of action.

Essays, Studies

In the beginning was the body

Piotr Mitzner

The convention of sincerity enabled Iwaszkiewicz to enter into the deepest "personal matters". It was not only that he wrote from his own experience about love between men, about his, as he called them, "intimate friends" and lovers. He also would, rather in the diary and in letters, talk about erotic problems as if he were in a psychotherapist's office: I can't, I'm clumsy, I have no experience.

Anything else, honey?

Paweł Majewski

In the 20th century the affinity of arts took various forms and was associated with the creators' dispositions in various ways. The young poet Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz seriously considered composing not only words but also music. However, when he asked his elder cousin Karol Szymanowski for an evaluation of his attempts, Szymanowski strongly advised him not to compose.

King Roger in a distorting mirror

Dorota Kozińska

Szymanowski's work was enthusiastically received   ̶ which from today's point of view may seem surprising, because this musical mystery play is essentially non-theatrical, especially in the context of the operatic form. It has neither a clearly marked love intrigue, nor assassination which would become the turning point. Furthermore there is no final conclusion. To sum up, it has none of the elements associated with the opera, even in the eyes of the modernist recipient.

Theatre of middle-class revolution

Jolanta Kowalska

The activity of Wrocław's Capitol proves that critical art tools have been taken over by the popular theater. It turned out that the liberal New Bourgeois viewer  may become an ally in terms of both modernization changes and aesthetic innovations. One can say more, in Wrocław, the dream of an enlightened, well-educated and well off middle class, cherished in the heroic years of political transformation, has come true.

The West is well worth a vaudeville

Piotr Olkusz

The vaudeville, for centuries considered a theatrical phenomenon unworthy of the interest of researchers and directors with artistic aspirations, has been experiencing gradual rehabilitation since the 1930s. One of the first artists to look at the genre with a favourable eye was Jean-Louis Barrault. Since the war, he had led his own crusade to make Feydeau one of the classics of French drama. It has been a popular opinion that the genre contributed to the reform of the theatre, that it gave rise to the theatre of absurd, that it is not far from Gogol's comedy, that it describes the mentality of Western societies more accurately than any realistic or naturalistic drama.

The virtue rewarded

Kinga Biedrzycka

What exactly was the phenomenon of the naïve female characters, which in the greatest period of popularity was put on an equal footing, and sometimes even higher, than the most famous actresses performing heroic roles? It was probably the most specific emploi in the entire 19th century, conventional to the limit.

Poland is a myth, or feeding an evil wolf

Małgorzata Jarmułowicz

Each drama published in the anthology Polska jest mitem. Nowe dramaty [Poland is a Myth. New Dramas] (Warsaw - Łódź 2019) confirms that the individualization of the creative process, as contrasted with the discredited templates of classical art rules, has indeed become the hallmark of contemporary playwriting practice. However, one thing has not changed since the 19th century: the playwright's measure of success is the presence or absence of his plays on theatre stages.

Borborigms

Eliza Kącka

The works by Weronika Murek published in the volume Feinweinblein, written in a dramatic convention, devoid of action and looped like in Beckett’s plays, are to be primarily a presentation of characters drowned in a pointless, and yet insidious conversation, delineating slowly an image of people in stagnation.

(Non)final dramas

Paweł Dobrowolski

Księga psa. Siedem dramatów metafizycznych [The Dog’s Book. Seven Metaphysical Dramas] (2019) by Mariusz Bieliński can be treated simply as a selection of dramas. It is good that they have been finally collected and published by Księgarnia Akademicka as part of  "Our dramas" series. However, the volume can be read as a whole, like a collection of poems or stories. The texts included in it combine numerous are intertwined. They are ruled by their own internal dramaturgy.

Columns

Marek Beylin, Tadeusz Nyczek, Pedro Pereira

Varia

Notes on plays: Espi Tomičić Your Love Is King; Jordan Tannahill Botticelli in Fire; Benoit Solès La Machine de Turing; Krzysztof Tchórzewski Aktion Glucken

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