Richard Schechner. Selective inattention. Relationship between social and aesthetic drama
Referring to Victor Turner's concept of social drama, Richard Schechner analyses the relationships between social and aesthetic drama: a hidden theatrical charge is the subtext of the visible actions forming social drama, and elements of everyday life determine the subject and rhythm of aesthetic drama. The author explains this dependence on two examples: the changes made by President Ford in his cabinet in 1975 and the political and social conflict between two families in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Then, focusing on the behaviour of the audience during specific performances, Schechner analyses their context as events and divides the audiences into accidental and integral. He is interested in disruptions of reception and moments in which everyday life enters the tissue of the performance. As a result, his text becomes a praise of what he calls selective inattention.
Jan Niedziela. Autoportrait with Hermanis in the background
Jan Niedziela describes the Vienna premiere of Our Violence and Your Violence (29 May 2016), directed by Oliver Frljić.The performance was inspired by Peter Weiss' Aesthetics of Resistance and it premiered in the year of the centenary of the writer's birth. The author of the review analyses the relationship between the literary original and the Croatian director's work. He gives a detailed description of several scene of the performance, pointing out their political radicalism. The creators of the performance proclaim the idea of a multicultural, open society, at the same time condemning the way in which European societies allow the rebirth of nationalisms and violence towards refugees: they attack European colonialism. They also express their opinions concerning the attitudes of the theatre milieu towards the refugees (including that presented by Alvis Hermanis).
Katarzyna Tórz. Vigil in a noctorama
Katarzyna Tórz reviews From the Dark by the British group Forced Entertainment (premiere: 16 Jul 2016 at the Foreign Affairs Festival in Berlin). The eight-hour-long performance, beginning at nightfall, explores the night as a time in which it is normal for animal to function, but which is also considered as mysterious and dangerous for people. The author describes the way in which the space of the Haus der Berliner Festspiele was used and the design of the audiences perception effected by placing the viewers in different spots. Tórz points out that in From the Dark the creators use the simple means usually appearing in their work, which allows them to play with the habits and perception of the viewers.
Theatre is created by the environment. Eugenio Barba in conversation with Martyna Kasprzak
The main subject of the interview with Eugenio Barba is his theatre laboratory – Nordisk Teaterlaboratorium/Odin Teatret, in which the artist works with young people. Barba tells about the key turning points in the history of Odin Teatret and the viewers often accompanying the activities of the laboratury. Asked about the functioning of Odin Teatret within the present political and social situation, Barba replies that this context does not influence the course or character of his work. In reply to the final question, concerning the present validity of Barba's category of the Third Theatre, created in the nineties, the director mentions Komuna//Warszawa and Studium Teatralne, whose activities do not fit the category of avant-garde theatre and can be described as examples of the Third Theatre.
Tomasz Fryzeł. Peter Brook i and the modern angst
Tomasz Fryzeł writes about the film and stage work of Peter Brook through the focus of its political and social potentials. The text opens with a detailed, critical analysis of the relationships between Battlefield (the most recent performance by the British director) and socio-political reality. The author then claims that Brook's performance echoes his pacifist engagement from the 1970s. Analysing the films Tell me Lies (1968) and Marat/Sade (1967), and referring to the artist's theoretical statements, Fryzeł points out an evolution in the director's perception of the political role of art.
Katarzyna Woźniak. Pippo Delbono – the agelong problem of the body
The article takes as its main subject the Italian director Pippo Delbono, whose performance Orchidee was presented during this year's edition of the Malta Festival in Poznań. Focusing on the performance, the author characterises the director's stage style and emphasises his praticular interest in the actor's body and training (inspired, among others, by Odin Teatret and Ryszard Cieślak's workshops). Woźniak points out that the participation of disabled actors in Delbono's works aims at building a new quality of expression, unavailable to professional actors.
Katarzyna Waligóra. Romeo Castellucci: the body in action
Katarzyna Waligóra reflects on the status and subjecthood of the actors, animals and machines in Romeo Castellucci's performances. The author refers to specific performances (i.a. Julius Caesar, The Four Seasons Restaurant, Inferno, On the Concept of the Face, Regarding the Son of God, Orpheus and Eurydice, Rite of Spring) and the process of their creation – above all she analyses the director's methods of casting and rehearsing. Waligóra describes the influence of the particular structure of Castellucci's performances on the expression of the performers. She summarises the concept of liberty presented by Elizabeth Grosz and observes the actions of the performers through its focus.
Dorota Semenowicz. Jan Fabre and the experience of the boundary
Dorota Semenowicz creates a protrait of Jan Fabre, the Flemish director, choreographer and visual artist. The text opens with a brief description of Mount Olympus, a 24-hour-long performance which becomes a pretext for reflection on Fabre's attitude towards the ancient tradition linked to Dionysus. Signalling Foucault's influence on the Belgian artist, Semenowicz points out the particular place occupied in his work by the biological, suffering, desiring body, rebelling against subjection and contesting social norms. The author also describes Fabre's dialogue with art and theatre history (Duchamp, conceptual art, body art and performance art).
Katarzyna Osińska. Valery Fokin: theatre's past for its future
Katarzyna Osińska's article is devoted to the Russian director Valery Fokin. Osińska writes about his performances in Polish theatres, as well as his present work as the head of the Alexandrinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg. One of Fokin's important initiatives is The Meyerhold Centre, established in 1991 and pioneering in the Russian context as representing a model of a cultural centre working on productions varied in terms of their character as well as funding sources. Osińska characterises the activities of the TCM, writing about the performances and international festivals produced there, as well as educational projects for theatre leaders and managers, conducted as part of the centre's public mission. The author emphasises the fact that Fokin is both a director and a manager at the institution.
Anna R. Burzyńska. The counterspaces of Heiner Goebbels' theatre
Anna R. Burzyńska presents the artistic biography of Heiner Goebbels, from the first musical-political happenings, through composing theatre, film and ballet music for other creators, audio plays and so-called stage concerts, to his present projects which he realises as a composer, director, scholar and curator. The author describes the process of creating Goebbels' performances and focuses on his strategies of dismantling hierarchies and working for the democratisation of the theatre work, as well as the emancipation and activation of the spectator.
Beata Guczalska. Krystian Lupa – a difficult mastery
Beata Guczalska's article is a survey of Krystian Lupa's work looking for changes and similarities which can be found in his performances. The author presents the function of improvisation and the role of forming experimental communities in order to create performances. Focusing in large part on the stagings of Thomas Bernhard's novels, she proves that the director has used the Austrian writer's work „for years to achieve various aims, depending on the area of his artistic needs”. Guczalska daringly compares Lupa's importance to that od Kantor and Grotowski.
Maryla Zielińska. My fort. The theatre of Eimuntas Nekrošius.
Taking as her point of departure the circumstances of the performance of Boris Godunov directed by Eimuntas Nekrošius at the Sirenos 2015 festival in Vilnius, Maryla Zielińska presents the theatre of the Lithuanian director. She claims that despite their monumental staging, his performances are not addressed to the crowds, but to each viewer separately. The author claims that the stories told in Nekrošius' theatre are hieroglyphs of associations and metaphors, which have to be deciphered like a rebus, and she refers to the director as the author of stage narratives. She points out that the aesthetics of his theatre – the surplus of music and choreography, the costumes, the dominating black – can be irritating.
Jadwiga Rodowicz. Tadashi Suzuki – „the statesman of Japanese theatre”
The article presents the artistic biography of the Japanese director Tadashi Suzuki. The author starts from the events of the Second World War, moves on to his attempts at acting and becoming the director of the Free Weseda Stage and finally discusses Suzuki's most important performances, such as Euripides' The Trojan Women and Bacchae. She explains the „methodology of feet” in actor training and analyses Suzuki's dramatic method. The author claims that for Suzuki the body is an expression of culture and its emblem, „the key, but also the dictionary, a record, the locus of erasing, eradicating the record”.
George Sampatakakis. The Theatre of Theodoros Terzopoulos. Aesthetics and ideology
George Sampatakakis creates not as much a portrait of the distinguished Greek director Theodoros Terzopoulos (although he mentions the course of his artistic career), as a description of the artistic strategies he created, as well as their underlying aesthetic and ideological worldview. The author focues especially on Terzopoulos' acting method, which consists in „deconstruction, analysis and transformation” both of the body of the performer and the text on which the performance is based. He also reflects on the „antirealistic” aesthetics of Terzopoulos' work, his critical attitude towards canons and traditions, as well as the political potential of his performances.
Maria Shevtsova. Robert Wilson: the path of aesthetics
Maria Shevtsova's article deals with the American director Robert Wilson. Shevtsova characterises the subsequent stages of his career, describing the evolution of the director's aesthetics and the staging devices typical for his work. She writes about its beginnings, working on the boundary of dance and performance, the later mute performances lasting for hours (such as Deafman Glance) and the breakthrough Einstein of the Beach, changing the course of Wilson's international career. It was during the work on Einstein that Wilson started using the film technique of storyboarding, which he still employs and develops.
Tomasz Kowalski. Connect the dots and colour the picture. Metahistorical contexts of filling the gaps in Shakespeare's biography
Tomasz Kowalski points out the difficulties facing scholars investigating Shakespeare's biography, resulting mainly from the lack of documents concerning his life, as well as personal records or manuscripts in general. The author shows that, when speaking about Shakespeare's biography, one could apply the metaphor of children's game of connecting the dots, which would here refer to the sparse facts from the Bard's life confirmed by documentary evidence. The author analyses the present attempts at constructing a biography of Shakespeare through the focus of the discussion on fiction as a necessary element of biographical writing. Another strategy of biographical writing analysed by Kowalski is the treatment of the „author as a character”, which openly admits to basing biography on literary imagination.
Olga Katafiasz. The Princess Hamlet. On a certain adventure of Shakespeare's play
Olga Katafiasz analyses the film adaptation of Hamled directed by Svend Gade and Heinz Schall in 1920, starring Asta Nielsen. The author mentions earlier examples of casting actresses as Hamlet, coming to the conclusion that in nineteenth-century theatre Hamlet was not deprived of his male character. Referring to the work of Siegfried Kracauer, Louis Montrose and Monika Seidl, the author shows why and how the creators of the film transpose the plotlines and meanings of Shakespeare's text. Katafiasz claims that the 1920 adaptation of Shakespeare should be read as an apocryph of the play.
Dawid Głownia. The Tempest in space. Forbidden Planet as a genre travesty of Shakespeare
Dawid Głownia writes about Forbidden Planet – a science fiction film adaptation of Shakespeare's The Tempest. The author outlines the process of creating the film in order to point out the changes which have taken place in the perception of Forbidden Planet with regard to its relationship to The Tempest. Trying to answer the question why it was only in the 1970s that the film became universally recognised as an adaptation of Shakespeare's work, Głownia presents the promotional mechanisms surrounding Forbidden Planet. Pointing out numerous similarities and departures from the literary original, the author claims that watching the film with particular focus on references to The Tempest can lead to an overinterpretation of Forbidden Planet's plot.
Maksymilian Wroniszewski. Political Shakespeare?
Maksymilian Wroniszewski reviews the 20th Shakespeare Festival in Gdańsk (29 Jul-7 Aug 2016). The author emphasises the balanced level of the Golden Yorick Award contest and comments on the performances by Forced Entertainment, Romeo Castellucci's Societas Raffaello Sanzio, as well as the Iranian Hamlet directed by Arash Dadgar. Wroniszewski is critical towards the thesis that this year's main contest had a strong political potential, instead focusing on other interpretive strands taken up in the performances participating in the contest.
Maryla Zielińska. Requiem
Maryla Zielińska writes about Robert Robur (prem. 10 Jun 2016), directed by Krzysztof Garbaczewski and based on Mirosław Nahacz's novel. The author analyses the structure of the performance, whose purpose is not as much to tell a linear story, as to thematise the question of perception and cognition (the stage design by Aleksandra Wasilkowska plays a similar role). Zielińska points out the variable level of the performance: in particular, she praises its finale, with its impeccable rhythm and harmony of all elements.
Monika Kwaśniewska. The frames of a schizophrenic community
A review of Tu Wersalu nie będzie! directed by Rabih Mroué (Teatr Polski, Bydgoszcz, prem.: 18 Jun 2016) focused on the figure of Andrzej Lepper. The author notes that the identity of the leader of the Samoobrona party as presented in the performance has been inscribed into a chain of narratives, objects, photos, drawings, tables, as well as the body and expression of the performer, thus creating the frames for a schizophrenic community of originators and recipients of various, often incompatible messages. Two subjects come to the fore: the situation of women in Polish culture and politics and the potential of the process of mourning, dangerous for democracy. The author points out the democratic dimension of the performance, but also criticises the excessive caution in the autothematic elements.
Zuzanna Berendt. The blood sport fad
Reviewing Michał Zadara's Orestes (CENTRALA, Zachęta Narodowa Galeria Sztuki, prem.:27 Aug 2016), Zuzanna Berendt analyses the way in which the director plays with the convention of ancient theatre. She shows how the creators translate the structure of the ancient text, including rhetorical monologues and witness testimony, into the present mediatisation of social and political life. The author also writes about the space in which the performance was presented – the room at the Zachęta Gallery, where president Gabriel Narutowicz was assassinated in 1922. Berendt is critical towards the inclusion of present and historical political context, here referred to only through events accompanying the performance and its advertising campaign in the media.
Agata Chałupnik. Who is afraid of Henrietta Lacks?
Agata Chałupnik reviews the performance Henrietta Lacks, directed by Anna Smolar (Copernicus Science Centre, coproduced by Nowy Teatr, Warsaw, prem.: 2 Sep 2016) shown during the Przemiany Festival, whose title this year was „The temptation of immortality”. Chałupnik points out that the figure of Henrietta Lacks, the African American patient whose „immortal” cells are still used by scientists in research and experiments, becomes a point of departure for questions about medical ethics, the status of subjects of research, as well as the gender-related and racial aspect of Lacks' history. The author also writes about popcultural references present in the performance, as well as Smolar's dialogue with the formula of the performance lecture.
Katarzyna Fazan. In the crevices of Stary Teatr
Katarzyna Fazan writes about the Długi obieg (Long circuit) project, consisting in showing the audience around the normally inaccessible spaces of Stary Teatr in Cracow for 24 hours on Jun 4-5, 2016. The artists invited to participate in the project were, i.a.: Anna Królikiewicz, Zbigniew Libera, Marcin Cecko, Justyna Sobczyk, Mirek Kaczmarek, Katarzyna Kozyra, Marble Crowd, Rafał Urbacki and the trio Szpecht/Haudek/Czupkiewicz. Fazan claims that from the perspective of the audience, Długi obieg was more of a walk around the backstage spaces of the theatre than a trip into the unknown. She thinks that for this reason it would probaly be more interesting to listen to an account of the creators of the project, who have themselves experienced „long-term processes, they had the opportunity to observe the spectators participating in the project as well as their own fatigue resulting from many hours of activity”.
Joanna Kocemba. Possibilities of coexistence
Joanna Kocemba writes about Szczelina (Crevice) performed by Chorea theatre and directed by Tomasz Rodowicz, which premiered as part of the action Dotknij Teatru (Touch the Theatre) on March 31, 2016 at the Art_Inkubator stage of Fabryka Sztuki in Łódź. The performance, based on Arne Lygre's I Disappear and fragments of Rumi's poetry, tells the story of a woman forced to leave her home and way of life behind. This is why, according to Kocemba, it would be difficult not to read her fate through the focus of the refugee problem. The author points out the form of the performance, in particular the function of the motion which becomes an illustration of stage action in the static scenes. She also praises the concept of the stage space.
Katarzyna Niedurny. Girls go to war
Katarzyna Niedurny reviews Elżbieta Depta's performance Wojna nie ma w sobie nic z kobiety (The Unwomanly Face of War), based on the non-fiction book by Svetlana Alexievich (Teatr im. Stefana Żeromskiego, Kielce, prem.: 16 May 2016). The author focuses predominantly on the inconsistencies and inaccuracies of the performance. She points out the dismissive attitude towards women's ways of expressing resistance against the war and the confirmation of their stereotyped image as wives and mothers who should care about their homes rather than fight.
Aleksandra Majewska. owocilpoS, a village near Grójec
A review of the performance Soplicowo – owocilpoS. Suplement directed by Piotr Cieplak (National Theatre, Warsaw, prem.: 9 Jun 2016). The author gives a precise description of the performance, which, referring to Pan Tadeusz (especially the polonaise dance in the finale) show a grotesque world after a nondescript catastrophe: „The action takes place in Poland, but one which is a small natural reserve difficult to place in space or time. Its inhabitants are animalistic, wild, primal”. The performance, presenting a critique of the nationalist-Catholic traditions in Poland, also contains a potential of sentimentalism that slightly weakens the message of the show, resulting from the “elements of beauty” breaking through the grotesque world.
Piotr Dobrowolski. Every man to himself
Piotr Dobrowolski writes abouth the 9th Spotkania Teatralne Bliscy Nieznajomi – Wspólnota (Teatr Polski, Poznań, 13-29 May 2016). In this year's edition Agata Siwiak, the artistic director of the festival, decided to link the theme of community to the slogan written on the facade of the theatre: “The Nation to itself”. The author writes about three sections into which the festival events were divided. The first one, “Community: Theatre”, featured the installation Post-Apocalypsis and the performances Aktorzy żydowscy (dir. Anna Smolar), Wycinka (dir. Krystian Lupa) and Drugi spektakl (dir. Anna Karasińska). The section entitled “Community: Places” featured Projekt DEKALOG, czyli Folwarczne Imaginarium (dir. Mikołaj Mikołajczyk), Swarka (reż. Katarzyna Szyngiera) and Michał Borczuch's Zostań, zostań. The last section, “Wspólnota: Kobiety” was divided into two parts exploring associations linked to femininity: “Community of the senses” and “House of women”. According to Dobrowolski, the value of this edition of the festival consists in the reflection on the nature of ephemerally forming communities.
Tomasz Kowalski. The spectator. Exercises in attention
In his accout of this year's edition of Malta Festival Poznań (17-28 Jun 2016), Tomasz Kowalski describes Extreme Voices by Miss Revolutionary Idol Berserker, The Extra People by Ant Hampton, Wasteland prepared by Compagnie Dakar and Lotte van den Berg, the diptych Sculpting Fear by Julian Hetzel and the project Building Conversation by Lotte van den Berg. Kowalski refers to the main theme of the festival (proposed by its curator, Lotte van den Berg) – the “paradox of the spectator”. He points out that the invited artists problematise the question of being a theatre spectator as well as an observer of society. The festival events activate the audience, force them to act, give them a status that is difficult to define or drown them in feelings of overwhelming helplessness and passivity.
Joanna Braun. Shadows, whispers, rustling
Joanna Braun writes about the 27th International Art of Puppetry Festival in Bielsko-Biała (18-22 May 2016). The author describes six out of eighteen performances participating in the contest (Whispers by the duo Cie Mossoux-Bonté, Vanya. A Tale about Vanya and the Russian Souldirected by Alexei Lelyavsky, The Nonexistent Knight directed by Fabrizio Montecchi, Ophelia's Shadow Theatre from Bábkové divadlo na Rázcestí, Banska Bistrica, Georges Méliès' Last Trick directed by Jiři Havelka, Gintare Radvilavči?te's Sandman). She points out the contents of the performances, the codependence of the actor and the puppet, the distinctive form and the puppet technique applied. She writes: “I am aware of the fact that describing the mainstream of the festival and its no less attractive sidelines, I am building and developing my own, personal narrative”.
Katarzyna Niedurny. Sad songs about dying
Katarzyna Niedurny writes about the 23rd International Theatre Festival Kontakt in Toruń (22-29 May 2016), focusing on two performances: The Iliad, directed by Jernej Lorenci the dance performance Vader by the Belgian group Peeping Tom. Niedurny emphasises the fact that the level of the two productions far surpassed the rest of the performances shown at the festival. The theme linking the two works is death. Writing about The Iliad, the author points out the arrangement of the stage space, the pivotal scenes of the performance and the ways of creating a feeling of community between the creators and the audience. The second performance described in the article tells the story of an elderly man who is trying to adapt to the life in a nursing home, and is built predominantly around the tension between laughter and pity.
Karolina Wycisk. A dance festival, or the dramaturgy of cooperation
Karolina Wycisk writes about the International Modern Dance Festival Kroki (Cracow, 13-22 May 2016). This year's edition was entitled “The body is (not) enough”. Wycisk looks at the dance performances presented at the festival through the focus of Martina Ruhsam's concept of the “dramaturgy of cooperation”, pointing out the process of creating the performance as a result of cooperation between numerous people with various competences. Wycisk considers Black Peace by Ward/waRD to be the most interesting performance of the festival. It was choreographed, directed and performed by Ann Van den Broek. In the conclusion, the author emphasises that engaging the viewers in the process of producing the performances is part of the festival's “dramaturgy of cooperation”.
Marcin Bogucki. Poulenc à la Sarah Kane
Marcin Bogucki writes about Maja Kleczewska's staging of Francis Poulenc's The Human Voice based on a libretto by Jean Cocteau (prem. 16 Apr 2016). The author presents the context of the opera's creation, describes its history on the Polish stage and analyses its musical and literary aspect. Bogucki notes that the director reads The Human Voice through the focus of the poetics and subjects of Sarah Kane's plays: she uses a dark tone and focuses on the psychological states of the protagonist. The reviewer criticises Kleczewska for depriving Poulenc's opera of irony and its “camp charm”.
Marcin Bogucki. Postcards from Distant Worlds
Marcin Bogucki reviews two performances directed by Mariusz Treliński at Teatr Wielki-Opera Narodowa: Richard Strauss' Salome (prem. 22 March 2016) and Richard Wagner's Tristan and Isolde (prem. 12 Jun 2016). He describes the similarities and differences between these two works and presents their historical context, claiming that the director has neglected it. He focuses on the strategies of making the operas more modern and concrete applied by the creators of the performances. Salome deals with the question of toxic family relationships and sexual molestation, while the title protagonist of Wagner's work is subjected to Freudian analysis. Bogucki is critical towards both stagings, at the same time praising the musical sphere, prepared by the conductor Stefan Soltesz.
Natalia Yakubova. MacMAT.ru
Natalia Yakubova reviews Macbeth, directed by Jan Klata at the Anton Chekhov Moscow Art Theatre (prem. 2 May 2016). Klata's performance is analysed within the context of the tradition and legend of MAT, as well as the way it functions nowadays, both in the audience reception and the level of performances shown there today. The author points out that Macbeth does not become only a field for spectacular feats performed by the actors and the director. The most important element of the author's analysis are the consequences of Klata's decision to cast men in the female roles. Yakubova thinks about the key question of Shakespeare's play: “What's he/ That was not born of woman?”. One of the text's notable contexts is Janet Adelman's article “Born of Woman: Fantasies of Maternal Power in Macbeth”.
Janusz Degler. Witkacy at war
For Janusz Degler, a review of Krzysztof Dubiński's book Wojna Witkacego, czyli kumboł w galifetach (Wydawnictwo Iskry, Warsaw 2015) becomes a pretext to present the course of Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz's service in the Tzar's army. The author shows the importance of the material contained in the book, which Dubiński gathered for 30 years – he points out how competently the book abolishes the myths and legends surrounding Witkacy's service, which had grown over the years. Degler praises the ability to include digressions in a detailed reconstruction of the events of the war – he thinks that even light anecdotes and information builds a multifaceted view of the colonel's life.
Anna R. Burzyńska. Kinetic modernity
A review of the two-volume work Wirus mobilizacji. Taniec a kształtowanie się nowoczesności (1455-1795) by Wojciech Klimczyk (Universitas, Kraków 2015), I which a chronological account of the changes in Europe between the end of the Middle Ages and the French Revolution becomes a history of kinesis, the body put into motion by culture and creating culture by its motion. Klimczyk observes how the changing approach towards the body, gender, culture and society influences the development and death of various forms of dance – he analyses not only dance and other forms of movement (including gestures and facial expressions), but also treaties on dance, musical pieces, and iconography (the book is richly illustrated).
Magdalena Hasiuk. More than a book
Magdalena Hasiuk writes about the book 21 myśli o teatrze (Fundacja Win-Win, Instytut im. J. Grotowskiego, Głogowo-Wrocław 2016), edited by Justyna Lipko-Konieczna and Ewelina Godlewska-Byliniak. The author describes a narrative functioning within the realms of language, image and matter, conducted through the focus of the experiences of disabled actors cooperating with Teatr 21. She points out the protagonists' reflections on performance arts - in her opinion, many of them could enter into creative dialogue with those of the great reformers of theatre. She also analyses the essay written by the editors of the book, which situates disability within philosophical, sociological and performative contexts.