Post-Theatre: Escaping from Theatre, Escaping to Theatre | Plata | Polish Theatre Journal

ISSN 2451-2966


'Pygmalion', dir. Wojtek Ziemilski, premiere: 25.10.2014, produced by ZAMEK Culture Centre in Poznań and Komuna//Warszawa. Photo: Maciej Kaczyński.
Tomasz Plata

Post-Theatre: Escaping from Theatre, Escaping to Theatre


The present article attempts to analyse the works of the emerging generation of Polish theatre artists, with particular emphasis on productions by directors Wojtek Ziemilski, Anna Karasińska, Ania Nowak, Marta Górnicka and Mara Ziółek. The article focuses on the characteristic approach to the spectator in theatre shared by all these theatre-makers; their consistently renewed efforts to expose the spectator’s presence in the course of action on stage, and to comment on this presence and to set it as a subject. The author takes ‘The Emancipated Spectator’, the renowned essay by Jacques Rancière, as a crucial reference point. Conceptions put forward by Rancière are juxtaposed with the work of the discussed artists, and disparities, rather than analogies, are emphasized as a result of this juxtaposition. The article’s closing sections offer a synthetic approach to the specificity of this new formation in theatre – considered in a broad cultural context, and against the backdrop of various manifestations of the so-called culture of the spectacle. From that point of view, the theatre-makers who are described in the article are revealed as being particularly alert to the spectacle’s ever-increasing prevalence. At the same time, emerging these Polish theatre-makers never abandon the structure of a theatre performance, abiding by the belief that theatre, like no other art medium, gives them access to the situation of an encounter, and thus offers them a chance of loosening the restrictions of the spectacle, if only for a moment.


Marta Górnicka; Anna Karasińska; Ania Nowak; post-theatre; the emancipated spectator; Jacques Rancière; Wojtek Ziemilski; Marta Ziółek;

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Tomasz Plata

heads the Department of Theatre Studies at the National Academy of Dramatic Art in Warsaw. He has curated exhibitions and performative actions including RE//MIX, We, the Bourgeoisie, Micro-theatre, 2018. His books include Być i nie być (2009) and Pośmiertne życie romantyzmu (2017). Editor of collective volumes including Strategie publiczne, strategie prywatne. Teatr polski 1990-2005 (2006), RE//MIX. Performans i dokumentacja (2014) and Akademia Ruchu. Teatr (2016). Co-founder of BWA Warszawa Gallery (est. 2011), he was part of its creative team until 2015. Curator of the Akademia Ruchu (A.R. Archive).