Iza Szostak, National Affairs. Photo Bartosz Górka

Contemporary Polish performance scene

By Marcelina Obarska (translation Joanna Figiel)

The role of drama theatre in modern Poland cannot be stressed enough. It is not only the subject of debate focused on aesthetics, but also reflects ethical conflicts and resonates with social concerns, often arousing turbulent discussions and disputes. For some time now, the longstanding, dominant formula of theatre with a strong presence of the director-demiurge (typically male, less often female) has been giving way to an alternative vision of theatrical spectacle. (It is difficult to pinpoint a specific date, but one can consider the second decade of the twenty-first century as the period of significant change). Great masters of contemporary Polish theatre – Krystian Lupa and Krzysztof Warlikowski – remain faithful to their methods: by entering the discourse of outstanding masterpieces they create text-based epic performances with expressive parts and refer to the figures of History, Memory, and Identity. Many of the performances of directors such as Jan Klata, Maja Kleczewska or Grzegorz Jarzyna are also based on literature.

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