ISSN 2451-2966


Monika Kwaśniewska

The Actor in the Deadlock of Contemporary Folwark Relations

The Undivine Comedy. I'M GONNA TELL GOD EVERYTHING!, by Paweł Demirski, directed by Monika Strzępka, premiere 20.12.2014, Stary Theatre in Kraków. Photographer: Magda Hueckel.

The Undivine Comedy. I'M GONNA TELL GOD EVERYTHING!, by Paweł Demirski, directed by Monika Strzępka, premiere 20.12.2014, Stary Theatre in Kraków. Photographer: Magda Hueckel.

Read Abstract

The author analyses the situation of actors in contemporary Polish theatre. Drawing from statements of artists, theatre researchers and critics, she claims that it is governed by folwark relationships (the theoretical foundation is taken from Andrzej Leder writings). The power is accumulated in the hands of theatre director (within the institution) and production director (in the creative dimension), while actors are reduced to performers. She reflects upon the possibility of breaking this system through analysis of interrelated projects: Nie-Boska komedia. Szczątki  [The Un-Divine Comedy: Remains], a production cancelled before its premiere at the National Stary Theatre in 2013 by Jan Klata, then the Stary Theatre's director, Nie-boska. Wyznanie [The Un-Divine: Confession], a performance created in Kraków in 2015 within the POP-UP alternative curatorial project, and nie-boska komedia. WSZYSTKO POWIEM BOGU! [The Un-Divine Comedy: I’M GONNA TELL GOD EVERYTHING!], which premiered in 2014 at the Stary Theatre. In the second part, the author analyses the course and meaning of the protests organized by the actors from the Polski Theatre in Wrocław against appointing Cezary Morawski as the director of this institution. Based on these analysis, she claims that alternative models of organizing theatre production are not the solution for objectification of actors, because these models usually copy institutional patterns. The change should come from the fundamental and common modification of thinking about actors as artists, co-creators of artistic and public discourses. Actors themselves should demand this change. 

Censorship as the Formative Mechanism of Neoliberal Culture?: The Productive Function of Prohibition

'The actor is for acting like the ass is for shitting' – this famous 'saying' by Kazimierz Dejmek, a great director and director of company theatres during the Communist era in Poland then minister of culture after the political transformation, has been repeated ad nauseum in Poland for many years, in various circumstances and by different people, including actors. Which is no surprise, since according to some graduates that belief is maintained in theatre schools:

theatre school doesn't teach actors to feel as subjects in theatre companies. I wasn't prepared for having my own input into a theatre project. Instead, I was taught to be quiet and do what the director says, because the director is always right.1

Repertory theatres have continued with this approach: the overproduction of actors, often perceived as a real and growing problem, and the resulting super-saturation of the labour market2 make a full-time theatre job seem an unattainable dream, while for those who do manage to achieve it, every attempt to rebel is suppressed by fear: 'there are a hundred willing young actresses waiting for my place'. It is possible, of course, to operate as a freelancer, but for actors, it's also extremely risky, because it may force them to compromise even more than being a full-time employee. It's commonly knowledge that directors prefer not to hire guest actors.

Also, economic aspects play an important role. Actors in institutional theatres usually receive a small basic salary then remuneration for roles in specific productions. This pay for performances becomes an instrument of manipulation. Pay for guest actors is higher, but one the other hand, that's precisely the reason they aren't willingly hired. This dependence on a full-time job (and the resulting financial dependence) becomes one of the principal instruments of humiliation and enslavement of actors.

A recently published research report, 'Artysto scen polskich powiedz nam, z czego żyjesz?...' ['Polish Artist, Tell Us What You Do for a Living?...'],based on a questionnaire survey conducted among 376 respondents (including 327 actors and 49 theatre staffrespondents who performed non-acting duties in theatres)3 explicitly demonstrates that these are actual problems. The report shows that institutional theatre is an area where the predominant mode of relations is governed by what philosopher of culture Andrzej Leder has described as folwark relations, where the director of the theatre or at times the director of a production plays the role of master while actors have the role of serfs.4 (The term folwark translates as 'farm' or 'manor'.) Leder writes about the system of antagonism, power and violence exercised by the master over a far weaker subordinate. Though this model was prevalent in eras which for us are historic, it still reigns in many private and public social spaces. According to Leder, however, nowadays this relationship has become modified. The power no longer depends on descent, but primarily on social function and position. Furthermore, the evident advantage of one side over the other is usually better concealed than in the past:

In places where this type of relations is predominant there are very few open conflicts resolved according to certain rules. These conflicts are concealed, often under the appearance of harmony.

Within folwark relations, Leder writes:

even if the two sides of the relation share some common desires or interests, they are pushed to the background in the face of the essence of this relation, namely the trial of strength. Taking into account the level of disproportion between the parties, it is a very particular trial, taking place in the circumstances of the sense of extreme inequality. The stake and reward for the stronger party is to confirm itself in its sense of superiority. It is possible only as a result of humiliating the weaker party and being recognised by it. Recognised as having the higher status. Moreover, this higher status is about more than just recognising that someone has more, let's say, capital. It is about the position which can be described as 'generic', about the sense of being essentially 'better'.

This description illustrates relations between director and actors precisely, and also points out to the illusory nature of regarding theatre as a community of people aiming at one objective.

The folwark system of Polish repertory theatres is closely related to the dominant model of so-called director's theatre, in which, as described by Agnieszka Jakimiak, a young playwright and director often working with collectives: 'the members of the acting ensemble are supposed to present the idea or vision of the director, represent the director's assumptions and thoughts, and subject themselves to the director's attitude towards the problem'.5 Furthermore, while directors, scenographers, musicians and playwrights working without full-time employment complain about the lack of social security, pension and regular income, their pay scale is usually much higher than actor salaries6 (who, significantly, aren't remunerated for rehearsals) and their lack of permanent contracts enables them to develop projects in various places and institutions, often with a similar team. Actors don't enjoy such freedom. Though some migrate with "their directors" around Poland (and beyond, since they are sometimes invited to work in foreign productions), most sooner or later settle somewhere for good. This "migrating" mode of work causes actors much trouble with coordinating their calendars. Directors are unwilling to give them permission for guest performances, and since 2011 artistic employees of public institutions have been required to obtain such permission from their directors if they want to work outside their original place of employment.7

This is only a panoramic overview, but from this perspective critic Joanna Krakowska's remark that directors working in repertory theatres who'd prefer to treat actors as subjects and provide them opportunities to speak from the stage on their own behalf often face rejection, comes as no surprise.The offer of subjectivity is not attractive to everyone, lack of roles takes away the sense of security and some [actors] regard questions about their own opinion as oppressive.8

After all, in the folwark system, as Leder remarks, the dominated side is characterised by such traits as: 'the inveterate inability to care about oneself and one's world', fear, exhaustion, 'aversion [...] various ways of self-humiliation and prostitution in the literal and metaphorical meanings' – how else can we interpret the fact that actors keep repeating Dejmek's words? – a certain social autism, tendency towards submissive (though contemptuous) silence. Such silence usually determines the positions of actors within their institutions, the creative process and – also important – within discursive space generated around the theatre and production. Characteristically, even those actors who care about their independence, subjectivity and taking responsibility for their actions within the theatre are unwilling to talk publicly about their work. They prefer to leave commentary to their theatre directors, directors of productions and playwrights.9 By doing so, though, they legitimise their own positions as passive performers. It's my impression that not many people actually want to take a stand. This may be motivated as well by fear of what that stand might be...

To reflect on the range of this system and possibilities of overcoming it, I shall begin by analysing three interrelated projects. As research material, I shall use three theatre productions, but will focus on two: Nie-Boska komedia. Szczątki [The Un-Divine Comedy: Remains], a production cancelled before its premiere at the National Stary Theatre in 2013 by Jan Klata, then the Stary Theatre's director,10 and Nie-boska. Wyznanie [The Un-Divine: Confession], a performance created in Kraków in 2015 within the POP-UP curatorial project, defined as an alternative to the repertory theatre system. The Un-Divine: Confession was intended as commentary or response from the creative team to the situation at the Stary Theatre two years before.

THE UNDIVINE. CONFESSION, directed by Oliver Frljić, dramaturgy: Goran Injac, Agnieszka Jakimiak, Joanna Wichowska, supervising producer: Marta Michalak, produced by Agencja Artystyczna GAP & Fundacja Gospodarki i Administracji Publicznej (Economy and Public Administration Foundation), Photographer: Łukasz Popielarczyk.

The two productions engaged a similar team – Oliver Frljić, Joanna Wichowska, Agnieszka Jakimiak, Goran Injac – but their roles varied. In the Stary Theatre production, Frljić was director and the remaining members were described as playwrights. The POP-UP production had collective authorship. The scenographer for the Stary Theatre production, Anna Maria Kaczmarska, did not participate in the second project. More important, from my perspective, is that the cast changed entirely. The Stary Theatre actors, including those who remained engaged in that production until its cancellation – Juliusz Chrząstowski, Zygmunt Józefczak, Urszula Kiebzak, Ewa Kolasińska, Błażej Peszek, Anna Radwan-Gancarczyk, Michał Majnicz, Krzysztof Zarzecki, Marta Nieradkiewicz, Paulina Puślednik and Szymon Czacki – were 'substituted' by three performers from various centres in Poland and abroad: Dominika Biernat, Jan Sobolewski, Romuald Krężel.

The last production I will discuss is nie-boska komedia. WSZYSTKO POWIEM BOGU! [The Un-Divine Comedy: I’M GONNA TELL GOD EVERYTHING!], which premiered in December 2014 at the Stary Theatre. The production, though considered by Jan Klata to be the completion of the 'suspended' premiere from 2013, had an entirely different team: it was directed by Monika Strzępka in collaboration with Paweł Demirski (the author of the text interpreting the Zygmunt Krasiński play The Un-Divine Comedy). Along with the institution, links between this production and the cancelled production included several cast members: Juliusz Chrząstowski, Anna Radwan-Gancarczyk, Michał Majnicz, Marta Nieradkiewicz, Szymon Czacki. However, while changes to the team within the Stary Theatre were discussed ‘in the community’ and mentioned in various forms in reviews,11 changes and transfers among the cast did not provoke either lively reactions or wider comments, as far as I know.

I hope that the comparison of these projects will reveal the potential of acting, political responsibility and independence of actors, both within institutions and beyond institutions. It turns out that simply leaving the institution does not block its power, both in reality and at the symbolic level. On the other hand, all changes within institutions are quite rapidly forgotten and neutralized, including actors themselves.

The actual influence on the way these institutions operate (and, indirectly, on relations within them) is in the hands of the clerks. Therefore, I shall examine the situation in which, paradoxically, the actors took a clear stand in defence of the institution employing them, thus revealing another field of systemic entanglement and problems. Attempts at developing good practice, or at least practice acceptable to most interested parties, within an institutional theatre may be destroyed at any time as a result of changes at the directorial level, which are under the control of theatre organisers following primarily political, economic and personal interests. In such situations, the field of folwark relations becomes wider and more complicated. Politicians are in the position of power, while directors assume the roles of hired workers and, in turn, hold power over their team. When an opening appears for a director's post at an institution, it is a moment of a certain suspension. Positions of the actors become ambiguous. Theoretically, actors have the right to put forward their candidates for an opening, and their opinions should be taken into account. In practice, their voice is usually ignored and they have no influence on the final decision, which confirms their low positions in the hierarchy.

Is there a form of effective resistance against this mechanism? I shall explore the question by analysing the months-long protest organised by actors at the Polski Theatre in Wrocław, opposing their institution's decision to fill the position of the director with Cezary Morawski.

Oliver Frljić's production, inspired by the canonical Polish Romantic play by Zygmunt Krasiński, was intended to raise questions about anti-Semitic content in the original work, extending the field of reflection to the production staged in 1965 by the Stary Theatre directed by Konrad Swinarski, and to historical and contemporary Polish-Jewish relations. The way Frjlić approached the issue of Polish anti-Semitism, with the fact that he questioned the inviolable authority of Swinarski – a legendary Polish master of theatre strongly affiliated with the best traditions of the Kraków theatre community – as well as the production's orientation towards provoking conflict and discussion among actors and between stage and audience, instigated strong resistance among part of the ensemble, directors and the media. According to Agata Adamiecka-Sitek, however, those were not the key issue: 'The real scandal was the level of institutional criticism undertaken here'.12

THE UNDIVINE. CONVESSION, directed by Oliver Frljić, dramaturgy: Goran Injac, Agnieszka Jakimiak, Joanna Wichowska, supervising producer: Marta Michalak, produced by Agencja Artystyczna GAP & Fundacja Gospodarki i Administracji Publicznej (Economy and Public Administration Foundation), Photographer: Łukasz Popielarczyk.

The revolutionary aspect ofFrljić's approach to working in an institution lay in reformulating relations between team members towards actor emancipation and the cast's co-responsibility; they were supposed to become actual co-creators of the production.13The script of the play was based principally on discussions conducted during rehearsals, relating also to political and ethical responsibility of all creators for the production14 (for example, informed participation of actors in the performance, responsibility for meanings embedded in it and its stage language, the political aspect of performing on stage15). It should be emphasised that the actors had the right to decide about their participation in the project: they could abandon it at any stage during its preparation.16 Another important issue was Frljić's assumption about the relation between the private identity of actors presenting themselves with their names and their stage presence – that these identities are not equal. The orders of reality and fiction were meant to mix with each another. Characteristic performative strategies were supposed to undermine one another: someone presenting himself as denying his Polish identity in one scene refers to it during interchanges in another scene.17 Political responsibility on the part of actors consisted not only in uttering their beliefs on stage but goes beyond this, spreading over the entire performance, its meaning, course, thematic horizon. Actors were allowed to say things they didn't agree with in order to trigger a problem or subject which, according to them, was important.

In this context, comments by actors describing what such assumptions underlying working in the theatre meant for them and how they changed their way of functioning within the performance are interesting.

Actors pointed to the fact that this experience was new for them, difficult and in some sense revolutionary. Szymon Czacki and Krzysztof Zarzecki suggested that such a model of work undermines the position of the director-master legitimising the content of the production, and that it forces actors to take an autonomous position.18 Marta Nieradkiewicz described the fear of such political responsibility for actors, and the impossibility of hiding behind a stage role. To explain why some actors expect taking a role from the director and not from their subjectivity (described above by Krakowska):

The method of working with actors which assumes that they are not representatives of the characters from a play but rather become a political entity, is not easy for them. Oliver introduced certain issues during rehearsals and expected us to take a stand in a given matter. Often these were very difficult questions which I, for instance, have never previously asked myself. [...] I have never experienced such a system of work before. I realised that it was easier for me to assume the attitude of a character I played on stage, stand behind it and provide arguments for it, than to defend my own private opinion from the stage. It is much more difficult to utter on stage words which are my own and take responsibility for them, because it becomes completely different. It carries more weight.19

It seems to me that quoting these opinions is important because they also re-thematize the positions of actors in other projects, which demonstrates that the sense of political responsibility and autonomy proposed by Frljić doesn't fit the horizon of their previous experiences and expectations. These are actors who have experience with working in progressive theatre institutions (including the Polski Theatre in Bydgoszcz and the Wrocław Współczesny Theatre, as well as the Stary Theatre in Kraków), on projects created outside of the framework of repertory theatres (productions at the Warsaw Uprising Museum, with the independent Komuna// Warszawa company, in the curatorial project Wielkopolska Revolutions), with engaged directors (including Michał Zadara, Barbara Wysocka, Maja Kleczewska, Michał Borczuch, Wiktor Rubin, Krzysztof Garbaczewski) – and some of these directors give their actors considerable latitude to express themselves. Yet even given this breadth of experience, the multi-level engagement of artists in Frljić's project was new to them.

Their opinions, mentioned above, come from the meeting Nie-Boska. Powidok [Un-Divine: Afterimage], held on 15 January 2014 at the the Zbigniew Raszewski Theatre Institute in Warsaw, over a month after the premiere had been cancelled. These are unique, especially in light of the fact that no cast member who worked on the production until the end commented on it in public before or after that discussion. The official reason for suspending rehearsals was the witch-hunt campaign by the right-wing media against the Stary Theatre, motivated by 'leaked' information about the production originating from the theatre, a series of anonymous threats addressed directly to actors, and attacks from the right-wing press on the Klata's directorship of the Stary Theatre. However, later statements by Klata suggest that he used those circumstances as a pretext to cancel the production. The real reason for suspending rehearsals were methods employed by Frljić, and aesthetic quality of the production in rehearsal.20

Adamiecka-Sitek has written that the conflict surrounding Un-Divine Comedy: Remains 'enabled a rare insight into the functioning of a usually invisible mechanism, revealing the image of a theatre as a particular manorial institution'.21 Following a similar line, I shall use the metaphor of 'folwark relations'. The rhetorical strategy Klata employed by after cancelling the premiere aimed at rebuilding his position of power and re-establishing a typical hierarchy within a repertory theatre: it undermined the competence of the production director to disturb the current system and the apparently prevailing 'harmony' of the institution, while reinstating actors to their previous functions as performers and employees. That is exactly the kind of harmony, as Leder emphasises, that is typical in relations built on a folwark model. Consensus was manifested through the fact that the statement related to suspension of rehearsals was signed by the entire team. The content of the statement was motivated to a large extent by willingness to consolidate the ensemble.22 However, intimidationwas hidden behind this agreement. As Frljić and members of his team revealed in their response to suspension of rehearsals:

the directors of the Stary Theatre obliged the entire ensemble not to speak publicly about the internal problems of this institution, thereby making it impossible for the people directly interested in the situation to participate in a public debate. In this situation, the motives behind the decision to suspend the production become even more questionable.23

It should be added that Klata soon 'broke' the prohibition imposed on his actors: he must have given the interview in which he comments broadly on his decision soon after he announced it on 26 November 2013, since the interview, with Roman Pawłowski, was published on 8 January 2014.24 The conversation had thus been reduced to indirect exchanges of opinion between the director of the theatre and the director of the production and his playwrights and scenographer, who occupy stronger symbolic positions than actors and – most importantly – they were not bound by an employment contract with the theatre. The difference between speaking and being silent is one of the principal indicators in folwark relations. Klata not only prohibited the actors from speaking. He openly suggested that their narrative is worthless, as he denied the possibility that they were aware of what they participated in, then described Frljić's methods of work as based on violence.

No, Frljić wanted to manipulate the actors. He wanted to make them pawns in his own game, but he was playing for himself. [...] His intention [...] was purely to shock. In the most primitive way possible, causing conflict. As if piling on things which could insult the greatest number of people, from actress Anna Polony to philosopher Professor Hartman. A wide spectrum. [...] Unfortunately, the play he was trying to stage would have ridiculed the idea of creating contemporary, insightful, biting, reality-driven theatre.25

This way, Klata reversed the rhetoric attacking the 'classical' strategies of repertoire theatre. By inscribing Frljic into this traditional framework, he strengthened his function as director in order to rebuild the institutional hierarchy and judge the actors' position from this perspective.

Can we interpret the participation of some cast members in the Theatre Institute debate as an attempt to break with the oppressive dependence, the position of subordination, the silent collective body of the “Stary Theatre ensemble”? Yes and no. It's worth noting that not all actors who participated in the project to its end chose to come to the meeting, which may indicate that participation in the debate did require a certain amount of courage and was a kind of statement. Oliver Frljić pointed this out:

Actors who participated in the meeting with me and the playwrights at the Theatre Institute came of their own will. I had not been in touch with them since the suspension of rehearsals. They were subjected to various kinds of pressure and aware of potential consequences following their participation in the meeting at the institute.26

The problem is that the only issues they did not want to comment on were related to the decision regarding the suspension of rehearsals. Klata, the theatre's director who was so willing to position all his subordinates, especially actors, in the press releases, remained an untouchable figure in this discussion. Actors' statements were marked by strong fear of crossing that line, evident in Krzysztof Zarzecki's remark:

I'd like to remind you that we're here to talk about the methodology of work, about the point of this work and its meaning to us, and not about the director of the theatre and his decision, especially as he's not present. As an employee of this theatre, I don't want to engage in the discussion concerning the reasons for suspending rehearsals.27

It should also be added that Sebastian Majewski, a deputy artistic director at the Stary Theatre at the time, was sitting in the audience.

The actors' participation in the Theatre Institute debate, though potentially an act of independence, symbolically reinstated them to their function as performers with limited competence. They talked about the process of work, about their opinions about it, but not about the media and institutional violence they were clearly subjected to. They responded to a question from Dorota Sajewska, speaking from the audience, concerning the theatre’s responsibility to its own politics with uniform declarations that they would remain full-time employees of the Stary Theatre, providing various explanations. Juliusz Chrząstowski stated his suspicion that Frljić's production would have become an artistic failure (thereby copying Klata's narrative)28. Krzysztof Zarzecki, acknowledging his dilemmas and conformism, stated:

I know that the theatre will not function according to all my desires, but at the same time I have a strong feeling that the Stary Theatre is the best place for me to make theatre. And, after all, we represent a united front with the directors, stage managers and technicians.29

Nieradkiewicz employed similar arguments: 'We remained in the Stary Theatre, because we believe in this institution. We believe that beautiful and valuable things can happen here.' Czacki, on the other hand, situated his decision in a framework of the sense of responsibility for the city, the country and institutions which would be changed: 'I can leave and shut the door behind me. The question is whether this is not an easier solution'.30

It would be interesting to speculate how the same actors might speak about the decision about cancellation of the production if their work situation were the same as the rest of the production team, that is, if they weren't full-time Stary Theatre employees directly under Klata's authority. What would they say if Sebastian Majewski was not seated in the audience? It should be noted that Goran Injac, who was the curator of international projects at the Stary Theatre during rehearsals and after they were suspended, didn't sign the protest against the decision concerning the 'suspension' of the premiere formulated by Frljić and the production's other playwrights and scenographer. Later, however, Injac spoke in public of intimidationand pressure Klata subjected him to, both before and after cancelling the production.

One day the director called me in and said: 'We must let you go'. He showed me my contract. This would be a dissolution of the contract by mutual consent. He started to scream at me – it was his typical behaviour – saying I'm worthless, I have no talent, I can't do anything, he wanted me to give him a list of things I did for the theatre, that everything I did was wrong, I'm not worthy of working in a national institution, etc. Then I raised my voice and said: 'Stop yelling at me'. He stood up, opened the door and said: 'One more thing. I'll chuck you out in a week!' Yes, that's a quote.31

In the light of these words, I believe that the actor statements I cited above strongly correspond with Leder's thesis, within the framework of folwark relations, that 'the capacity for self-deception, creating a totally false image of oneself, the capacity for idealizing the oppressor enable insufferable situations of various kinds to remain' and with 'the folwark contract' in which 'the master is the benefactor'. Even if he humiliates someone, it's 'for their own good'. And those humiliated accept the 'lessons' gratefully, demonstrating that they know their place.32

The power of the theatre's director and the duty of loyalty to the workplace turned out to reach far beyond the institution or even Klata's direct intentions. And The Undivine Comedy: I’M GONNA TELL GOD EVERYTHING!, produced at the Stary Theatre in 2014, would show how the project implemented by Frljić of treating the cast as subjects had faded rapidly in the memories both of those actors and of the institution. The effectiveness with which Klata managed to silence his actors' voices is further confirmed by the next Polish project this article will consider, undertaken by Frljić as a commentary on the situation in the Stary Theatre, a project for which that theatre's actors were not invited.

The Un-Divine: Confession is a performance created within the framework of the POP-UP project,described by its curators (Agata Siwiak and Grzegorz Niziołek), as a kind of 'anti-institution mirage' presented in a spherical tent on the grounds belonging to the project's organiser, the Cracow University of Economics. The POP-UP project was intended as an alternative formula of public theatre – impermanent, perishable. Its alternative character was meant to translate into a multifaceted broadening of the field of artistic freedom, which is why the curators declared a lack of control over the production created within the project, on one hand, while expressing on the other hand their hope that such ephemeral circulation of performances would broaden the potential risk undertaken by the artists.

THE UNDIVINE. CONFESSION, directed by Oliver Frljić, dramaturgy: Goran Injac, Agnieszka Jakimiak, Joanna Wichowska, supervising producer: Marta Michalak, produced by Agencja Artystyczna GAP & Fundacja Gospodarki i Administracji Publicznej (Economy and Public Administration Foundation), Photographer: Łukasz Popielarczyk.

We hope that the temporary nature and provisionality of these actions will release other creative impulses and will provide the artists with an opportunity to create sometimes very personal statements, in which they will not have to take into account the possibility of conflict.33

These issues obviously referred back to repertory theatre and, in a broader sense, to Polish cultural institutions. The point was not to negate them but rather to postulate the development of many different alternative forms of theatre production and activity distinct from repertory theatre. It turned out, however, that even within that framework, the folwark system of relations present in repertory theatre companies influences content and form as well as the hierarchy within productions created, and decisions by producers and curators are to at least some extent conditioned by theatre institutions. In The Un-Divine: Confession, this sphere of influence included mostly actors.

As has been mentioned, the production under consideration here was a commentary on events surrounding the premiere cancelled two years earlier at the Stary Theatre. Its creators included Oliver Frljić, Agnieszka Jakimiak, Joanna Wichowska and Goran Injac. Three actors were invited, none of whom had been engaged in the cancelled production: Dominika Biernat, Romuald Krężel and Jan Sobolewski. The performance can divide into three sections (this division is conventional and subjective). In the first section, Biernat read Frljić's letter addressed to Poles and expressing deep contempt for their racism, xenophobia, megalomania, messianic sense and passivity in the face of violence, among other topics. Then the actors, with 'Jew' and 'Jewess' cards around their necks, talked about family members who were the Holocaust victims, while declaring that their heritages were the main reason they were cast. In the second section – over soup, wine and wistful music – the cancelled production's playwrights sat at the table to answer actors' questions related to the circumstances of 'suspending' those rehearsals, comment on the subsequent production directed by Monika Strzępka, and describe relations of intimidation that govern the Stary Theatre, concentrating mainly but not exclusively on strategies employed by Klata. In the final section, the actors announced that they were given a task consisting of 'practising democracy in theatre' then posed a series of questions to the audience. The performance ended with a phone call from Jan Sobolewski to Jan Klata. The performance employed many strategies typical for Frljić: actors presented themselves on stage with their actual names; fiction was mixed with reality – information about their Jewish origins and casting were fictional); the topic of the performance was transferred into audience discussions.

The open performance structure enabled the posing of several important questions. The production was presented three times, but the most serious intervention took part during the premiere, when Krzysztof Zarzecki was in the audience and spoke up during the table scene, asking why he'd not been invited into the project despite having declared his willingness to participate. Zarzecki also said he was the only actor from the original cast of The Un-Divine Comedy: Remains who came to the new performance and that he wouldn't have been afraid of consequences for taking part in this project. During his intervention, all on stage participants were looking at their plates, waiting for Zarzecki to finish his statement. Only Dominika Biernat invited him to the table, but he refused. Nobody answered the question...

During the section related to 'practising democracy', theatre critic Marcin Kościelniak, who was in the audience during this performance, returned to Zarzecki's question, asking for an answer. The curator Agata Siwiak said that choices in casting were motivated by concerns for physical safety and job security of the Stary Theatre actors. Goran Injac confirmed this version, and recalled his above-mentioned description of intimidationviolence he'd experienced from Klata. The organisers were also afraid, however, that if they engaged Stary Theatre actors, whose primary responsibility was to fulfil their obligations as full-time employees, they'd be open to the risk of performances being blocked due to 'urgent substitutions' at the theatre on days when POP-UP performances were scheduled.

Stary Theatre actors were in fact denied the right to make their own autonomous personal decisions, therefore, and to take a stand in this situation. Such a defensive gesture seems not only quite patronizing, but is also dangerously associated with the Stary Theatre statement concerning the 'suspension' of rehearsals 'for the safety of actors and the entire theatre'. Though in this I have no reason to disbelieve the sincerity of intention on the part of the POP-UP decision-makers (their arguments haven't changed, as was the case with Klata, while in Injac's case, his change was motivated by subsequent experiences), the fact remains that institutional hierarchy was sustained and strengthened in this way. Actors were positioned as individuals entirely subordinated to the director, both in his eyes and in the eyes of people outside who declare a willingness to create an alternative model for public institutions. In the same way, the hierarchy within the new production was legitimised, as its authorship and the right to speak was associated with the director and playwrights despite the fact that the previous project had attempted to undermine such dependences. The actors – actors from the Stary Theatre and those acting in The Un-Divine: Confession – were treated as mere performers, interchangeable and meant to fulfil certain acting tasks.

That second dependence, what's more, is visible in the newer performance, when the distinction between professional and non-professional actors is marked at several points. In the table scene, the role of actors is reduced to asking the playwrights questions. The issue of financial dependence and performing acting tasks has been raised many times, as has the situation of casting that preceded rehearsals (here fictional). On the other hand, Biernat stated from the stage that she participated in the project because she was able to separate her private life from professional life. Professional actors several times distanced themselves from the production (which, of course, fulfils Frljić's statements concerning actor autonomy in his productions). Such emphasis on the external perspective of actors and their professional approach to the project was intentional.

However, it seems to me that in some perverse way it actually defines their role in this production. I also think their job was different from the one in the Stary Theatre production. Sobolewski said, for example: 'I realised that the performance included a strong political manifesto, but we did not treat it especially seriously. It was just a simple, normal job – from idea to idea...34 He also said he did not feel any special responsibility for gestures performed during the performance, even if they were sometimes controversial, such as the phone call to Klata. Other actors' attitudes may have been different, with Biernat declaring her much stronger engagement and sense of responsibility35.

The fact remains that the producers employed actor-performers and denied Zarzecki participation, who'd been as engaged in the previous production as its director and playwrights. It seems a punch line to the situation can be found in Zarzecki's second statement: that he wouldn't speak or participate in the performance, having been offered the opportunity by Agnieszka Jakimiak in the third section open to everyone – then encouraged the rest of the audience to take the same stance because they weren't being paid. His statement was a commentary on the situation of actors in the project as hired performers (Biernat and Sobolewski wittily said they participated because of low pay from their own theatre companies) and referred to the position of audience members in that third section as unpaid actors, by which he indicated the alternative model's economic framework. Zarzecki's statement may also be treated as an allusion to the fact that actors involved in rehearsals for The Un-Divine Comedy: Remains weren't paid beyond their base salary as no performances were held.

To further complicate the situation while not reducing the position of Stary Theatre actors to 'victims', it should be noted that this particular casting decision may also have been influenced by the fact that all actors from the Stary Theatre ensemble signed the decision suspending rehearsals, then refused to comment on that issue during the Theatre Institute discussion, while defending the Stary Theatre as an institution and confirming that they would remain full-time employees, which they did. Some also participated in the subsequent production directed by Strzępka, as mentioned above, which may have been another reason. In any case, Zarzecki's declaration that he was the only Stary Theatre actor who came to the POP-UP performance is meaningful and testifies to the dominant frame of mind at the institution. One may say that most actors favoured the theatre model proposed by Klata. Only Zarzecki attempted to break with this pattern. Perhaps the POP-UP producers and curators were concerned that in a conflict between their project and the Stary Theatre, he'd eventually support the institution's interests again.

Protest organised by actors at the Polski Theatre in Wrocław, August 2016. Photographer: Natalia Kabanow, archive of Polish Underground Theatre in Wrocław.

However, we could treat Zarzecki's declaration as an attempt at 'correcting’ his previous acceptance of staying silent. Audience members at the premiere emphasised that listening to the production team's voices, as alternatives to Klata's omnipresent version, was important to them. Perhaps Zarzecki's declaration was a sign of readiness to assume yet another perspective, blocked two years earlier by the theatre's director. From that perspective, it's a pity that his 'confession' was then blocked two years later by the producers and curators. Again, in that way, it was actors playing the muted roles in narratives created around them.

Such a situation refers again to the folwark system and its power, pervading and influencing power relations even in projects declared as alternative to repertory theatre and its hierarchy. What seems most valuable here is the public voice of objection against such relations presented by Zarzecki, exposing and undermining the institutional and performative frameworks (he spoke before the section where audience interaction was to take place). It was also important that the actor appealed to friendship connecting him and the creators of the production. In doing so, he also pointed out that patterns of thinking and hierarchies are stronger than human relationships and any so-called community solidarity.

These assertions are further confirmed by the fact that actors participating in the POP-UP project hadn't been invited to participate in the concluding round-table discussion (an exception was actor and designer Piotr Skiba, whose function in director Krystian Lupa's theatre is based on particular principles and who didn't perform in the POP-UP project).36 Did no one care what conclusions were drawn by actors from this alternative model of artistic production to that of repertory theatre – who, after all, have the strongest ties to those institutions and know them 'inside out', yet are also most dependent on them? It's a pity, as it seems to me that alternative models would also disturb and modify this element of the hierarchical, folwark-like structure instead of petrifying it. In my opinion, the field of opportunities today for actors functioning within performative actions, both institutional and alternative, is the one which most needs alternative models.

To conclude this part of the article, I'd like to ask several questions related to actor subjectivity and their sense of responsibility for the message of a production. It's worth querying why actors who'd performed through Frljić's rehearsals – Juliusz Chrząstowski, Anna Radwan-Gancarczyk, Michał Majnicz, Marta Nieradkiewicz, Szymon Czacki – subsequently participated in Strzępka's production, which, according to Klata's rhetoric, was meant to 'continue' the suspended work. His arguments were as plain as day and raised many doubts. Strzępka calls herself a traitor because of this, which is self-mockery, of course.37 Were the actors unable to look at the situation and their role in it as problematic – which, in my opinion, legitimised this project? Strzępka's production differed from Frljić's work both in aesthetic terms and in the way it approached the 2013 project's pivotal issue, anti-Semitism. Joanna Wichowska addressed this during the Un-Divine: Confession performances, indicating the completed production's brilliance and technical excellence which moderates its problematic message, densely packed with jokes about 'little Jews'. The strategy of deprecating the subject of anti-Semitism and transferring social conflict to the level of class struggle was analysed by critic Marcin Kościelniak:

Anti-Semitism, the Holocaust – for this team, these are fashionable, commercial, well-worn subjects, towards which they make a series of emancipatory gestures before they move on to their own, deeper (in their intentions) issues.

Introducing the character of Rotschild (Szymon Czacki) seems to play a crucial role. His family escaped the Holocaust thanks to their wealth, which is why Rotschild can say that 'the great capital rules the world' and being accused of anti-Semitism is a 'class issue'. In other words, Demirski and Strzępka shift class issues over those of race. The class division goes across the race division. Rotschild, a Jew, in on [playwright Zygmunt] Krasiński's side, on the side of those who button their suits up to their necks, up to their brains, and the Converts (speaking about Rotschild: 'He is no Jew, he is aristocracy') are on the side of those working in a copy centre, buying just a single cream cheese in two weeks, taking pride in the appearance of social advancement.

According to the team, economic division is the key to understanding the world. Not only Krasiński's world, but the contemporary world in general: after all, Rotschild's middle name is the Wolf of Wall Street.

Kościelniak also showed how problematic such rhetoric is:

The claim that wealth could protect Jews from the Holocaust is a historical distortion. Economic divisions do not exhaust our understanding of reality, despite what Demirski and Strzępka would want. But it does appeal to emotions. The imprecation addressed to the hated upper class that 'you cannot give us all the fucking Prozac' aroused strong enthusiasm in the audience. The transformation of a Jew into a Wolf of Wall Street is another potential source of enthusiasm, this time, however, of a more illusory basis.38

A critical attitude towards the production's message is also found in 'Lęk przed afektem' [Affect Anxiety] by critic and curator Grzegorz Niziołek. He demonstrated that audience laughter as a reaction to issues related to Jews and Polish-Jewish relations, also mentioned by Wichrowska, establishes 'a confidential and obscene communication between them and the author of the play'.39 According to Niziołek, the production is based on the idea repeated by the team many times before that 'the Jewish question has been resolved in Poland', while ignoring the contradiction between this claim and a 'confidential and intense dialogue with the audience'. At this level, Niziołek discerns the fundamental difference between their production and Frljić's project: 'Frljić wanted this field of latent communication radically revealed, whereas Demirski and Strzępka want to transform it into their own political capital'. He summarizes the production's message in the following way: 'dwelling on the past when Europe is threatened by a new disaster is harmful and meaningless'.40 As a result:

The refusal of empathy towards Jewish characters and, in a broader sense, towards the Polish-Jewish past, the Holocaust, establishes a wide field of sentimental identification with the rest of characters who feel harmed and exploited.41

While affirming the community of the aggrieved, they 'defend the community with all their strength against harmful affects which could divide it in an essential way, uncontrolled by the known and established political divisions'.42 The consolidating characteristic of Strzępka's production is noteworthy, since it was based on downplaying the issue of anti-Semitism in favour of a typically Polish perspective, and for this reason it seems to complement and work out ideally the crisis for the institution that had been instigated by Frljic's presence. It is an act of re-establishing 'theatre craftsmanship', the famous, harmonious Stary Theatre 'team spirit' and alliance with its audience. It also reinstates actors to their position as performers, and good ones, garnered with awards.

Some questions still bother me, though it seems they shouldn't be asked. On one hand, we have a project in rehearsal exploring issues of Polish anti-Semitism at many levels and preferring to instigate conflict rather than establish a sentimental consensus, and on the other hand, a production searching for community precisely at the level of negating issues raised by its predecessor. Did actors who'd formerly been at work with Frljić not see the contradictions, or did they agree with Strzępka's vision? Were they fully responsible for those contradictions? If they were, what changed their mind? It should be added that the rehearsal mode employed by Demirski and Strzępka, shown for instance in the documentary Ustalenia, które zostały ustalone [Arrangements which Had Been Arranged] by Magda Mosiewicz43 about their rehearsal process, is very far from Frljić's formula. It is founded instead on a model of the actor-performer. All ideological and technical issues are discussed without the participation of actors.

Do actors have the right to rebel against such a model? Do they have the right to challenge the message of the production? Step down from the role? Is the question concerning the responsibility of actors for the meaning of the production or roles they play in it even reasonable? Biased? Wrongly formulated? I hesitate and feel discomfort. But if I do direct such questions to director and playwright, why can't I direct them to actors? Perhaps my fears and doubts are just another mechanism preserving the model of actor as silent executor of commands from theatre and production directors. Would that not be patronizing and an infantilising approach? Perhaps it is an issue that needs to be raised, but not in the judgemental and penalizing mode, rather one full of belief that the existing situation is not final. It seems that the model of alternative organisation for theatre production is not a solution to the problem, because it usually only copies institutional patterns. The change should come from a thorough and common modification of thinking about the acting profession at every level: educational, institutional, economic, critical. And, importantly, it should also come from actors, who should demand through various means, as Zarzecki did, their right to speak up and be heard.

We can recognise such an attempt to take a stand and assume responsibility – not only for a particular production but their entire institution – in the protest by actors from the Polski Theatre in Wrocław after the appointment of that theatre's new director, Cezary Morawski, in mid-2016. It would be very difficult to formulate a thorough synthesis of this extremely complex, multifaceted, prolonged situation. Therefore, after providing its general outline, I shall focus on the analysis of actors' actions.

For ten years, until August 2016, Krzysztof Mieszkowski had been the director of this institution. His directorship, despite numerous achievements and the growing stature of this theatre, had been marked by repeated conflicts with the Marshall Office of the Dolnoslaskie Voivodship, which is the theatre's managing body. In the critic Jolanta Kowalska's view: 'The resentment towards Mieszkowski remained beyond political divisions. His presence was tolerated by the voivodship executives as a necessary evil.44'

The main accusation was mismanagement by the director. Though that accusation wasn't entirely groundless, it should be emphasised that the theatre's debt was mainly caused due to structural reasons. Attempts to dismiss Mieszkowski were fended off by a succession of ministers of culture, who even tried to co-manage the theatre. And the artists supported their director. In 2012, the theatre community responded to an effort to replace Mieszkowski with an efficient manager to improve the company's finances by mounting a nation-wide campaign with theme 'Theatre is not a product / The audience are not clients'. Solidarity within the community and support from the ministry of culture were primarily motivated, I believe, by the high artistic quality of the Polski Theatre, which had become one of the leading theatre companies in Poland. Productions directed by Krystian Lupa, Jan Klata, Monika Strzępka and Paweł Demirski, Krzysztof Garbaczewski, Michał Borczuch and others won numerous prizes, toured to international festivals and frequently defined the direction of critical theatre in Poland. The theatre drew a loyal, large audience, who now actively participate in protests.

The power of this theatre also came from its ensemble. Actors daringly faced the challenges of various aesthetic styles from the wide circle of leading Polish directors working with them. Working with Strzępka or with Klata, the actors used formal means of expression, while in Garbaczewski's Kronos (2013) or Lupa's Poczekalnia.0 [2011, Waiting Room.0], they were able to shift their boundaries of intimacy, talk about themselves, open themselves in front of audiences. The Polski Theatre actors were a community of interesting personalities, and at the same time a well-integrated group. When the first performed the master drama by Adam Mickiewicz, Dziady [2016, Forefathers' Eve], directed by Zadara, they endured an eleven-hour marathon... That accomplishment – in its organisation at the production level, as well as in terms of an artistic and social event – may be the clearest proof of the company's quality and power.

All these aspects factored into the shock caused by the decision to appoint Cezary Morawski as the theatre's new director, an actor appearing largely in TV shows in recent years, without experience as director and who, while treasurer for Związku Artystów Scen Polskich [ZASP, Union of Polish Stage Artists] was convicted of breach of trust and of losing that organisation some 9.2 million złoty (3.8 million euro).45. Though the appointing commission 'decided that Cezary Morawski offered the most consistent vision responsive to challenges faced by the Polski Theatre',46 that programme put forward supporting his candidacy has been evaluated by many others as extremely poor: full of meaningless platitudes, and of contradictory and problematic ideas. Jacek Sieradzki, editor-in-chief of the journal Dialog, described it as:

rubbish which any of us could tap on the computer in half an hour, putting together some classic titles, several pompous anniversaries which are approaching, and writing from our phones several names of prominent candidates for collaboration, without calling them first, of course.47

Morawski was selected, nevertheless, during deliberations lasting sixteen minutes, during which all critical voices and attempts at discussion were blocked. Tadeusz Samborski, an activist of PSL [Polish People's Party] and member of the voivodeship management board who is responsible for cultural affairs in the Marshall's Office, had long been pushing Morawski's candidacy. To force it through, Samborski ignored the charges related to the court verdict, excluding the ZASP president, Olgierd Łukaszewicz, – who'd reported the misappropriated funds to the prosecutor's office – from the deliberations. It seems important that the candidate referred to his conversation with Vice Prime Minister and Minister for Culture and National Heritage Piotr Gliński, who had come into significant open conflict with Krzysztof Mieszkowski some months earlier, by demanding cancellation of the Polski Theatre production Śmierć i dziewczyna [Death and the Maiden], directed by Ewelina Marciniak, which cast several actors working in the porn industry.48 The outcome of the competition for the theatre's director was, therefore, the result of personal and political factors. The councilmen also wanted to change the theatre's profile to a more conservative one.49

The reaction to that course and the outcome of the competition came rapidly:

A day after the deliberations, two members of the competition commission commented on it: Piotr Rudzki, literary secretary and representative of Inicjatywa Pracownicza [Workers' Initiative Union], and the director Krystian Lupa. The meeting was organised under the heading 'The Death of the Polski Theatre in Wroclaw'.50

This was the beginning of a months-long protest, the active subjects in which were mainly actors and audience members – the groups most often and most harmfully skipped over in discussions about theatres and their managements. The protest has included a strike, and filing notice with the prosecutor's office about procedural improprieties during the competition, many demonstrations in front of the theatre and the Marshall's Office, the collective dispute of the Workers' Initiative Union with the new director, the symbolic taping of mouths with black duct tape by actors during protests and for curtain calls after performances, readings of the drama Dopóki mam język.16 minut[As Long as I Have a Tongue: 16 Minutes], the Polish Underground Theatre's initiative producing ephemeral performances, numerous statements, interviews and media appearances, and activity on social media.51 Before elaborating on this, I will shed light on yet another aspect of the situation.

Actors of Polski Theathe in Wroclaw speak to the French audience after the guest performance of Wycinka, directed by Krystiana Lupy, source: Polish Underground Theatre in Wrocław.

Krzysztof Mieszkowski didn't present his candidacy for the director's position, as he contested that the competition itself was being held. Asked about his expiring contract, Mieszkowski said: 'I expect that the voivodship authorities will not renew it. I will not enter my candidacy in the competition. If it is announced, it will be met with a strong resistance from my theatre ensemble. People could leave with me'.52 He also stated: 'I am the Polski Theatre'. This strategy of defending the position of director was criticised by Bogdan Zdrojewski,53 a former minster for culture who had supported Mieszkowski several times, and by journalists favourably disposed towards him and his theatre, including Magda Piekarska from the Wrocław edition of the national newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza and Witold Mrozek.

Mrozek published an article with significantly titled 'Dyrektor Słońce' ['The Sun Director'], in which he criticised flowark-like moves by Mieszkowski, who attributed the achievements and success of the theatre to himself and squandered the fate of his employees. Mrozek wrote: 'with his megalomaniac statements, a certain traditional model of theatre reaches its peak: a model based on directorial enlightened absolutism, self-centred declarations and huge productions'. And continued: 'with his threats that the ensemble will leave with him, when none of the actors have officially spoken yet, Mieszkowski treated his co-workers not only as live shields, but also as his serfs. And public theatre as his private folwark'.54

Mrozek pointed out that Mieszkowski didn't hold a master's degree, a competition requirement for candidates, though that obstacle could've been circumvented had he decided to run in tandem with someone with the required degree. He also criticised the fact that Mieszkowski hadn't prepared a deputy who could continue his programme. Mrozek raised one more important aspect. Since Poland's elections in 2015, Mieszkowski has been a parliamentarian for the party Nowoczesna.55 Combining administrative and political functions could disturb not only opponents of the Polski Theatre director. An oft-omitted fact also needs to be added: Mieszkowski is also editor-in-chief of the journal Notatnik Teatralny. How to combine these functions in terms of time, organisation and ideology? Mieszkowski's behaviour could have harmed the theatre and worsened the situation for its artistic team. It seems that from the point of view of its former director, care for the future of the Polski Theatre was restricted largely to maintaining his position, and these two aspects were indistinguishable to him, as he confirmed in his blunt declaration that 'I am the Polski Theatre'.

In this entire conflict, the actors behaved most reasonably among all sides. At every phase, they reached for democratic means – which should have insured both their right to speak and relative security. They neither supported nor denied Mieszkowski's declaration that they would leave with him. However, the Polski Theatre's artistic council, which included actors, supported his objection to the announcement of the competition. When that objective proved impossible to attain, in subsequent letters to the Marshall’s Office, the artistic council – and later members of artistic and administrative teams who signed the letter – tried to influence the course of the competition: criticising Tadeusz Samborski for favouring Morawski; demanding the inclusion of a ZASP representative in the competition committee.56 They also put forward their own candidates: the manager Izabela Duchnowska, and Daniel Przastek, who has taught at the Institute of Political Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences and has teamed in scriptwriting with director Michał Zadara. Both candidates declared their willingness to cooperate with Mieszkowski and to continue the artistic programme he had chosen.57

However, neither candidate proved appealing. Theatre critic Aneta Kyzioł regarded the prospect of cooperation with Mieszkowski as unrealistic, and Duchnowska as an 'unelectable' candidate. She also had doubts concerning Przastek's candidacy.58 As actors stated in interviews afterwards, their propositions had been consulted with the Marshall's Office for a year, and consisted not of unconditional support for Mieszkowski but rather of finding a candidate who could satisfy both sides:

We knew that Krzysztof Mieszkowski's contract is expiring and that no one would renew it. Some people really wanted Krzysztof to stay, but we knew it was impossible. One of the reasons was the fact that Krzysztof created a conflict of interests by becoming the director and deputy [in parliament] at the same time. I said in the Marshall's Office that we were not talking about Mieszkowski, but about the Polski Theatre. We fight for the artistic programme he developed and not for him. The Marshall's Office promised that if we enter our candidates in the competition, they would seriously consider them, because they cared about our opinion and situation. We proposed Iza[bela] Duchnowska and Daniel Przastek, but they were rejected. [...] The Marshall's Office had suggested that that we should propose the candidate with whom Krzysztof would cooperate as artistic director and who they could accept. We presented our choice and they accepted it. We have been consulting this with the Marshall Office for a year. We trusted them and it was a mistake.59

The team was aware that Mieszkowski was not a candidate for the position of director, and formulated their postulates accordingly, just after the competition was decided. The team demanded that Morawski should not be appointed as director (and later demanded his dismissal). They also demanded the formation of a 'round table' to consider the situation in the Polski Theatre, which would include all interested parties, mediated by the directors of the Zbigniew Raszewski Theatre Institute in Warsaw: Dorota Buchwald and her deputy, Prof. Dariusz Kosiński 60. All this time, it was emphasised that the team was not defending Mieszkowski, but aimed to secure the theatre's further artistic development. They wanted to take responsibility for the institution that employed them. To achieve this, actors abandoned their private interests, as underlined by Anna Ilczuk, a company member since 2004: 'We aren't naive, we know because of standing here and protesting we become first in line to be fired. We're fully aware that we risk our security and the security of our families'.

Ilczuk stringently demanded the right to take responsibility for the theatre, pointing out that its artists had competencies to decide about the direction of its development.

I only have an MA degree, but we have academic teachers and professors among us. I 'm standing here and asking, by what right are we denied our voice. By what right does Marshall Samborski say we had nothing to say. By what right are we, the artists, denied the right to decide about artistic issues. Marshall Samborski belongs to the PSL party, [Cezary] Przybylski to the PO party, [Minister] Gliński belongs to the PiS party and we don't even know who we should be angry with. We don't defend individual names, we have been open to dialogue for a year.61

The actors' readiness to abandon their own interests for the sake of the theatre is confirmed in their earlier consent to suspend activities on the large stage for six months: 'We live off of performing in productions, but knowing that this could save the financial situation of the theatre, we agreed to this solution. We didn't earn [performance] money and lived on the basic salary'.62

It's also worth mentioning that most members of the company's acting ensemble probably wouldn't remain unemployed upon leaving the Polski Theatre. As fine and recognized performers, they should easily find engagements with other prestigious theatres. Of course, that necessity of moving or leaving families would have mobilised many to fight for the Polski Theatre, but a willingness to save full-time jobs doesn't seem a principal motivation in their case. Can we interpret their protest as evidence of the sense of responsibility for the institution about which Dorota Stajewska had inquired of Stary Theatre actors in 2014 (see above)?

SO-CALLED THE HUMANITY IN THE WILD, directed by Roman Burdygiel, 6.01. 2017, Muzyczny Capitol Theatre in Wrocław. Photographer: Natalia Kabanow, archive of Polish Underground Theatre in Wrocław.

Another interesting though controversial move of the actors was the idea to introduce the 'conscience clause' for actors, enabling them to refuse a role if it conflicts with their beliefs. This is how actors argued for that clause. Tomasz Lulek, actor and the chairperson of the OZZ IP [Workers' Initiative Union] for the Polski Theatre points out that Morawski's application to the director's competition included national and religious ideas. 'We wanted everyone to have the right to choose whether they want to participate in such productions. To date, by tradition and habit, an actor could refuse one role per season'. For example, during rehearsals for Prezydentki [The Presidents] in the finale of which in the Mother of God appears, one actress resigned for religious reasons. It was accepted and understood. Michał Opaliński presents similar arguments: 'As an atheist, I'd like to be protected from taking part in a production about John Paul II. I am afraid that my refusal could be used by the director as evidence of my insubordination and reason to let me go'. Another actor, Rafał Kronenberger, remarked that if the new director announced the change of the Polski Theatre profile to an anniversary-comedy-national kind, the team is afraid that they will be presented with a programme of low artistic quality and ideologically biased. 'There is also the resulting fear of being fired. Perhaps the roles will be assigned intentionally against actors' beliefs so that when they refuse they'd have to face disciplinary consequences', reflects Kronenberger. Actress Ewa Skibińska adds: 'Formulating this postulate was motivated by a general lack of trust in the possibility of keeping our own individual creative autonomy, resulting from recent events related to both the Polski Theatre and activities of the minister of culture. We were granted this freedom by artists with whom we collaborated. We have no guarantee that it will continue. And it is not about fear, but about fighting for dignity, which is effectively taken away from us by ignoring our voices.63

Several issues seem especially important here: the sense of political and ideological responsibility for subjects addressed in specific productions; an attempt to preserve autonomy from the power of theatre and production directors; and lack of trust towards the new director. Actors emphasise that situations of objecting to material for ideological reasons have happened in the theatre before and were respected, which demonstrates that though Mieszkowski in his interview presented himself as master, he respected beliefs of his employees. Another statement confirms this:

we could disagree with each other, but dialogue was possible. There were people who didn't agree with Mieszkowski and for several years have not performed many roles, but nobody was fired from the theatre. What's more, we were defending these people. We can differ among ourselves, but we have a common goal: creating a good theatre.64

Monika Bolly, the only actor who supported Morawski from the start, claims, though, that when Mieszkowski was director she was persecuted for her beliefs. But Bolly doesn't provide specific instances. She employs oppressive, offensive rhetoric towards Polski Theatre actors and directors working there, hatefully attacks contemporary theatre aesthetics, thus I admit this makes it hard for me to fully credit her complaint.65 Strangely, Dominika Figurska, though she has right-wing views, supported Duchnowska's candidacy,66 who'd advocated for cooperation with Mieszkowski. Could Figurska have felt depreciated by Mieszkowski because of her beliefs? On another hand, it's commonly acknowledged that Mieszkowski didn't care equally about the full team and he didn't tolerate criticism.67 Undoubtedly, the Polski Theatre team was divided, and the change of director unharnessed suppressed emotions. If we take into account the fact that protesting actors include those not dealt with kindly by Mieszkowski, it would be difficult to declare unambiguously that divisions he generated were strictly related to beliefs.68

To return to the main issue, by demanding the 'conscience clause', actors strongly emphasise that they are separate political entities and their responsibility as citizens overrides their stage practices. The postulate of legal regulation of this matter, however, proves that they feel unsafe in this field, are aware of their situation within the framework of theatre hierarchy and know that these issues depend most of all on the director. Though the idea has not been well received in the community and could potentially become a misused instrument, it seems to me that it should not be treated linearly or literally. To me, it appears to be a form of cheeky manifestation emphasising political accountability of actors for issues raised on stage. Also other demands addressed to Morawski by the ensemble then, of course, rejected by him, are also meaningful, as they elaborate the idea of the team's political engagement, such as providing day care at the theatre and appointing an ombudsman for sexual minorities,<69 which would address the needs of parents (in Poland, mainly mothers) and issues related to equality.

These reflections could lead to a conclusion that actions of the artistic team and other employees of the Polski Theatre were thought through and often well organized (the year of consultations with the Mashall's Office], contrary to Mieszkowski's actions, who had counted on cancelling the competition, and to the Marshall's Office, which announced the outcome of the competition in August, immediately before the opening of the new season. Theatre employees, including actors, demonstrated a surprising awareness of their own position and role in culture (especially given the Polish context), and courage and determination in their struggle for a better theatre and their individual artistic autonomy. Yet their voice was lent a deaf ear and their actions frequently ignored, politicised and infantilized.

After Morawski's appointment, it soon became clear that Mieszkowski's interests and those of his team were going in different directions. Mieszkowski was present and showed off during the first days of the strike: he was speaking on behalf of his team. For that reason, the protest was understood not as opposition to Morawski as the new director but rather as a demonstration of support for Mieszkowski, despite the fact that by then the demands of the protesters clearly declared other intentions. The culminating point came when Mieszkowski appeared with the leader of the Nowoczesna party, Ryszard Petru, at a conference in front of the Polski Theatre, demanding the competition's annulment and announcing a new one. The reaction of the team was a clear and definite objection to involving their actions politically in this sense.

The Artistic Ensemble of the Polski Theatre in Wrocław declares that they dissociate themselves from any political actions which use the image of the theatre. We thank political parties for supporting our protest, public statement of opinion and appeal to the authorities. At the same time, we strongly emphasise that our protest is a protest supporting artists, audience and cultural communities of this country, beyond political positions, in defence of artistic freedom, quality of our work and the future of this theatre, which our common good. We do not agree to use of it for purposes of any political party. This is a protest of artists and their audience, and not of politicians – this for us is a fundamental issue.70

From that moment, Mieszkowski stepped back from the protest. The initiative in issues related to the theatre was taken over mainly by actors, who spoke not through statements as they had until then but rather through numerous interviews, through consistently sealing their mouths with duct tape after performances to show that their actions and demands were being ignored, and through continued protests and demands for dialogue with the Marshall's Office. Despite all this, the right-wing media still claims with surprising persistence that the protest, which has been going on for over half a year at the time of writing, is controlled by Mieszkowski and its power doesn't come from the determination of the actors – who can be easily fired and replaced ('the role of actors provoking subsequent conflicts was only auxiliary. This would probably not destroy him, because it is always possible to complete another team'71) – and from declarations by directors who in large numbers refuse to cooperate with Morawski.

Protest organised by actors at the Polski Theatre in Wrocław, August 2016. Photographer: Natalia Kabanow, archive of Polish Underground Theatre in Wrocław.

Such despicable ignoring of the deeply reformulated image of theatre and position of actors and other employees lacking decision-making functions within it is an intentional, manipulative move on one hand, I believe, and on the other a certain declaration of a viewpoint in favour of preserving the current hierarchy in theatre and, by consequence, in social life. An analogical viewpoint is also presented by Cezary Morawski. First, he has diminished the dimension of the actors' protests, using the phrase 'a small handful'72 (taken up by his proponents, who use the phrase 'a small group'73), intentionally trivialising the fact that – as Andrzej Kłak presented in a letter verifying a series of false reports spread by the director – almost two-thirds of the ensemble and other employees have protested against his appointment (49 people).74 Furthermore, since Morawski took the position, he has applied repressions against rebellious employees: he didn't let them into the building; dismissed actors on disciplinary grounds for criticising the director; ignored their union membership; issued letters of dismissal in the least expected and inappropriate moments;75 cancelled numerous productions; tried to stifle rebellion by the theatre's audience ('he checks tickets, moves viewers to other seats and even turns off the lights in the theatre, saying: 'I am the director, I can do anything'76); and has refused to let company productions tour to festivals in Poland and abroad. Peculiar if symptomatic was his request to prepare understudies for Krystian Lupa's Wycinka [Woodcutters]. Of course, Lupa refused on the grounds that actors are co-creators of that production, which excludes the possibility of changing the cast.77

This situation of open conflict, in which actors didn't subject themselves to the director and didn't remain silent, revealed an entire range of potential and, I suppose, frequently practised folwark relations in institutional theatres based on traditional hierarchy. The position and actions of the Marshall's Office expanded this image by adding another dimension. In this situation, actors are subjected both to the new director and to the Marshall's Office, as well as – rather symbolically – to the former director, as they are perceived through the lenses of his interests. Their defiance lies in the fact that they don't remain silent as the 'tradition' would have them do, but reach for instruments of resistance available in democratic society while at the same time exposing their weakness.78

In this seemingly hopeless situation, the artistic team held firm and determinedly fought not only for their theatre but also for their position in theatre and in public debate. Consistent, stubborn actions strongly supported by co-protesting members of the audience and artistic community, which behaved with surprising solidarity by taking up a series of various actions – letters of support; taping their mouths as a sign solidarity; recordings published on a special Facebook fan page, 'Resign, Cezary', calling directly on Morawski to step down; a prestigious Kamyk Puzyny award granted by the journal Dialog and founded by Instytut Książki [The Book Institute] for the actors and actresses of the Polish Underground Theatre and the Polski Theatre audience – have proven that changes in the functioning of institutions and the positions of artists employed in then who resist the inflexible folwark hierarchy is necessary and that its significance goes beyond the framework of theatre.

The realistic prospect of such change remains problematic. In February 2017, after months of Morawski's directorship, which didn't present a new production, the Marshall's Office decided to dismiss Morawski from his post for failure to comply with his declarations from the competition. This process, however, has been blocked by Minister of Culture Gliński, asked by Wrocław authorities to give his opinion in the matter. Gliński's ministry prolongs the case, asking for more explanations and defending the director:

Since the moment he assumed his responsibilities, the director was confronted with protests and attempts at destabilizing this institution. Therefore, there is a reasonable doubt whether the period of five months is enough to summarise and evaluate Director Morawski's achievements. We should consider all circumstances that could have influenced the regular functioning of the theatre.79

The struggle for actors' subjectivity continues taking place both inside theatre institutions and beyond them, and sometimes theatre and production directors are less dangerous enemies than politicians and clerks. In such a situation, actors can't count only on the good will of their colleagues. Perhaps Frljić didn't ask actors from the Stary Theatre including Krzysztof Zarzecki to participate in the POP-UP theatre project, as in the situation of his cancelled premiere they couldn't take a strong, subjective stand – as actors but also as citizens, political entities (which some of them confirmed by taking part in Monika Strzępka's production). Looking more closely at Zarzecki's intervention during The Un-Divine: Confession premiere – in which, after all is said and done, he participated – and at protests by Polski Theatre actors, we could reach a conclusion that the process of subjection of actors largely depends on them. Even if the Polski Theatre team loses the struggle for their theatre, changes in institutional, community and public awareness that has been initiated and exposed in this struggle is very meaningful and may prove, from a future perspective, much more important.

Translated by Monika Bokiniec

1.'Złe aktorstwo', interview with Jan Sobolewski by Monika Kwaśniewska, Didaskalia, 2016, 136, p. 9.

2. See Witold Mrozek, 'Zwroty:Aaaaktor do wzięcia', Dwutygodnik, 2016, 5, [accessed on 7 February 2017].

3. Joanna Szulbowska-Łukaszewicz, Artysto Scen Polskich, powiedz nam z czego żyjesz?..., ZASP – Stowaryszenie Polskich Artystów Teatru, Filmu, Radia i Telewizji, Kraków 2015,p. 50.

4.Andrzej Leder, 'Relacja folwarczna', Krytyka Polityczna, 2016, 45, [accessed on 15 February 2017]. Leder draws from research conducted by Janusz T. Hryniewicz, who coined the term 'folwark culture' in his book Stosunki pracy w polskich organizacjach (Warsaw: Wydawnictwo Naukowe SCHOLAR, 2007) to describe labour relations rooted in the 16th to 18th centuries and, according to Hyrniewicz, still pervading Polish companies and organisations.

5. Agnieszka Jakimiak, 'Ta dziwna instytucja zwana spektaklem', Didaskalia, 2014, 119, p. 23.

6. Agata Adamiecka-Sitek states: 'In the Modernist-Romantic idiom of theatre the director still remains an artist regarded as marked with genius, and his competencies are to some extent transcendental, which is supposed to justify not only authoritarian practices but also a literally exorbitant distance between pay for directors and other people working on the production'. See 'Teatr, demokracja i zmiana', Tygodnik Powszechny online - dodatek Teatr Ogromny, 25 November 2015, [accessed on 07 February 2017.

7. Artysto scen polskich…, p. 152.

8. Joanna Krakowska, 'Auto-teatr w czasach post-prawdy', in 21 Festiwal Konfrontacje Teatralne 2016, ed. by Marta Keil,, pp. 24-31 and, 2016, 9, [accessed: 7 February 2017].

9. 'Na scenie można zrobić wszystko', interview with Jaśmina Polak conducted by Monika Kwaśniewska, Didaskalia, 2016, 136, p. 21.

10. See Agata Adamiecka-Sitek, 'Poles, Jews and Aesthetic Experience: On the Cancelled Theatre Production by Olivier Frljić', Polish Theatre Journal, 2015, 1,[accessed: 7 February 2017]; Dariusz Kosiński, 'Nothing Else Matters: Jan Klata in Conversation with Dariusz Kosiński', Polish Theatre Journal, 2015, 1, [accessed: 7 February 2017].

11. The polarisation of opinion is very interesting here. Critical opinions about the production and the way Strzępka and Demirski approached the key issue for Frljić's production, anti-Semitism – transferred by Strzępka and Demirski to class struggle – were presented by Marcin Kościelniak, who usually represents leftist views, in his 'Neokatastrofiści', Tygodnik Powszechny,; Witold Mrozek wrote about the production in a neutral but accepting tone in 'Nie-boska komedia Strzępki i Demirskiego.Rok po skandalu', Gazeta Wyborcza, 24 December 2014,; a radical right-wing critic, Andrzej Horubała, used the Stary Theatre production to attack Frljić's idea again, and announce the 'Zwycięstwo Krasińskiego', Do Rzeczy, 6 May 2015,

12. Adamiecka-Sitek, ‘Teatr, demokracja i zmiana’.

13. Nie-Boska. Powidok, rozmowa z udziałem twórców przedstawienia Nie-Boska komedia. Szczątki, Didaskalia,2014, 119, p. 5.

14. Frlijć's assumptions are described in Adamiecka-Sitek, 'Poles, Jews and Aesthetic Experience'.

15. See Agnieszka Jakimiak, Joanna Wichowska, 'Szkic spektaklu, którego nie było', Didaskalia, 2014, 119, pp. 15–20.

16. See 'Nie-Boska. Powidok', p. 5.

17. Agnieszka Jakimiak, 'Ta dziwna instytucja zwana spektaklem', Didaskalia, 2014, 119, p. 25.

18. Jakimiak, 'Ta dziwna instytucja zwana spektaklem'.

19. 'Nie-Boska. Powidok', p. 6.

20. See Adamiecka-Sitek, 'Poles, Jews and Aesthetic Experience'.

21. Adamiecka-Sitek, 'Teatr, demokracja i zmiana'.

22. In an interview I conducted with Jan Klata in August 2014 about public theatre for Notatnik Teatralny. Klata did not provide his consent to publish that interview, saying he would refrain from making certain statements until near the end of his first term. As the interview was not authorised or published, I will not quote from it.

23. Oliver Frljić, Agnieszka Jakimiak, Anna-Maria Karczmarska, Joanna Wichowska, ‘Kraków. Oświadczenie realizatorów ws. zawieszenia spektaklu Nie-Boska komedia. Szczątki', 28 November 2013, [accessed on 9 February 2017].

24. Roman Pawłowski, 'Saper w Starym Teatrze: Jan Klata in Conversation with Roman Pawłowski, Gazeta Wyborcza online, 8 January 2014, [accessed on 9 February 2017].

25. Kosiński, 'Nothing Else Matters: Jan Klata in Conversation with Dariusz Kosiński'.

26.'Bałkańskie strategie', interview with Oliver Frljic and Gorane Injac conducted by Miłada Jędrusik, Tygodnik Powszechny, 12 February 2014, [accessed on 14 February 2017].

27. 'Nie-Boska. Powidok', p. 13.

28. 'Nie-Boska. Powidok', pp. 9–10.

29. 'Nie-Boska. Powidok', p. 10.

30. 'Nie-Boska. Powidok'.

31. Goran Injac's statement presented during the Nie-boska. wyznanie performance. It's authenticity was confirmed by Injac in his conversation with that audience.

32. Andrzej Leder, 'Relacja folwarczna'.

33. ‘POP-UP w Krakowie.Przedstawienia zrodzone poza murami teatru', Gazeta Wyborcza – Kraków online, [accessed on 15 February 2017].

34. ‘Złe aktorstwo’, p. 12.

35. Monika Kwaśniewska, ‘Aktorka znaczy artystka. Dominika Biernat in Conversation with Monika Kwaśniewska’, Didaskalia, 2017, 139/140.

36. 'Warszawa. Konferencja “Instytucja-utopia” w Instytucie Teatralnym', [accessed on 15 February 2017]. Krzysztof Zarzecki was, invited to participate the next day in a more neutral conversation, 'Teatr poza teatrem: pytania o socjologię i antropologię teatru'.

37. 'Niestety, nie jesteśmy ofiarami', interview conducted by Łukasz Grzesiczak, Gazeta Wyborcza – Kraków online, 24 June 2016, [accessed on 15 February 2017].

38. Marcin Kościelniak, 'Neokatastrofiści', Tygodnik Powszechny, 27 January 2015, [accessed on 15 February 2017].

39. Grzegorz Niziołek, 'Lęk przed afektem', Didaskalia, 2016, 131, p. 16.

40. Niziołek, 'Lęk przed afektem'.

41. Niziołek, 'Lęk przed afektem'.

42. Niziołek, 'Lęk przed afektem', p. 17.

43. Ustalenia, które zostały ustalone, directed by Magda Mosiewicz, Narodowy Instytut Audiowizualny 2016, [accessed on 15 February 2017].

44. Jolanta Kowalska, 'Dekada', Dialog, 2016, 12,p. 11.

45. See, for example: Konrad Radecki-Mikulicz, 'Cezary Morawski.Jak wybrano dyrektora Teatru Polskiego we Wrocławiu',, 26 August 2016 [accessed: 27 March 2017]; Magdalena Kozioł, 'Kłopot z przeszłością kandydata na dyrektora Teatru Polskiego', Gazeta Wyborcza Wrocław online, 19 May 2016, [accessed: 27 March 2017].

46. Konrad Radecki-Mikulicz, 'Cezary Morawski…'.

47. 'I co teraz?', conversation between Dorota Buchwald, Paweł Łysak, Piotr Olkusz and Jacek Sieradzki, Dialog, 2016, 10, p. 14.

48. See: Magda Piekarska, 'Piotr Gliński vs. porno w Teatrze Polskim we Wrocławiu. O co chodzi w całym zamieszaniu?', Gazeta Wyborcza – Wrocław online, 21 November 2015, [accessed on 27 March 2017].

49. Magda Piekarska,'Po konkursie na dyrektora Teatru Polskiego Mieszkowski chce zawiadomić prokuraturę', Gazeta Wyborcza – Wrocław online, 23 August 2016, [accessed on 22 March 2017].

50. Konrad Radecki-Mikulicz,'Cezary Morawski...'.

51. Some actions raise various doubts. Meeting Cezary Morawski at Wrocław's central rail station with a return ticket accompanied by a list of demands, for example, was quite unfortunate. That initiative has been criticised by participants – who explained themselves by referring to emotions generated by this situation and by lack of contact with the incoming director – but it harmed the image of protesting actors. See 'Żebyśmy się wszyscy obudzili', a conversation between Anna Herbut, Michał Opaliński and Andrzej Kłak,, 2016, 194, [accessed on 22 March 2017]. Another problematic action entailed actors using sick leave to prevent the theatre from executing its planned repertoire. See Jacek Tomczuk, 'Teatr bardzo polski', Newsweek, 5 April 2017, [accessed on 9 April 2017].

52. Magdalena Kozioł, Magda Piekarska, 'Wrocław. Krzysztof Mieszkowski:Teatr Polski to ja', Gazeta Wyborcza – Wrocław online,11 February 2016, [accessed on 22 March 2017].

53. 'Bogdan Zdrojewski: Krzysztof Mieszkowski pokazał niekompetencję', Gazeta Wyborcza - Wrocław online, 17 February 2016, [accessed on 22 March 2017].

54. Witold Mrozek, 'Zwroty: Dyrektor Słońce',, 2016, 178, [accessed on 22 March 2017].

55. Nowoczesna is a centre-liberal opposition party founded in 2015 by the economist Ryszard Petru, its leader.

56. ‘Wrocław. List protestacyjny ws. konkursu na dyrektora w Teatrze Polskim', – material supplied by authors, 10 June 2016, [accessed on 27 March 2017].

57. ‘Wrocław. Głos zespołu Teatru Polskiego ws. konkursu na dyrektora', – material supplied by authors - 27 June 2016, [accessed on 27 March 2017].

58. Aneta Kyzioł, 'Wrocławski Teatr Polski ma nowego dyrektora. Wybór budzi kontrowersje, aktorzy się buntują',, 24 August 2016, [accessed on 27 March 2017].

59. ‘Żebyśmy się wszyscy obudzili’.

60. See ‘Wrocław. Komunikat Zespołu Teatru Polskiego do Władz, Widzów i Środowiska ludzi kultury w Polsce’, 23 August 2016,, [accessed on 24 August 2017]; ‘Wrocław. Oświadczenie zespołu artystycznego Teatru Polskiego’, PAP, 30 August 2016, [accessed on 24 August 2017].

61. 'Protest we wrocławskim Teatrze Polskim. Nie chcą nowego dyrektora', Gazeta Wyborcza – Wrocław online, 26 August 2016, [accessed on 27 March 2017].

62.‘Żebyśmy się wszyscy obudzili’.

63. Dorota Oczak-Stach,'Klauzula sumienia?Domaga się jej część aktorów Teatru Polskiego', Gazeta Wyborcza – Wrocław online, 13 September 2016, [accessed on 22 March 2017].

64.'Żebyśmy się szybko obudzili’.

65.'Our former director, now a deputy from the Nowoczesna party, is, in my opinion, a brilliant impostor. This is a man who capitalised on his PR, through which he inflated our theatre like a huge, artificial frog. He made my colleagues think they were the most brilliant actors in the world. If that's so, what are they afraid of? That we would invite all audiences without dividing them into better or worse? That we would have to stand on stage and speak up without head-set microphones? That perhaps unfortunately we will have to perform Shakespeare the way it was written? This is more difficult, such theatre is more difficult. It is much easier to mutter something under your breath or scratch your balls. [...] 'Today I ask my colleagues. You, who have been creating this theatre for the last ten years. You were told that you are the greatest, the most wonderful ensemble in Poland. Why was the small change of a person managing the theatre enough to loose your value entirely in the eyes of, for example, [Krystian] Lupa?' From 'TYLKO U NAS - wrocławska aktorka ostro o lewicowym lobby w teatrze', a conversation between Dobromiła Wrońska and Monika Bolly,, 16 February 2017, [accessed on 22 March 2017].

66. ‘Wrocław. Głos zespołu Teatru Polskiego ws. konkursu na dyrektora', – material supplied by authors, 27 June 2016, [accessed on 22 March 2017].

67. 'Mieszkowski took care of his court: actors who had many roles were close to directors and they had money and satisfaction from this, says the actress. But there was also a group of people sitting in the corner, rarely invited on stage and these people did not like what they had seen in the theatre at all. At some point I criticised one production in a private conversation. The director found out about it. He summoned me and reprimanded me that I shouldn't foul my own nest', Jacek Tomczuk, ‘Teatr bardzo polski’, Newsweek, 5 April 2017, [accessed on 9 April 2017].

68. Jacek Tomczuk, ‘Teatr bardzo polski’.

69. Oczak-Stach, 'Klauzula sumienia?'.

70. 'Wrocław.Petru: unieważnić konkurs na dyrektora Teatru Polskiego', PAP, 29 August 2016, [accessed on 22 March 2017].

71. See Piotr Zaremba, 'Nagonka nagrodzona', w SIECI, 21 February 2017, [accessed on 22 March 2017].

72. Grzegorz Chojnowski, 'Cezary Morawski w Radiu Wrocław Kultura (WIDEO)', Radio Wrocław, 7 September 2016, [accessed on 22 March 2017].

73. See Magdalena Nowak, 'Ten protest nic nie zmieni', Gazeta Polska codziennie, 19 January 2017, [accessed on 22 March 2017].

74.'Andrzej Kłak pisze do Cezarego Morawskiego', [accessed on 22 March 2017].

75. 'Last week I was handed the dismissal. Mr Morawski decided to come during the performance Dzieci z Bullerbyn [The Six Bullerby Children] and handed dismissals to Marta Zięba and Anna Ilczuk. Ania is my partner, she was in the theatre privately with our two-and-a-half-year-old daughter, because we were going to buy a Christmas tree after the performance. The director blocked the exit to Ania, and our head of the administration department, Tadeusz Tworek, even resorted to physical means to stop Ania, who was carrying a baby. There was an incident and I did use some unprintable words towards Morawski, but I was not able to react differently. Handing actors dismissals by force, in the corridor next to the toilet, so that they could not finish the performance the way they should, is simply boorish'. Quoted from 'Nikt nie liczy się z naszym zdaniem', a conversation between Anna Kopeć and Andrzej Kłaki, Kurier Porannmy, 29 December 2016, [accessed on 22 March 2017].

76. 'Odchodząca z Teatru Polskiego aktorka ujawnia, co wyprawia nowy dyrektor, rozmowa Magdy Piekarskiej z Małgorzatą Gorol', Gazeta Wyborcza - Wrocław online, 4 November 2016, [accessed on 22 March 2017].

77. Nowe fakty ws. Teatru Polskiego we Wrocławiu.Morawski chce zmienić obsadę 'Wycinki', Onet Kultura, 28 January 2017, [accessed on 22 March 2017].

78. This was evocatively described by Mikołaj Iwański in 'Teatr czy folwark?',, 3 January 2017, [accessed on 27 March 2017].

79. 'Oświadczenie w związku ze spotkaniem dotyczącym Teatru Polskiego we Wrocławiu', Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, 13 February 2017, [accessed on 27 March 2016].

Monika Kwaśniewska

editor of the journal Didaskalia, assistant professor in the Chair of Theatre and Drama, Jagiellonian University in Kraków, and graduate of the postgraduate programme in gender studies of the Institute of the Audio-Visual Arts. Author of Od wstrętu do sublimacji. Teatr Krzysztofa Warlikowskiego w świetle teorii Julii Kristevej [From Disgust to Sublimation: the Theatre of Krzysztof Warlikowski in the Light of Julia Kristeva’s Theory] (2009) and Pytanie o wspólnotę. Jerzy Grzegorzewski i Jan Klata [A Question about the Community: Jerzy Grzegorzewski and Jan Klata] (2016).