On the Common Good: The Institution of the Chorus and Images of a Nation in Marta Górnicka’s Theatre | Kühling | Polish Theatre Journal

ISSN 2451-2966


Jan-Tage Kühling

On the Common Good: The Institution of the Chorus and Images of a Nation in Marta Górnicka’s Theatre


In the present text, I would like to examine images of ‘nation as community’ in Marta Górnicka’s theatre. By analysing the performative reading of Konstytucja na Chór Polaków [Constitution for a Chorus of Poles] and the production of Hymn do Miłości [Hymn to Love] (Warsaw, 2 May 2016 and 21 January 2017, respectively), I would like to argue that Górnicka’s theatre deliberately comes to grips with the category of Polish nationality, in that it not only alludes to such crucial artefacts of a nation as constitution, national anthem or poetry that is a vital part of the Polish cultural canon – but also makes references to current political developments, both in Poland and across Europe. The chorus plays a unique role in Górnicka’s theatre: regarded as an institution separating diegetic universes, it presents a prismatic image of a community in which the concept of what is recognised as alien and our own is reconfigured. In addition, the chorus plays the role of a critically minded character, exposing the current rise of nationalist tendencies, and the aporias of our liberal democracy.


choral theatre; communality; nationality; institution; the political

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Jan-Tage Kühling

graduate from cultural studies, theatre direction and applied theatre studies in Giessen. He is currently working on his doctoral dissertation in the Chair of Media Ecology in Potsdam and in the Institute of Theatre and Media Arts at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań. He has worked as theatre director, culture animator and curator in Germany and Poland. He has published texts in Polish and international monographs. He is interested in a broadly conceived theatre politics, performance ecology and theories of transculturality. He is a member of the Poznań branch of the Political Critique. His research is supported by the Heinrich Böll Foundation in the form of a three-year doctoral scholarship (2016–2019).