Katyń. The Theory of Colours
A text about the Katyn massacre, based the notes of the murdered officers and the diaries by Józef Czapski, a painter and prisoner of Soviet labor camps, including Starobelsk. The author decided not to show the crime as such (Czapski was not a witness to it), but to recreate some basic experiences of the arrested: the state of boredom, illness, longing, fear or hope. She assigns individual colours to them and filters them through the reflections of the artist-painter, who survived the camp but never brought himself to paint it. This allegorical, poetic text also touches upon the taboo or falsified aspects of everyday life in the camp.
Stanisław Lem vs. Philip K. Dick
A drama based on a factual conflict between two famous s-f authors in the early 1970s. Stanisław Lem translated Philip K. Dick's novel Ubik into Polish, but the Polish government could not pay Dick in dollars. The relations between the two authors broke off, and Dick wrote a denunciation to the FBI, accusing Lem of sponsoring a plot by communist agents. According to Mateusz Pakuła, the confrontation of two writers is a clash of two attitudes: rationalism and paranoia, atheism and conspiracy theories, but also two childhood traumas and two secrets.
The subsequent paragraphs of the Belarusian author's drama seem to be the result of scrolling the screen of a mobile phone: fragments of information, interesting facts from the Internet, and above all, various posts by young people from social networks. They are supposed to be trivial. And yet, this series of statements carefully put together by the author forms a moving picture of today’s generation of Belarusians entering adulthood.
Composed of fragments of actual statements by contemporary Belarusians (protesters and those in power), extended to include fictitious statements, an eclectic text about the ongoing protests in Belarus. The author presents a wide social panorama revealing the mechanisms of thinking and the sources of people’s disappointment with power.
Julia Holewińska’s Katyń. The Theory of Colours is not devoid of educational intentions. But the author prepared very well for her task and even when she deviates from the material truth, intertwining the realities of Kozelsk and Starobelsk, she does it with full awareness. This is evidenced primarily by the choice of the main character - non-obvious, ahistorical, and at the same time extremely accurate. Not only does he bring the value of his own work to the exploited theme, but he also builds the structure of the entire play through this work.
Witold Wandurski’s Death on a Pear Tree (1923) is an unprecedented example of theatrical transformation of the experience of the Great War in Polish culture. After the world premiere two years later at the Słowacki Theatre in Cracow, however, a categorical postulate to delete fragments that “offended the fame of the Polish army” was put forward. After six performances, the play was removed from the repertoire.
The street power
In the summer and autumn of 2020, the Belarusians surprised everyone, and perhaps even themselves, by taking to the streets en masse and persistently demonstrating in favour of repeating the elections held in August 2020. This usually peaceful nation chose street demonstrations as an instrument of protest. They have not been the only ones in recent years. It is now the main, albeit often ineffective, way of expressing dissatisfaction with a situation in which power loses its appeal, both in Europe and around the world.
A conversation between three Belarusians (Irina Lappo, Henryk Mazurkevych, Andrei Moskvin) about public protests in Belarus after the rigging of the presidential election. The interviewees talk about the raising of social awareness, about the originality of the Belarusian protest, and about the reaction of theatre artists to the social rebellion.
Narrations and violence
The Fredro Theatre in Gniezno has redefined itself as engaged, experimental and courageous. Such kind of theatre should be common - universal, accessible, open. And yet, the author has the impression that Jolanta Janiczak and Wiktor Rubin's Nobody Is Going Believe Me Anyway is in some way distinctive. Counter-common.
An author’s new life without biography
A commentary on new Lem studies that have emerged in recent years, or rather the effects of the appearance of books showing Lem as a human being in various social entanglements, a decade or so ago. These include, first of all, Agnieszka Gajewska’s Zagłada i gwiazdy [Extinction and Stars], as well as publications by Wojciech Orliński and Tomasz Lem’s memoirs concerning his father.
Not so spectacular...
Cinema has always been using literature; but rarely in such a way that it eats literary works in their entirety, without them being bitten or chewed. And besides all this, today, when mass cinema audiences are ruled by Pixar and Marvel together, transferring literary works from the last century or older to the silver (or smartphone) screen is a somewhat devastating activity. Even Achilles will have no chance against the Avengers, not to mention Hans Castorp.
The Last Decades. Joanna Kulig and Zofia Wichłacz
The final feature within the “Faces” series – history told through the prism of the characters and roles of actresses emblematic of their time.
Marek Beylin, Piotr Morawski, Pedro Pereira
Notes on plays: Zlatko Paković Papa Franjo se hrva sa svojim anđelom; Mark Langham Into the Forest; Michał Zdunik Uzdrowisko