“Didaskalia. Gazeta Teatralna” – English Issue 2023

25 January, 2024 by Monika Kwaśniewska-Mikuła | 0 comments

“Didaskalia. Gazeta Teatralna” – English Issue 2023

We invite you to read the newest English-language issue of “Didaskalia. Gazeta Teatralna”: https://didaskalia.pl/en/issue/english-issue-2023.

Didaskalia. Gazeta Teatralna” introduces critical reflection of phenomena from various areas of theatre and art. In addition to the premiers of dramatic theatre, we regularly discuss events in the fields of dance, performance, visual arts and opera. Information about current life in theatre is intertwined with reflection on the history and tradition of theatre and performing arts as mutually illuminating and explaining spaces. The events of current theatre life are inscribed in the wider context of contemporary humanistic thought. An important element of the journal are sections dedicated to selected theoretical, political and philosophical issues, which broaden the field of interpretation of theatre and its presence in social life.


In “Didaskalia. Gazeta Teatralna” you find articles mainly in Polish but since 2020 we present one issue with selected and translated articles in English only. In 2023 we present peer reviewed articles on following subjects:   

Reconstructions, Dance As Memory Machine, Hacking Patriarchy, Masculinities: Mapping The Field, Exercises In Access Intimacy


Please, find more issues on: https://didaskalia.pl/en


Justyna Kowal
Jakub Skrzywanek’s Theatrical Reenactments

The main purpose of the article is to examine the reconstruction method as one of the most important features of Jakub Skrzywanek’s theatrical language. His own model of reconstruction of reality, placed against the background of Rebecca Schneider’s theory of reenactment, appears to be a tool for social intervention. An analysis of Skrzywanek's performances that use reconstruction – Opowieści niemoralne (Immoral Tales), Spartakus. Miłość w czasie zarazy (Spartacus. Love in the Time of Plague) and Midsummer Night’s Dream (co-directed with Justyna Sobczyk) – confirms the thesis of the political nature of reenactment and shows an evolution of the method of reconstruction as well as the various strategies for replicating reality employed by the director. The article also attempts to find common featuresand – to chart a certain poetics of reconstruction. This reconstruction consists of the use of archival documents in the performance, collaboration with groups of experts and specialists, exposing the corporeality of the archives, affective influence, Brecht's V-effect and framing stage action with media and text indicators. The method of reconstruction, additionally equipped with a strong exposure of meta-theatricality and the entanglement of theatre in media negotiations, finds its most perfect development in Skrzywanek’s latest premiere, Zbrodnia i kara. Z powodu zbrodni Rosjan, których nie potrafimy zrozumieć (Crime and Punishment. Because of the Russian Crimes that We Cannot Understand).


Marcelina Obarska. ‘Ladies Are Looking for Problems’. An Attempt to Reconstruct Marcelina Grabowska’s Drama ‘Children Do Not Want to Live’ and Its Staging and Reception within the Framework of Creating a Feminist Archive

The paper is an attempt to reconstruct the content of the drama Dzieci nie chcą żyć (Children Don’t Want to Live) by Marcelina Grabowska as well as its staging and reception. Using the methodology from the field of philosophy of history (Benjamin), theory of performance (Rebecca Schneider) and anthropology of memory (Michel-Rolph Trouillot), the authoress analyses the collected archival material. She thus problematizes the notion of a silent archive and an archival gap. The archives concerning probably the first and only staging of Grabowska’s play (May 1938) and the sociopolitical reality turn out to be the subject of reflection upon the materiality of history and recurrence of time. The crisis of psychological support for children and adolescents of the 1930s comes into dialogue with the (re)current appearance of this issue that happened during the pandemic. The paper contributes to the feminist archive production as a consciously political and architectural gesture that supports non-hegemonic narratives of the history of Polish theatre.



Joanna Szymajda
Contemporary African Dance as a Decolonizing Practice

This article takes a closer look at the processes of reappropriation of the aesthetic field within which the phenomenon known as ‘contemporary African dance’ was shaped in the second half of the 20th century, mainly for the use of Western audiences. Using the context of the generally outlined political and economic conditions of production, and based on examples of performances that illuminate the basic concepts of postcolonial theories (e.g. H.K. Bhabha, E.W. Said and R. Bharucha), the text outlines the main historical and aesthetic lines of the formation of the term ‘contemporary African dance’ and its possible designations, evoking the artistic attitudes and formal procedures employed by artists of different generations in the process of reclaiming and transforming the aesthetic field that this term defines.


Tango as Memory Machine

The article looks at the history of Argentine tango in Poland using the tools of song studies and memory studies. The author makes reference to Marvin Carlson’s concept and treats tango as a memory machine; in her opinion, pre-war Polish tango allows to tell an important fragment of the history of Poland and Central Europe. Focusing on selected songs, she shows how their history (and the fates of their creators) is entangled in various cultural, social and political contexts. The author constructs the narrative by choosing one tango, Plegaria by the Argentinian musician Eduardo Bianco, which was chosen for his debut at the Qui Pro Quo theatre by the Dana Choir. According to a legend, this tango was to be the ‘tango of death’ from the Janowska concentration camp, the inspiration for Paul Celan’s Todesfuge (Death Fugue). Other Polish songs of the time are also recalled (e.g. the tango Wanda, alluding to the activities of the Zwi Migdal organisation, the foxtrot Gdy Petersburski razem z Goldem gra(When Petersburski and Gold Play Together), or the Polish version of La Cumparsita with lyrics by Andrzej Włast) and their composers (Jerzy Petersburski, the brothers Artur and Henryk Gold, Henryk Wars and Dawid Bajgelman), lyricists (Andrzej Włast and Emanuel Schlechter) and performers (Mieczysław Fogg, Adam Aston and Wiera Gran). Many tango artists in Poland had Jewish roots and perished during the war, which means that the genre itself became entangled here in the history of the Holocaust.



Anorexics as Homo Necroperformers. Affective agents

The article is a proposal to look at anorexics as performers and an interpretation of the spectacle they make of their own bodies in the context of homo necroperformance in which the subversive and affective causality of the liminal subject (half-living being) and emaciated bodies becomes important. The article places the problems of the representation of a certain kind of disorder in the field of cultural experience. The article is an excerpt from a master’s thesis written under the supervision of Professor Katarzyna Fazan.

. Hacking Patriarchy. Post-cyberfeminism in the Work of Florentina Holzinger

The aim of the article is to analyse two performances by the Austrian choreographer Florentina Holzinger – TANZ and Ophelia’s Got Talent based on post-cyberfeminist manifestos and Paul B. Preciado’s book Testo Junkie. The artist and the researchers deal with the relationship between body and technology. Through technology they deconstruct body, sexual identity and gender. The author of the article attempts to name the research and artistic strategies used by the aforementioned authors.



. Reconfigurations of Masculinity in Recent Polish Theatre

Based on selected performance pieces (including Autobiografia na wszelki wypadek [Autobiography Just in Case] by Michał Buszewicz, Woyzeck by Grzegorz Jaremko, Chcieliśmy porozmawiać o męskości, ale zostaliśmy przyjaciółmi [We Wanted to Talk about Masculinity, but We Became Friends] by the Grupa Performatywna Chłopaki, Bromance by Michał Przybyła and Dominik Więcek, Halka by Anna Smolar and Ojcowie [Fathers] by Błażej Biegasiewicz), the author analyzes transformations in the ways of representing masculinities in recent Polish theatre. In her opinion, it has been possible for the past few years to notice both a marked increase in interest in thematizing male emotionality, fragility, caring, tenderness or intimacy in Polish theatre and a radicalization of angry patriarchal masculinity, especially among those who reject the perspectives of institutional criticism or the #metoo movement. In this article, however, the author focuses solely on outlining the historical conditions that constituted patriarchal masculinity with all its qualities and on analyzing feminist-formed masculinities in Polish theatre using methodologies developed by feminist theorists (bell hooks and Karla Elliott) and by researchers associated with the field of critical studies of men and masculinities (Michael Kimmel, Raewyn Connell, Jason Wilson, Erik Anderson and Paco Abril).


The Male Dancer and His Role in Theatrical Performances of the 16th-18th centuries

The beginning of the 19th century brought the absolute domination by women of the ballet stage (although they had to face the challenge of mastering the language of dance created by men and originally intended for them on the professional stage). The process of feminisation, also in this ‘symbolic’ aspect to which theatre dance had been subjected since the 19th century, directed the research of dance theorists towards the so-called “problem of the male dancer” (Burt, 2007). However, the complexities of the code of masculinity can be traced through all stages of the development of choreographic forms, i.e. from the dance intermedia of the Renaissance to the autonomous, in terms of content, action ballets of the Enlightenment (referring, inter alia, to the images of androgynous figures of the burlesque ballets of the time of Louis XIII, or the phenomenon of cross-casting of court ballets of the Sun King era).



Social Dances for Seniors: Choreographies Susceptible to Fragility

The article discusses selected strategies of theatrical collaboration with male and female seniors with no stage experience where the aim is not only to encourage health-promoting behaviours in a group with difficult access to culture, but also to produce events of high artistic value that might be included in the professional theatrical circulation. The author describes two productions – Barbara Bujakowska’s The Voice of Seniors and Daria Kubisiak’s Przyjaciółka (Friend) in which senior people are empowered and share in the creative process together with professional artists. The article also draws attention to the dangers associated with tokenistic, i.e. apparent, inclusion and emotional exploitation of other bodies, and points to possible alternatives to the narratives that infantilize older people. Referring to Judith Butler’s reflections on frail bodies, the author analyzes theatrical practices of care and concern. The article argues that stage emanations of the frailty of old bodies disenchant the stereotype of old age as a time of radically limited possibilities.

Co-being in Walking – Exercises in Access Intimacy

The main topic of the article is walking performances by artists with disabilities (Carmen Papalia and Noëmi Lakmaier). The author pays particular attention to Katarzyna Żeglicka’s performance Weź się przesuń! (C’mon, Make Over!) presented at the Arsenał Gallery in Poznań in 2022, a walking relay that took place in the space of the exhibition Politics of (In)Accessibilities: Citizens with Disabilities & Their Allies. In her reflections, the author refers to the concept of access intimacy developed by Mia Mingus, Carmen Papalia’s idea of open occess and Sunaura Taylor’s and Judith Butler’s reflections on the interdependence of walking.

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