Grzegorz Niziolek's The Polish Theatre of the Holocaust is a pioneering analysis of the impact and legacy of the Holocaust on Polish theatre and society from 1945 to the present. It reveals the role of theatre as a crucial medium of collective memory - and collective forgetting - of the trauma of the Holocaust carried out on Polish land. The period gave rise to two of the most radical and influential theatrical ideas during work on productions that addressed the subject of the Holocaust - Grotowski's Poor Theatre and Kantor's Theatre of Death, but the author examines a deeper impact in the role that theatre played in relation to the processes of collective disavowal of the fact of being a witness to others' suffering. In the first part, the author examines six decades of Polish theatre shaped by the perspective of the Holocaust in which its presence is variously visible, or displaced. Through an examination of the work of outstanding post-war theatre directors, including Leon Schiller, Konrad Swinarski, Kazimierz Dejmek, Andrzej Wajda and Jerzy Jarocki, the author pays particular attention to the various types of distortion and the effect of 'erroneous seeing' enacted in the theatre, as well as the traces of affective reception: shock, heightened empathy, indifference. In the second part the author considers the impact of the Holocaust in the cruel theatre of daily life and a dramatically divided community of 'bystanders'. It reveals how by testifying about society's experience of the Holocaust theatre has been the setting for fundamental processes taking place within Polish culture as it confronts suppressed traumatic wartime experiences and a collective identity shaped by the past. The Polish Theatre of the Holocaust received the prestigious Jan Dlugosz Prize for the best Polish book in the humanities when first published in Polish in 2013.
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Number of pages: 352
Dimensions: 234 x 156 mm
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