The first performance of GARDZIENICE, prepared within a few weeks of creating the group, shown for the first time the summer of 1977 in the village of Wola Gardzienicka.

As a rule the performance takes place outdoors and always at dusk, on the border between day and night. It is actually a series of more or less complex etudes, with the participation of one, two, three or more persons, constructed into a whole. This allows for great flexibility, interchangeability of the scenes, which is always dependent on various factors: the existing situation, the terrain, the type of audience, artistic intentions, etc. The performance is never the same, director sometimes knowingly waives some of the most impressive and spectacular scenes for others, just to come back to them again tomorrow. To mention only some obvious factor - the terrain. The same scene gets a slightly different meaning depending on whether it is played on a meadow, on the roof, some hill, in the collapsing barn or on the stone square. The tasks of the director is inspiring actors’ actions, their selection, installation of individual etudes together, watching over the course of the performance.

Rhythm is the organizing factor. All of the components and elements are subject to its laws: music, dance, singing, properly spoken texts, gestures and acting. Performance is dramatically counterpointing, it is marked by full ambivalence, game of opposite meanings. Sometimes, in a split second the tone and mood changes substantially, for example, from the sublime and seriousness to buffoonery. There is no continuous narrative structure, no psychological continuity, one actor or actress plays several characters, "roles" - and rather demonstrates a specific human type, does not show a specific person. Grotesque redrawing, violent shift from one image to another, "jumping" of one scene onto another – those are the most characteristic features of the poetics of this theatre. So the show is associative, discontinuous; it is rather a series of images that refer to associations and ideas living in us. One receives it - in its ecstatic stream and dynamics – through images and associations. It is - in all its concreteness and sensuality - symbolic. And  ostensibly theatrical! This theatricality is extremely possessive, it is to embrace everybody and everything. It works more on the senses and emotions, than appeals to the intellect; stronger on the imagination than on reason.

(...) You can also say that it is best to receive this show simply and directly, as it is received by the rural audience. This is such a reception - contact, which the group hopes for. People in the countryside do not ask, for example, about the sources of the texts, this sort of questions mark the “intelligentsia” viewers of the city. For them it is not necessary for understanding.

They understand it in their own way - and that's good. But if I had to meet the expectations of the "intelligentsia", I would say purely for informative reasons: In addition to excerpts from Rabelais used herein are folk songs, Bogurodzica, or Mother of God, appears next to the text taken from II part of Dziady by Adam Mickiewicz. An Old English song (...) coexists with texts overheard from folk people in the countryside during the Expeditions.

Zbigniew Osiński, 'GARDZIENICE - więcej niż teatr', Radar 12/1979


Directing, dramaturgy and musical adaptation of text: Włodzimierz Staniewski
The first presentations: 1977 in the village of Wola Gardzienicka

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