ISSN 2451-2966


Agata Adamiecka-Sitek

How to Lift the Curse? Director Oliver Frljić and the Poles


The text is a critical assessment of various aesthetical and political strategies used in The Curse directed by Oliver Frljič. It starts with the hypothesis that what is staged in the performance is not only the problem with which it is overtly dealing (namely dominant position of the Catholic Church in Poland) but also mechanisms and symbolical codes that surround and condition theater as such. It is only together with the excessive and often highly ideologized reactions by the press and audience that one can understand it as the theater in the extended field. Its critical load but also its gentleness, or even tenderness. The biggest scandal in the Polish theater of the last years is in fact organized around a fundamental deadlock, which points at the emptiness of the society by and large. Thus the real curse consists of the repetitive clash between the utopian vision of critical art and the overwhelming production of fake symbols organizing society around the quintessential, yet undisclosed, void. The performance acknowledges this deadlock and exacerbates in order to exorcise it. And perhaps its strongest effect stems from the fact that it is impossible to distinguish between its success and its failure.


Affect Theory; Critical Theater; Ideology; Aesthetics and Politics; Catholic Church

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Agata Adamiecka-Sitek

(1974), graduate in cultural studies from the University of Silesia. Author of the book Teatr i tekst. Inscenizacja w teatrze postmodernistycznym (“Theatre and Text. Staging in Postmodern Theatre”, 2006) as well as several dozen essays and articles published in the magazines Dialog, Didaskalia, Teatr, Notatnik Teatralny and collected volumes. Founder and editor of two publication series – Inna Scena and Nowe Historie – and editor of numerous books on theatre. Recently led the project and was on the editorial board of the first edition of Jerzy Grotowski’s Teksty zebrane (“Collected Texts”). Works at the Zbigniew Raszewski Theatre Institute, where she manages academic projects, including a programme of research on Polish theatre from a gender and queer perspective. Research on construction of gender and sexuality in Grotowski’s theatre was also the subject of the semester-long course which she designed in 2011 for the Jerzy Grotowski Institute. Worked with Marta Górnicka on the Chorus of Women project. Teaches at the National Academy of Dramatic Art, as well as gender studies at the Institute of Literary Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences.