TWENTIETH CENTURY POLISH AVANTGARDE DRAMA by Danie!--Ed. Gerould

TWENTIETH CENTURY POLISH AVANTGARDE DRAMA

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A nearly book-length introduction by editor-translator Gerould (Eleanor Gerould is the co-translator) nearly overshadows the collected items--two full-length plays recognizable as such, three essays from playwrights, numerous short sketches and scenarios, and the ultimate in anti-theater theater: a ""biography of a play,"" a playwright's journal of ideas (and writer's block) that could presumably be converted into a staged occurrence. S. I. Witkiewicz' The Anonymous Work (1921), unpublished and unperformed in the author's lifetime but rediscovered as part of the ""Witkacy"" revival in the 1960s, is a prophecy of the collapse of Western civilization through revolution; the dramatist's anti-Stanislavsky notes on acting follow. To Pick Up a Rose (1942) is the only play of Andrzej Trzebinski, a 21-year-old underground activist killed by the Nazis in 1943; his apocalyptic vision is encased in the ping-pong game room of the ultramodern Hotel Morocco. From the late 1940s come 22 of the hundreds of absurdist playlets--fantasies, nonsense, parodies--that K.I. Galczynski contributed to a literary magazine in Cracow, imagining them as the offerings of ""The Little Theatre of the Green Goose."" And scenarios from two student/street theaters, Bim-Bom and its Afanasjeff Family Circus offshoot, include ""The Professor"" by Slawomir Mrozek, who is well-known in the West for Tango. That most famous of Polish avant--gardists, Jerzy Grotowski, is discussed briefly in the introduction but otherwise plays no role in this specialized assemblage.

Pub Date: March 15th, 1977
Publisher: Cornell Univ. Press