What Kind of ‘Forefathers’ Eve’ Do Poles Need?
Participants — Dariusz Kosiński (Jagiellonian University), Jacek Kopciński (Institute of Literary Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences), Paweł Goźliński, Jacek Hałas and Małgorzata Piekutowa
The starting point for this discussion will be the theses put forward by Jacek Kopciński in Powrót „Dziadów” czyli dwa teatry (The Return of Forefathers’ Eve, or Two Theatres), published in Teatr magazine (1/2016). In this article, Kopciński outlines the two main perspectives adopted by contemporary theatre makers in interpreting Adam Mickiewicz’s work. The author calls them ‘critical theatre’ and ‘theatre of an imagined community’. Sharing his belief in the validity of this dichotomy, I asked Dariusz Kosiński and Jacek Kopciński to accept – for the purpose of this discussion – the roles of advocates of the two methods to discuss the most interesting and characteristic results of adopting these methods to interpret Forefathers’ Eve on Polish stages in recent seasons. I also asked them to pay particular attention to the communication strategies in the discussed productions, the ways of addressing the message to target audiences. Stressing this aspect should be helpful in trying to answer the question: ‘In what ways and to what extent the productions are part of the most topical cultural and social discussions in Poland today, such as the fundamental debate between the advocates of modernity and the defenders of tradition. Hence the title of the panel, What Kind of Dziady Do Poles Need?, a paraphrase of Jerzy Jedlicki’s classic book, Jakiej cywilizacji Polacy potrzebują (What Kind of Civilisation Poles Need), which defines the eternal vacillations of Polish culture regarding its history, mythology, ideas and delusions.