Reinventing choral machinery, the show casts 25 men who interpret poems by Władysław Broniewski, accompanied by the Imperial March from Star Wars...
After Chorus of Women in 2012, director Górnicka returns to Poland with her third production at the Zbigniew Raszewski Theatre Institute. As the director reveals in a talk with Culture.pl:
RequieMachine is a huge humanist essay on the contemporary system of work. I hope that it will be a radical and politically strong performance, and that it will convey the story of people stuck between the terror of unemployment and being totally overworked. It is a piece about the mechanism of history, and the fascinating relation between language and power. [...] We are trying to go further and to build an entirely new, all-encompassing and very bold form of post-operatic theatre.
The libretto of RequieMaszyna / RequieMachine employs the poetry of Władysław Broniewski, considered by Górnicka as a man entangled in the totalitarian regime of work. She takes up the poet's less-known pieces of the poet, whose work is receiving renewed attention, as well as his letters and socially engaged texts, lectures, fairy tales and children’s rhymes. Broniewski declared "I am the whole-burnt offering of every system", underscoring the dramatic tension between a destructive pressure of ideology and faith in the power of the poetic word, meant to revolutionise the world and, at the same time, retrieve subjectivity.
The texts of Broniewski, rewritten for the choral machinery of a collective body and voice, prove incredibly powerful in a contemporary context. Górnicka hears the socialist hymn for the glory of work resonate like the praise of a large corporate enterprise, and she also draws inspiration from the extraordinary biography of Broniewski and the illness that killed him in 1962. The singers experiment with hoarseness and the sound of a cancer-eaten throat. Through months of rehearsals, the men searched for the particular vocal sound that would render audible a voice trying to get out of the body, but not finding egress.
Górnicka juxtaposes texts and poetry of Broniewski with Benetton’s advertising campaign Become the Unemployed of the Year, as well as contemporary philosophic discourse and the widely familiar Imperial March from Star Wars.
The RequieMachine performance features 25 men and 8 women. The world premiere of the performance takes place on the 24th of March 2013 at the Zbigniew Raszewski Theatre Institute (Instytut Teatralny) in Warsaw. The performance then travels to France in May, with a showing on the 22nd at La Filature - Scene Nationale, Mulhouse. On the 16th of June it will be presented at the Ringlokschuppen, Mülheim an der Ruh in Germany.
Author: Anna Legierska. Translated by Paulina Schlosser