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Theatre for Neurotics

Keywords

Krzysztof Warlikowski Nowy Teatr TR Warszawa Polish theatre psychoanalysis Hamlet Jacek Poniedziałek Sigmund Freud Central Europe William Shakespeare Jacques Lacan Carl Gustav Jung postcommunism therapy Warsaw Sarah Kane Bernard-Marie Koltès neurosis Jerzy Grotowski Krystian Lupa Konrad Swinarski Milan Kundera

Article

Grzegorz Niziołek is a professor in the Theatre and Drama Department at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków. From 2004 to 2007, he was literary advisor at the Stary Teatr in Kraków, and he is currently Co-Artistic Director of the Festival Dialogu Czterech Kultur in Łódź. He is a founding editor of Didaskalia, and in 2009 began his second term as chief editor of the journal. He has authored monographs on the theatre of Krystian Lupa: Sobowtór i utopia (The Double and Utopia, 1997), Tadeusz Różewicz: Ciało i słowo. Szkice o teatrze Tadeusza Różewicza (Body and Word: Essays on the Theatre of Tadeusz Różewicz, 2004), and Krzysztof Warlikowski: Extra Ecclesiam (2008). His most recent book is Polski teatr Zagłady (Polish Theatre of the Holocaust, 2013).


Krzysztof Warlikowski is an artist who, over the course of the last decade in Poland, is among those who have stirred up the most contradictory reactions, whose work has been met with defiance or even outrage.[1]

This should not come as a surprise, since his theatre has served to focus on and reveal what in Polish culture and society is perceived as ‘other’ – as different or threatening. He was quickly dubbed a ‘provocateur’; however, it soon became apparent that Warlikowski did not wish to be identified with such a label. In his theatre, Warlikowski attempts to activate mechanisms of assimilation, of integration, and his desire is to achieve understanding rather than controversy – although his means of expression are undoubtedly uncompromising, at times transgressive. In this case, ‘understanding’ does not mean superficial acceptance, tolerance or any other gesture of this kind. For Warlikowski, this process means on the one hand the creation of one’s own theatrical language – broad yet penetrating – and on the other, an attempt to provoke a vigorous reception to the theatrical work, incorporating many different perspectives, attitudes, experiences, and debates. It implies a readiness to engage with a theatrical language that may at first seem strange and unfamiliar.

In subjective terms, in order to approach Warlikowski’s particular ‘vocabulary’ and methods, it has been useful to turn to psychoanalysis: to the strategies and rhetorical figures of the language of the unconscious, as elaborated by Freud and his successors. Freud was wont to suggest that in the psychoanalytic process, no matter how shocking the truth about a person may be, it will always pertain to an experience of shared suffering or to collective problems.[2] I can find no better way to describe the impact that Warlikowski’s theatre – which often focuses on the individual, singular case – has made on spectators, or to describe its social significance and resonances. However, with Warlikowski, the ‘psychoanalytic process’ develops spontaneously, erratically, and is full of excesses, ongoing compulsions, unexpected breakthroughs, deviating interpretations, and dead-ends; as such, this theatre requires a non-dogmatic, eclectic approach – ultimately any psychoanalytic reading of his work should remain at the level of metaphor.

From left to right: Gertrude, Claudius, and Hamlet in Warlikowski’s 1999 production. Photograph: Stefan Okołowicz.

From left to right: Gertrude, Claudius, and Hamlet in Warlikowski’s 1999 production. Photograph: Stefan Okołowicz.


A Point of Urgency

With his production of The Taming of the Shrew, at Warsaw’s Teatr Dramatyczny (Drama Theatre) in 1997/98, Warlikowski managed to initiate an ongoing, vigorous, and immediate relationship with Polish theatre audiences.[3] This particular performance became the subject of violent attacks from a number of critics and was promptly rejected as obscene by many theatregoers outraged at the inclusion of excerpts from a pornographic film, violent imagery, overt references to queer culture, and who were also displeased by Warlikowski’s feminist interpretation of Shakespeare’s play.[4] However, the performance also attracted a completely new kind of spectator to the repertory theatre: one who expects intellectual and emotional provocation, and a more critical attitude to contemporary social reality. From this point, Warlikowski went through a period of intensive activity; he prepared his performances in a very short time, in several different locations. From 1997 to 1998, Warlikowski directed nine plays, travelling between Warsaw, Radom, Poznań, Tel Aviv, Zagreb, and Milan. There were two productions of classical texts (Electra and The Phoenician Women) and four productions of Shakespeare (A Winter’s Tale, Hamlet, The Taming of the Shrew, and Pericles). There were two versions of Quay West by Bernard-Marie Koltès. There was Lawyer Kraykowski’s Dancer by Witold Gombrowicz.

On 9 February 2001 – one year after his staging of The Tempest in Stuttgart – Warlikowski’s production of Euripides’ The Bacchae premiered at TR Warszawa (also known as the Teatr Rozmaitości, or Warsaw Variety Theatre). In December 2001, Warlikowski finished work on Sarah Kane’s Cleansed, and on 4 January 2003, a new version of The Tempest premiered at TR. There is thus nearly a year between each major premiere.[5] Undoubtedly, the rhythm of Warlikowski’s work has changed. Now he works more restrainedly, almost exclusively in Poland (in Warsaw), searching for his own particular space and selecting texts with great care. He stages plays only after long consideration, maturing as a director in the process and working on texts that demand both courage and great skill. Over the past decade, a strong company of actors associated with the Rozmaitości gathered around him, including Stanisława Celińska, Magdalena Cielecka, Redbad Klijnstra, and Jacek Poniedziałek.[6] For these actors, their long-term collaboration with Warlikowski has become one of their most important personal and artistic experiences. As a result, the director’s process of working on a performance has also changed: it has become focused on work with the actors, in intimate spaces, almost according to studio principles. Creating a performance becomes an integrative experience for the director and the actors, as well as for other co-creators such as the set designer and the composer. This shift of emphasis, from aesthetic effect to the creative process, is one of the most distinctive features of studio and laboratory work in the theatre – although in this case it has emerged within the relatively strict confines of the Polish repertory system. Warlikowski succeeds not only in engaging the actors in the process of work on a performance, but in persuading them to participate personally in the creation of a collective statement with which they confront the audience. The period at TR Warszawa was perhaps the first time that Warlikowski had the chance to experience the strong, enduring bonds of a theatre ensemble; this is why social and interpersonal bonds have increasingly become the fundamental theme of his performances, which do not present a message but rather establish the foundations for an artistic act.

Since his debut at TR Warszawa (with Hamlet in 1999), Warlikowski has also gathered around him an audience that considers his theatre to be an important event, and not only for artistic reasons. Rather, one could speak here of experiences similar to initiation, epiphany, catharsis, and to processes of self-awareness stimulated by art, since, for Warlikowski, artistic activity approximates a therapeutic process during which internal conflicts, repression mechanisms, and neurotic compulsions are uncovered. All of this takes place in relation to a radical question about the kind of social space that promotes neurotic behaviours. For Warlikowski, the social space is a minefield, a place of scars, of painful and repressed experiences. Traumatic experiences are inherently subject to denial or entrenched within unreflective clichés – a revealing or ‘uncovering’ metaphor allows one to assimilate an old experience once more, endowing it with direct emotional value and inciting inner activity.[7] Within the therapeutic process, such an intervention is called a ‘point of urgency’: a linguistic metaphor suggested at the appropriate moment by the therapist, which triggers off a new stage in the patient’s process of self-awareness, a change in the organisation of her or his inner world.[8] The work on Warlikowski’s production of Hamlet consisted, in part, precisely in the destruction of interpretative clichés and the revitalisation of metaphors. In a case such as this, artistic activity means the mobilisation of creative forces, liberating energies, and purifying self-awareness. It also signifies the need to confront the audience, who may be unwilling to trace their own repression mechanisms, and who deny the evil and suffering revealed by the theatre – blaming the artists, in their cruelty, for wishing to unsettle them. Warlikowski seems to trust in certain premises of Freudian psychoanalysis, which ascribe universal meaning to neurotic symptoms and treat them as models with which to describe social, religious, and cultural processes.


Extra Ecclesiam

Warlikowski treated Hamlet as a family affair: he stripped away the context pertaining to the royal court and shifted the political elements into the background. ‘I had no ambition to stage Hamlet’, he explains. ‘There have been so many productions that I didn’t think I could add anything insightful. I wanted to touch people with Hamlet – to capture their extreme reactions and emotions’.[9] In very modest, studio conditions, with a dozen or so actors, there began a process of personal confrontation with the themes in Hamlet – with a focus on the familial and the mythical. The set design was minimalistic, consisting of a podium open to the audience on two sides. The props were reduced and the costumes simplified. The contemporary quality of Hamlet would manifest itself not through predetermined theses and interpretations, but through the reactions of the actors. As Warlikowski explains, ‘These dozen or so actors belong to the Polish reality, and so do I – theatre exists in a concrete world and time’.[10] This family history (an almost perfect illustration of the neurotic family affair described by Freud) would necessarily become a social, or even a political history.

This Hamlet was deprived of a strong father-figure: the Ghost was portrayed by a young man from the troupe of Players (Cezary Kosiński), and Claudius (Marek Kalita) remained under the influence of the stronger, and much older Gertrude (Stanisława Celińska). Hamlet inhabits a world in which fathers leave no legible mark, and in which he has to trust his own reflexes. The reactions to the performance – lively, impulsive, and polarised – suggested that Warlikowski’s assumptions were correct. As Freud claimed, the social drive is not primeval in its origins – it always takes shape within a family circle.[11] The social drive that appeared in Warlikowski’s Hamlet was based on the impulse to break with political grand narratives – it is aimed at the discovery of private spheres of freedom, within which the initial attempts to break religious, social and sexual taboos are made. This was Warlikowski’s implicit interpretation of the Polish situation in the late 1990s – of the first settling of accounts with a decade of political freedom and spontaneous desire for integration with the West.

Hamlet is deprived of a certain part of his motivation: he does not attempt to ‘set right’ the ‘time [that] is out of joint’, does not cultivate a fair and harmonious vision of the world, and thoughts of revenge do not even enter his mind. Rather, a hyperactive and cruel Hamlet outwardly manifests his phobias, fears, disgust, and moods – Jacek Poniedziałek played Hamlet using fragments of the text, and various images and situations, without ‘closing’ the character. And around him, a small cast of actors, varying greatly in expressivity, physiognomy, and tone. Rosencrantz and Guildernstern were played by women, Laertes was a boy, Ophelia was a beautiful, slightly androgynous woman, Horatio was of mixed race.[12] The vision of the world that surrounds and entraps Hamlet is clearly reflected in a cast that is unconventional for a Polish repertory production: after all, life is not populated by a homogenous group of characters. The emotional range of this performance extended between revulsion and a fervent desire to expose shared evil and misery.

From left to right: Hamlet, with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Photograph: Stefan Okołowicz.

From left to right: Hamlet, with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Photograph: Stefan Okołowicz.

According to Freud, Hamlet is the first modern drama to make a neurotic experience a source of pleasure for the audience. ‘Pleasure’ was defined by Freud as ‘the sense, which [people] so much desire, of a raising of the potential of their psychical state’.[13] Hamlet is theatre for neurotics. In the play, conflict emerges between two sources of suffering: one overt and one repressed. It is only for the neurotic that the revealing of a repressed impulse might become a source of pleasure – the non-neurotic experiences aversion and the desire to repeat the repression once more. The neurotic experiences pleasure at both liberation and resistance – this is why their experience of dramatic action that is based on conflict between the two is particularly felt. Warlikowski uncovered the neurotic foundations within the dramaturgy of Hamlet: he dismantled the structure of the play, changing it into a space of impulses, symptoms, and reflex reactions, with the text becoming a field of semantic disruptions, ‘micro-culminations’, underlying tensions, and therapeutic metaphors.

If we were to go as far as to claim that Warlikowski creates theatre for an audience of neurotics, we must also acknowledge just how broad and universal the phenomenon of neurotic suffering became in the twentieth century, and how closely connected it has been to transformations within the theatre.[14] Related to this phenomenon, Jung became concerned with stigmatisation deriving from psychoanalytic and psychiatric discourse: ‘it is neurotic talk when one says that this is a neurosis. As a matter of fact it is something quite different: it is the terrific fear of loneliness’.[15] Jung perceived contemporary Western European society as a mass of extremely lonely, frightened people, who, due to the transformations undergone by civilisation, have become detached from the symbolic sphere that governs people’s relations-to-self and relations with others. According to Jung, the atrophy of certain forms of religious life has left human beings with an untamed and disturbing sense of guilt: ‘Your soul has become lonely; it is extra ecclesiam and in a state of no-salvation’.[16] Paul Ricoeur also writes of ‘forgetting hierophanies, forgetting the signs of the Sacred, losing hold of man himself as belonging to the Sacred’.[17] But this sense of loss inspires the desire to regain a full and symbolic language. Jacques Lacan points out that, thanks to the discoveries of psychoanalysis – and particularly Freud’s conception of speech – the apparently lost, primary language of symbols turned out to be ‘still living on in the suffering of civilized man’.[18]

It would appear that the phrase extra ecclesiam is one of the keys to Warlikowski’s theatre. It opens up broad, nostalgic perspectives on the loss of spirituality (in Hamlet, one of the side walls around the central podium is constructed from wooden panels taken from a Jewish synagogue), as well as staging a passionate, political protest against forms of Polish Catholicism (the parody of a wedding scene in The Taming of the Shrew, or the female bishop in Hamlet). Noting the break-up of traditional forms of religious life, Jung proposed a difficult, Gnostic, alchemical approach to individuation. His vision of the task of individuation is full of optimism: firstly, it is based on common, transcultural and eternal symbols of transition, and secondly, it promises the attainability of a state of awareness, the perspective of a liberating self-knowledge. It is to Jung that Krystian Lupa’s theatre owes its optimism. Here, however, Warlikowski does not follow in his master’s footsteps; his is the way of Freud’s bitter pessimism and vision of an uncured trauma, the heroism of a constant rupture, the shedding of light on wounds inflicted in darkness. For Warlikowski, the world is no longer governed by the beautiful, archetypal dream of transformation, but by a phantasm – the individual myth of the neurotic.


The Bliss of Deracination

Warlikowski creates theatre for neurotics, in the same sense that Konrad Swinarski and Jerzy Grotowski did before him, and Krystian Lupa does today. Swinarski wanted to use Kazimierz Dąbrowski’s ‘Psychoneurotics’ Manifesto’ as the motto for his staging of Hamlet at the Stary Theatre,[19] while Grotowski wrote that he created his theatre for ‘a spectator in a state of spiritual development, who finds himself as if on a psychic curve, who is looking within a performance for a key to self-awareness’.[20] Lupa’s theatre has frequently recalled the experience of the individuation ‘catastrophe’, and the neurotic breakdown in identity of social personas that have been too hastily formed.

However, Warlikowski’s theatre has been shaped by different political conditions, within the post-1989 period of accelerated integration and confrontation with the West. During this time, Warlikowski has often travelled and worked abroad – particularly in German theatres. He has cut himself off from the so-called ‘worse Europe’ complex[21] commonly experienced in Poland, consistently building on his image as a disciple of some of the most outstanding directors in Europe (Ingmar Bergman, Peter Brook, Krystian Lupa, Giorgio Strehler), drawing on dramatic and theatrical source traditions (ancient Greece, Shakespeare) but omitting key influences within Polish culture (Polish Romanticism, Wyspiański), and reaching for the most provocative, contemporary, Western European dramaturgy (Koltès, Kane). He is not attracted to Mickiewicz’s Dziady (Forefathers’ Eve), nor to twentieth-century Polish literature, which is too caught up in political issues that, in his opinion, are now outdated. This is why he turns to the Greeks and to Shakespeare – the ‘pure and eternal’ masters of the theatre.[22] It is worth isolating and emphasising this ‘purity’ in particular: not only does it resonate with the aesthetics of Warlikowski’s theatre, by way of contrast, it also points towards the ‘dirty’ and ‘murky’ sphere that this theatre has so far attempted to avoid. His production of Hamlet in 1999 might in fact be considered a discrete accession to the ranks of supporters of the idea of the ‘end of history’, and the expression of his conviction that the current task of theatre consists in documenting the suffering within liberal-democratic societies, which seem to be almost exclusively occupied with the deconstruction of the ossified mental structures of the ‘patriarchal’ system and its oppressive cultural models.[23] At the end of the 1990s, Warlikowski sensed that it was precisely in this attitude that there was an opportunity to establish real contact with an audience: young, educated, free from any previous settling of scores. He has sent clear and direct signals regarding this matter.

The breakdown of a certain political dream nourished in Central Europe during the communist era – articulated most extensively by Milan Kundera in his famous essay ‘The Tragedy of Central Europe’ – remained for a long time an area that Warlikowski did not wish to confront.[24] However, this kind of thinking about the relationship between Central Europe and the West is actually very close to his own, and will help him promote his image in the West – especially in France – as an artist meditating on the spiritual dimension lost to European culture. What connects Warlikowski to Kundera’s reflections is a mistrust of History, its perception as a zone of trauma (hence Kundera’s reference to the ‘Stolen West’), the nostalgia of an attachment to lost values, a retreat towards the private, and a fear of unrequited love for the West.[25] Although he is of the generation that reached adulthood during the aftermath of August 1980,[26] Warlikowski categorically dissociated himself from the experiences of the Polish ‘martial law generation’,[27] who revived stereotypical Romantic attitudes pertaining to Polish martyrology that are deeply ingrained in the national culture.[28] Rather, with his stance, he joined those critical voices from the West which stressed that no new ideas emerged from Central and Eastern Europe after 1989. At the same time, he liked to emphasise his identification with Western culture, displaying a haughty disdain for the Polish context and for local disputes.[29] It is interesting and significant that the only ostensibly ‘Polish’ theme developed in his production of Hamlet was a certain tendency to infringe on the privacy of others: as Warlikowski contends, ‘[in] Poland, more than anywhere else, people often intrude in the lives of others and rummage around with dirty hands’.[30]

Hamlet (Jacek Poniedziałek). Photograph: Stefan Okołowicz.

Hamlet (Jacek Poniedziałek). Photograph: Stefan Okołowicz.

In working on Hamlet, Warlikowski moves within the peripheries of an extensive historical trauma, and – somewhat provocatively – ignores it. This results in tensions around his theatre; he deliberately makes use of the repression mechanisms related to certain themes, exploiting new areas of freedom that have been created by the break-up of the traditional paradigms of Polish culture. The radicalism of his attitude allows him to reckon with the resulting dangers – including those previously identified in the work of Maria Janion and other scholars and commentators.[31] The fear of being uprooted, which most often fuels conservative and right-wing agendas, is transformed into its opposite within Warlikowski’s theatre, becoming a fascination with the condition of uprootedness as a way of finding oneself in a new world. As Warlikowski explains: ‘I am in favour of learning from the West. We [the Poles] should observe very carefully what is going on there in order to find our way in the contemporary world – in which we are often completely lost’.[32] Deracination is a radical proposition: it frees us from sentimentalism, sharpens our perception of our own culture, and provokes a merciless confrontation with the audience. It lays bare many areas of hypocrisy, but also activates those repression mechanisms that, sooner or later, Warlikowski must confront. For now – consciously or not – they serve as a hidden source of energy for his artistic endeavours. He also makes it possible to perceive many of the areas of difficulty that are still put down in Poland to ‘Western indulgence’ and the ‘perversions of prosperity’.

In discussing his work on Hamlet, Warlikowski often stresses the need to search for myth, for the roots of evil, pointing out the links between Shakespeare’s play, Greek tragedy, and the Bible.[33] He attempted to address the question of evil – of ‘values’ – independently of political debate, especially the kind of debate that assumed and provoked a clash between ‘values’ and modernity, tradition and progress, right and left. This is perhaps the reason for his studied avoidance of Polish literature, which – almost without exception – is marked by such conflicts. He attempted to confront religious experience with pre-Christian origins – particularly Judaism and the theology of Greek tragedy – in order to escape the conflation of political and national issues with religious questions, as has traditionally been the case in Polish culture. It was with Hamlet that Warlikowski outlined his artistic project for years to come.


Translated from Polish by Duncan Jamieson, Adela Karsznia, and Małgorzata Rogalińska. 



Notes

  1. ^ This text is a revised and edited extract from Grzegorz Niziołek’s book on Warlikowski’s theatre: Extra ecclesiam (Kraków: Wydawnictwo Homini, 2008). Part of this text was also published as ‘Extra ecclesiam’ in Didaskalia, 77 (2007), 6-7. Eds.
  2. ^ See, for example, Sigmund Freud, Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego, trans. by James Strachey (New York: Norton, 1959), passim. As an example of the development of this link between collective and individual suffering in the work of Freud’s successors, see also C. G. Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections, ed. by Aniela Jaffé, trans. by Richard and Clara Winston (New York: Random House, 1989); although there are significant differences in their respective approaches to the individual and the collective, Jung contends, for example, that ‘A collective problem, if not recognized as such, always appears as a personal problem’ (p. 233).
  3. ^ This took place, for example, through the repeated breaking of the division between the stage and auditorium, through the conscious elaboration of distinct rhythms for the productions, and through Warlikowski’s repeated instructions to the actors to confront the spectators directly (by fully committing to the presentation of the controversial thematic elements of each production, and through elements of the staging – such as collectively facing out to the audience and making eye contact at certain moments in the performances).
  4. ^ For more on this controversy, see Monika Żółkoś, ‘Body, Word, Memory: The actor in Krzysztof Warlikowski’s theatre’ elsewhere in this volume (pp. 134-148 of the print edition). Eds.
  5. ^ It should be noted that from 2001 to 2003 – between The Bacchae, Cleansed, and the second version of The Tempest – Warlikowski also staged three smaller productions: two studio operas and an adaptation of In Search of Lost Time in Bonn, rehearsed in nine weeks.
  6. ^ For further details of this ensemble, see the annotated chronology elsewhere in this issue, pp. 181-197. Eds.
  7. ^ See Murray Cox and Alice Theilgaard, Mutative Metaphors in Psychotherapy: The Aeolian Mode (London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 1997), especially pp. 36-37 and p. 58.
  8. ^ This term derives from James Strachey, ‘The Nature of the Therapeutic Action of Psycho-Analysis’, International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 15 (1934), 127-59, and is discussed in Cox and Theilgaard’s, Mutative Metaphors in Psychotherapy in connection with their concept of Aeolian therapy. Eds.
  9. ^ See ‘Original Sin’, elsewhere in this volume (pp. 63-73 of the print edition).
  10. ^ Original Sin’ (p. 64).
  11. ^ See, for example, Freud’s Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego, passim.
  12. ^ In this initial version of Warlikowski’s 1999 Hamlet, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern were played by Maria Seweryn and Jolanta Fraszyńska, Laertes by Adam Woronowicz, Ophelia by Magdalena Cielecka, and Horatio by Omar Sangare. Eds.
  13. ^ Sigmund Freud, ‘Psychopathic Characters on the Stage’, trans. by James Strachey, in Freud, Writings on Art and Literature (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1997), pp. 87-93 (p. 87).
  14. ^ It is enough here to recall the central figure of this tradition – Antonin Artaud: ‘The theater is the only place in the world, the last general means we still possess of directly affecting the organism in periods of neurosis and petty sensuality like the one in which we are immersed, of attacking this sensuality by physical means it cannot withstand’. See Antonin Artaud, ‘No More Masterpieces’, in Artaud, The Theater and its Double, trans. by Mary C. Richards (New York: Grove Press, 1994), pp. 74-83 (p. 81). This theme is raised by Leszek Kolankiewicz in Święty Artaud (Saint Artaud) (Gdańsk: słowo/obraz terytoria, 2001), particularly in the chapter ‘Rewolucja obłędu’ (The Revolution of Madness), pp. 69-114.
  15. ^ C. G. Jung, ‘The Symbolic Life’, in Jung, The Symbolic Life: Miscellaneous Writings, trans. by R. F. C. Hull, The Collected Works of Jung Vol. 18, ed. by Herbert Read, Michael Fordham, and Gerhard Adler (London: Routledge, 1977), pp. 267-80 (p. 276).
  16. ^ Ibid., p. 276.
  17. ^ Paul Ricoeur, ‘The Hermeneutics of Symbols and Philosophical Reflection: I’, trans. by Denis Savage, in Ricoeur, The Conflict of Interpretations: Essays in Hermeneutics, ed. by Don Ihde (London & New York: Continuum, 2004), pp. 284-312 (p. 285).
  18. ^ Jacques Lacan, ‘The Function and Field of Speech and Language in Psychoanalysis’, in Lacan, Écrits: a selection, trans. by Alan Sheridan (London: Routledge Classics, 2001), p. 52.
  19. ^ See Józef Opalski, Rozmowy o Konradzie Swinarskim i „Hamlecie” (Conversations on Konrad Swinarski and Hamlet) (Kraków: Wydawnictwo Literackie, 1988), pp. 191-192. The ‘Psychoneurotics’ Manifesto’ from the Second International Congress on Positive Disintegration (1972) is reproduced in its entirety in: Kazimierz Dąbrowski, Psychoneurosis Is Not An Illness: neuroses and psychoneuroses from the perspective of positive disintegration (London: Gryf Publications, 1972), p. xvi, and below:

    Be greeted psychoneurotics!
    For you see sensitivity in the insensitivity of the world,
    uncertainty among the world’s certainties.
    For you often feel others as you feel yourselves.
    For you feel the anxiety of the world, and
    its bottomless narrowness and self-assurance.
    For your phobia of washing your hands from the dirt of the world,
    for your fear of being locked in the world’s limitations,
    for your fear of the absurdity of existence.
    For your subtlety in not telling others what you see in them.
    For your awkwardness in dealing with practical things, and
    for your practicalness in dealing with unknown things,
    for your transcendental realism and lack of everyday realism,
    for your exclusiveness and fear of losing close friends,
    for your creativity and ecstasy,
    for your maladjustments to ‘that which is’ and adjustment to that which ‘ought to be’,
    for your great but unutilized abilities.
    For the belated appreciation of the real value of your greatness
    which never allows the appreciation of the greatness
    of those who will come after you.
    For your being treated instead of treating others,
    for your heavenly power being forever pushed down by brutal force;
    for that which is prescient, unsaid, infinite in you.
    For the loneliness and strangeness of your ways.
    Be greeted!
  20. ^ Jerzy Grotowski, ‘Aktor ogołocony’ (The Actor Laid Bare), in Grotowski, Teksty z lat 1965-1969 (Texts from the Years 1965-1969), ed. by Janusz Degler and Zbigniew Osiński (Wrocław: Wiedza o kulturze, 1990), pp. 22-32 (p. 30).
  21. ^ This ‘complex’ emerged as a result of political changes taking place after the fall of communism in 1989. These developments precipitated the collapse of the distinct, assertive identity and conception of history that constituted what is known as the ‘myth of Central Europe’, which had previously provided the societies of that region with a sense of self-confidence in relation to the West. A conflict also emerged between the desire to integrate with the Western countries, and the political and economic barriers that slowed down and limited the process of integration. See Grzegorz Dziamski, ‘Hybrydyczna tożsamość Europy Środkowej po 1989 roku’ (The Hybrid Identity of Central Europe after 1989) in Dylematy wielokulturowości, ed. by Wojciech Kalaga (Kraków: Universitas, 2004), pp. 162-176.
  22. ^ ‘Lunatyk teatru’ (The Theatre’s Sleepwalker), interview with Krzysztof Warlikowski, in Piotr Gruszczyński, Ojcobójcy: młodsi zdolniejsi w teatrze polskim (The Father-Killers: the ‘younger, more talented’ generation of Polish theatre) (Warsaw: Wydawnictwo W. A. B., 2003), pp. 145-153, (p. 147). (The subtitle of Gruszczyński’s volume refers, as Tom Sellar explains, to: ‘The so-called Kraków School of directors [that] has sometimes also been dubbed the “younger, more talented” generation by critics—a tongue-in-cheek analogy with the “young, talented” directors who sprung up in the late 1960s (most notably Jerzy Grzegorzewski), though there are few aesthetic parallels. They follow Lupa in their free blend of theatrical aesthetics, their appetite for adapting the most difficult literature available, and their commitment to rigorous acting attuned to spiritual dimensions’. See Tom Sellar, ‘Poland’s Old and New Masters’, Theater, 33.3 (2003), 2-19 (p. 15). Eds.)
  23. ^ See Francis Fukuyama, The End of History and the Last Man (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2006; 2nd edn).
  24. ^ Milan Kundera, ‘The Tragedy of Central Europe’, trans. by Edmund White, The New York Review of Books, 31.7 (26 April 1984), 33-38.
  25. ^ The full title of Kundera’s essay, as published in Czech and elsewhere is ‘Únos západu aneb Tragédie střední Evropy’ (The Stolen West or The Tragedy of Central Europe). Eds.
  26. ^ During this period, Solidarność – the Solidarity movement – was born following a series of strikes in the Gdańsk shipyards.
  27. ^ For example: ‘My friends from secondary school were arrested for distributing leaflets, but I never got involved – I was absorbed in studying and reading’ (‘Lunatyk teatru’, p. 147); ‘During the period of martial law, my friends were plotting while I was sitting in the prohibited books section, reading the whole library of the Instytut Literacki: Gombrowicz, Miłosz…’ (Roman Pawłowski, ‘Burza we mnie’ (The Tempest Within Me), conversation with Krzysztof Warlikowski, Gazeta Wyborcza, 55 (2003), Duży Format supplement no. 10.
  28. ^ Kundera’s essay may also be read as a blow to Romantic myths – both national and Slavonic. According to Kundera, the roots of Central European cultural identity are those of the universal models of Latin culture.
  29. ^ ‘For me, the Bible is the foundation for thinking about Poland. My life only became interesting when I reached secondary school. In our first year, our history teacher would test us on the map of Ancient Greece. Thanks to him, in spite of the situation at that time, we also got to know about Jewish history. My fascination with the ancient world emerged during my studies. At the Jagiellonian University, they taught us that belonging to Mediterrannean culture frees us from the Eastern yoke. Shakespeare became my master. I value his uncompromising attitude and the need to refer to the whole world, rather than to fragments of reality. On the other hand, the memory of the Holocaust shapes my thinking about the contemporary [world]…’. Krzysztof Mieszkowski, ‘Do jutra’ (Until Tomorrow), conversation with Krzysztof Warlikowski, Notatnik Teatralny, 28-29 (2003), 228-239, (p. 230).
  30. ^ Original Sin’ (p. 73).
  31. ^ See Maria Janion, ‘Romantyzm blaknący’ (Fading Romanticism), Dialog, 1-2 (1993), 146-154. Janion noted the ‘feeling of impunity and helplessness resulting from the collapse of the previous system of Polish culture, before our eyes’. She also questioned whether Polish culture, having been ‘stabbed in the belly’, would remain of interest to other cultures, particularly those of the other nations of Central Europe.
  32. ^ ‘Lunatyk teatru’, p. 149.
  33. ^ See ‘Original Sin’ (p. 64).

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