Poet, playwright, photographer, visual artist, performer. Born in 1981, in Warsaw.
Poet, playwright, photographer, visual artist, performer.
Cecko has long been working on the intersection of various artistic forms promoting the idea of interdisciplinary art. In 2011 in an interview with Przemysław Witkowski he said:
I have always been interested in interdisciplinary activities, but I couldn’t get into the literary circulation. I stopped thinking about poetry as a book or publication in a journal and turned to sound, or the spoken word. The record is nothing but a defective medium. Still, the lack of the book is only temporary; I want to publish my texts written for the theatre performances, which I find very poetic.
- Odra, 6/2011
Cecko has published three volumes of poetry: Rozbiorek (2000), Pląsy (2003) and Mów (2006). As a vocalist – reciter, he has been working on the experimental music scene cooperating with such music groups as: Melancholia, Akryl Trio, 3 Boys Move. He was one of the founders of a poetic group called neolinguists (consisting of Maria Cyranowicz, Joanna Mueller, Michał Kasprzak, Jarosław Lipszyc) and co-author of their joined manifesto of 2002 which read as follows:
We pronounce the death of a sheet of paper, still we are not afraid to rummage through corpses. We choose the screen on which words appear and fade away as if they have never existed. We choose a change, modification and subsequent versions of the system. Nothing has been said once and for all. One should abridge and add words to the Kochanowskis, Mickiewiczes, Miłoszes. There is no original. Originals do not exist and have never existed. There are only copies. Each of them is different. We choose a dialog instead of a decalogue; a catalogue instead of an obituary. - Polityka, November 27, 2007
Between 2000 and 2004 Cecko cooperated with a Warsaw-based independent group Studium Teatralne, where he was an actor as well as a scriptwriter for the performance Parsifal (2004). From 2005 to 2009, he would give a series of performances Cząsteksty at Chłodna 25 café, which he himself referred to as "performing texts alive and aloud". Accompanied by music and video projections, his performances focused on subversively formulated topics, e.g. "bioethical dilemmas of an average Pole", and made an attempt at constructing a new poetic narrative and establishing a new contact between the author and the listeners. Thus, the partly improvised nature of Cząsteksty: samples, off sounds, single words, all forming into an original poetic phrase. In 2009 Cecko presented his collected works as Cząsteksty zebrane during the festival Tekst+Muzyka MiniFest under the auspices of Komuna Otwock.
In 2011 the artist returned to performing poems in a more classical form. In his invitation to a poetry evening Międzynarodowe bogactwo / International Fortune at Chłodna 25, he wrote:
(…) this time I would like to present a return to the Central Eastern tradition of reading poetry sitting in candlelight with the accompaniment of a weeping Japanese guitar with a little heart, just like our mothers and fathers should have done it so that their children were not as lost as they are. (in: http://marcincecko.blogspot.com/2011/11/od-wrzesnia-na-chodnej25-nowy-cykl-tym.html).
At the same time, the artist continued his cooperation with the theatre. He was the author of poems (later issued in a collection entitled "Mów") used in the poetic slam scenes in Cokolwiek się zdarzy, kocham cię / Whatever Happens, I Love You, a performance written and directed by Przemysław Wojcieszek (2005, TR Warszawa); there he also played the role of Leszek. Cecko cooperated with Natalia Korczakowska in her performance Solaris. Raport based on Stanisław Lem's works(2009, TR Warszawa). He also made an artistic tandem with director Krzysztof Garbaczewski, working both as a playwright and scriptwriter for two of his productions: Odyssey based on Homer’s work, for which he also arranged music and video projections (2009, Jan Kochanowski Theatre in Opole), and Życie seksualne dzikich/ The Sexual Life of Savages inspired by Bronisław Malinowski’s anthropological treatise (2011, Nowy Teatr in Warsaw).
Constructed from numerous quotations, borrowings, and "copies" the essayist Odyssey was like palimpsest loaded with a large number of meanings referring to European culture. Whereas what the artists retrieved from Malinowski’s work was mostly the motif of an anthropological excursion to pose fundamental questions about human nature. In 2010 Garbaczewski staged Cecko’s text – Gwiazda śmierci / The Death Star, a variation on the film "Star Wars". The show produced by Jerzy Szaniawski Dramatyczny Theatrein Wałbrzych was staged at the local Zorza cinema, where on a big screen divided into four areas the spectators watched live broadcasts of actors’ actions recorded by several mini-cameras. With regard to its textual aspect, the performance was constructed from poetic monologues and settled accounts with George Lucas’s space saga. The script brought to light literary works and cultural myths which inspired the Hollywood director.
In The Sexual Life of Savages (2011) Cecko was inspired by the pioneer anthropological work by Bronisław Malinowski. In the play he thinks about the concept of the 'savage', speaks of the crisis o identity and creates a vision of a future society. In an interview with Agnieszka Rataj, Cecko said:
Classical definitions of nature and culture change all the time. (...) The concept of nature separated from civilisation starts to crumble, and is replaced by the thought that all that we produce is, in a sense, natural and the subject of evolution. (Życie Warszawy,15.04.2011)
In 2012 Cecko once again collaborated with Garbaczewski, creating text and music for a play based on Witold Gombrowicz's Iwona, princess of Burgundy staged in Dramatyczny Theatre in Opole. The creators received the Grand Prix of the Theatre Confrontations Polish Classics in Opole and prizes for best art direction and visual effects at the Divine Comedy IFF in Kraków. Agata Tomasiewicz wrote:
Krzysztof Garbaczewski and Marcin Cecko look at Gombrowicz's drama from a new perspective. They create a new look on Iwona - she's not an unnervingly indefinite being, but a very concrete woman, who is forced into the realm of sexual initiation. The traditionally understood protagonist acts as a wedge in the structure, which destroys it with its very presence. In this case it's the structure which forces Iwona to change, and therefore enter maturity. ("Iwono, jesteś już kobietą", Teatr dla Was, 24.01.2015)
In 2012 Cecko collaborated also with Radosław Rychcik, creating videos to his Dangerous Liaisons. The play was shown at the Stefan Żeromski theatre in Kielce. At the same time he directed Everyman Jack of You and Forgiveness for La Mama Theatre in New York as a part of Soulographie project. In March 2012 he wrote and directed W/RESTLESS, choreographed by Anita Wach, Magda Tuka and Paweł Smagała. On the page of Komuna Warszawa, we read:
What would a muscle say if we put a microphone in front of it? What fears are hidden in a beaten matress? When can we be sure he fight is real, not a make pretend? How much metaphores do we put in the language of battle, use in our inner voice that tells us 'not to give up'?
In the next year Cecko and Garbaczewski collaborated on three plays: Balladyna (Polski Theatre in Poznań), Poczet królów polskich / Fellowship of Polish Kings which he co-wrote with Agnieszka Jakimiak, Sigismund Mrex and Szczepan Orłowski (Stary Teatr in Kraków) and Kamienne niebo zamiast gwiazd / The Sky of Stone Instead of Stars (co-produced by Nowy Theatre and Museum of Warsaw Uprising on the 69 anniversary of the outbreak of Warsaw uprising).
He also wrote an adaptation of Antigone directed by Marcin Liber in Nowy Theatre in Łódź and text and music of Muzg directed by Tomasz Rodowicz staged by the Chorea Theatre Association in Łódź.
In 2014 the duo Garbaczewski/Cecko showed Sławomir Wojciechowski's Zwycięstwo nad słońcem / A Win over the Sun and Marcin Stańczyk's Solarize on the stage of the Great Theatre-National Opera. Cecko was responsible for the libretto. The operas were created as a part of the P Project, which has the goal of promoting young composers and letting them work for the opera.
Cecko adapted Diabełek Pawełek / Pawełek the Devil based on Pierre Gripari's Contes de la Rue Broca, and directed by Mikołaj Mikołajczyk for the Wojciech Bogusławski theatre in Kalisz. The play was popular among the youngest audience. Later on, he collaborated for the first time with Tomasz Bazan as a playwright of Lśnię / I Shine, inspired by the works and biography of Stephen King, and by one of his most famous novels - The Shining.
Cecko and Garbaczewski met again in 2015 roku to create new adaptations of Shakspeare's classic plays. On stage of the Polish Theatre in Wrocław they showed The Tempest and in Stary Theatre in Kraków - Hamlet. Both plays were very well received both by the critics, and the audience. In his review for Dwutygodnik, Paweł Soszyński wrote about The Tempest:
The Tempest doesn't seem to have any weaknesses. The way everything works together makes the play's unconstraint, the collection of jokes, a cabaret energy are suddenly stopped and enter a weirdly pompous area - laughter becomes less real, weirdly stretched in time, and accompanied by a black echo. One doesn't really know, whether it's a symptom of happiness or fear (...) Garbaczewski and Cecko staged The Tempest in a land of mushrooms, confronting different forms and conventions - it's there that the load is liberated, the from there the lightning is launched.
Witold Mrozek wrote about Hamlet:
Cecko turns the pompous question 'to be or not to be' into an open 'to be or not; maybe'. That is why one scene after the other, they create different ideas for Hamlet, separate worlds, that confine rather than form a cause-and-effect type of chain. (Gazeta Wyborcza, 28.06.2015)
In February 2016 Cecko wrote Fahrenheit 451, which was staged by Marcin Liber in Wybrzeże Theatre in Gdańsk. The play was based on Ray Bradbury's dystopia Farenheit 451. Cecko explained why they decided to work on this book:
In contemporary Polish theatre we are most of all interested in the possibility of a painful diagnosis of contemporary times and deepening the dialogues about subjects that are too quickly expropriated by journalism, and also in the construction of worlds much different from everyday life. W can find all of these possibilities while working on a play based on Ray Bradbury's Farenheit 451.
In her review, Anna Jazgarska described the language of Cecko's protagonists.
The playwright used protagonists from Bradbury's text and took some excercepts of its frame, but all of these ingredients were entwined into the space of his own hypertext, built upon processed quotes, paraphrases and loanwords, mixing the narrative, poetry and Internet language, philosophical discource and scientific babble. The language of Fahrenheit 451's protagonists consists of a mountain of verses taken from different texts, and its poetics depends on the level of intellectual enslavement of the characters. (Teatralny.pl,19.02.2016)
In 2016 Marcin Cecko created the dramaturgy to Garbaczewski's play, which was the author's debut in Berlin's Volksbühne theatre: Locus Solus. The play was based on Raymond Roussel's play from 1914.
Since September 2014 Cecko has been the literary secretary at the Ludwik Solski Theatre in Tarnów.
Author: Monika Mokrzycka-Pokora, December 2011; updated December 2016.