Auto-theatre in the era of post-truth | Krakowska | Polish Theatre Journal

ISSN 2451-2966


'Downfalls. Episode 2', dir. Justyna Sobczyk, script by Justyna Lipko-Konieczna, Justyna Sobczyk, produced by Teatr 21, premiere: 22.05.2015. Photo: Grzegorz Press.
Joanna Krakowska

Auto-theatre in the era of post-truth


Detoxification of society polluted with the post-truth and establishing communication with other people under new principles, in the context of fundamental trust, is today the most urgent social need. The politics of post-truth can only by confronted with a utopia of authenticity, nowadays practiced and tested in the most comprehensive way by auto-theatre. Auto-theatre is the kind of theatre in which artists speak from the stage on their own behalf and under their own names, not the names of characters. They refer to their own experiences, explore their personal limitations, reveal their weaknesses, problematize the situation in which they speak, define and question their identities, disclose the backstage of theatrical process, relations inside the team, institutional restrictions, economic conditions, ideological uneasiness. Auto-theatre is not necessarily a theatrical convention, but rather a formula for initiating communication with the audience under new principles.

Auto-theatre can, of course, have many variations, from autobiographical solo performance to elaborate ensemble performances, but always focuses on at least one of two issues: deconstructing the theatre medium into its component parts, and/or empowering participants in the performance.


auto-theatre; post-truth; Anna Smolar; Justyna Sobczyk; Teatr 21; Micro Theatre; Komuna//Warszawa; Paweł Wodziński

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Joanna Krakowska

is a historian of contemporary theatre, editor, translator, essayist. She is a professor at the Institute of Art of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw and a deputy editor of “Dialog” magazine. Author of  Mikołajska (2011) – a biography of an actress and political activist in Communist Poland and PRL. Przedstawienia (2016) – the history of Polish theatre in the period of Communist rule,1945-1989. Co-author of two books on contemporary theatre and politics: Soc i Sex (2009) and Soc, Sex i Historia (2014). The co-editor of the English language anthology (A)pollonia. Twenty First Century Polish Drama and Texts for the Stage (2014) and Platform. East European Performing Arts Companion (2016). Fulbright Senior Scholar at the Graduate Center, CUNY in 2013-2014. As a member of theatre collective she co-authored two theatre pieces: Kantor Downtown (2015) and Pogarda (Contempt, 2016).