ISSN 2451-2966


Bartosz Frąckowiak

Agon, Passion, Profanation: Challenges for New Political Theatre


In this article, Bartosz Frąckowiak attempts to outline the challenges for new political theatre in Poland. The stake in political theatre is freedom, and the method is identifying power relations and transforming them. People are surrounded by and pervaded by processes and products (also from the symbolic sphere – today even the economy is becoming increasingly symbolic) which they produced themselves, and yet have lost control of. Political theatre should designate new dividing lines between positions, and undermine the existing ones. If theatre merely represents social phenomena, reproducing, reinforcing and legitimising the existing order, one forgets that it is also a device in which centres of power operate, and no performance is innocent. Perhaps a theatre of disillusion should be the answer to the problem of political theatre? This could neutralise various social fictions and deconstruct mythologies. Theatre should rather focus on what is specific to it and missing in other media: the directness of the meeting of the actor with the spectator, the actor’s ‘real’ presence. The space shared between the audience and the actors, the time they spend together, the (un)reality of the affecting bodies and those they affect. The theatre must discover a new aesthetic and new means to find a new shock potential.


agon; critical theatre; conflict; imagination; political theatre; society of the spectacle; theatre of disillusion

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Bartosz Frąckowiak

(1982), deputy director of the Polski Theatre in Bydgoszcz. Theatre director, dramaturge, curator and producer. Graduate of the Inter-Faculty Individual Studies in the Humanities programme at the University of Warsaw and the Artes Liberales Academy inter-university programme. Doctoral student at the Department of Theatre, Drama and Performances of the Adam Mickiewicz University. Made his directorial debut in 2009 at the Wybrzeże Theatre in Gdańsk with Father H, or Angels in Amsterdam, on the basis of texts by Marian Pankowski, and his dramaturgic debut in 2006 with Wiktor Rubin’s version of A Streetcar Named Desire at the Polski Theatre in Bydgoszcz. Since 2010 he has been the president of the board and programme director of HOBO Art Foundation, which works to develop the performing and visual arts with theatrical and performative co-productions and cultural and artistic education projects, striving to erase the boundaries between art and science in order to combine creation with research. His productions include, as director, Komornicka: The Apparent Biography (2012), In Desert and Wilderness. From Sienkiewicz and Others (with Weronika Szczawińska, 2011), the performance lecture The Art of Being a Character (2012), and Agnieszka Jakimiak’s Africa (2014); as dramaturge, plays directed by Iga Gańczarczyk, Agnieszka Olsten, Monika Pęcikiewicz, Wiktor Rubin and Weronika Szczawińska. His articles have appeared in theatrical and socio-cultural publications including Dialog, Didaskalia, Krytyka Polityczna and Teatr.