University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The Arts Collection

Page View

Kamarck, Edward (ed.) / Arts in society: the arts and the black revolution II

Bermel, Albert
Book reviews: border country in Poland,   pp. 490-499 PDF (9.4 MB)

Page 499

dismiss the contemporary theatre by
not coming to grips with its variety.
It is literally absurd to suggest that
there is anything in common, other
than approximate coincidence of
dates, between say the refined
classicism of Beckett and the slovenly
romanticism of Genet. Most of
lonesco's early dramas, however, as
well as those of Simpson, Tardieu,
and some other French writers, are
governed by deliberate absurdity.
5. According to Boleslaw Taborski's
valuable Polish Plays in English
Translations: A Bibliography, published
by the Polish Institute of Arts and
Sciences in America, Inc. (New York,
1968, $2.50). Mr. Taborski synopsizes
eight plays by Witkiewicz that have
appeared in English and provides the
addresses of the translators.
6. English translation by C. S. Durer and
Daniel C. Gerould in First Stage, Winter
7. English translation by Adam Turyn,
Polish Perspectives, June 1963.
8. These quotations from Witkacy are
borrowed from Konstanty Puzyna's
"The Prism of the Absurd" in Polish
Perspectives, June 1963. Among Mr.
Puzyna's own critical comments on
Witkacy, the following are especially
interesting: "The dialogue in his
dramas is pitched in invariably the
same key, sounding like the table-talk
of a set of bohemian aesthetes.
. . . There are a number of stock
types which reappear in the plays: the
titanic leader, the tyrant, the artist
or savant, the perverted society whore,
the moppet with the ambiguously
innocent expression.
9. Some examples from The New
Deliverance: "You shine like a splendid
black diamond mounted in a chunk
of rotten pork." "How pleasant it is
to crush people when one is young."
And a line that seems peculiarly
apposite to our policy-makers in
Washington today: "A pragmatist is an
ordinary beast except that he theorizes
his beastliness and tries to make
others believe that it is the only
10. At this writing I have not seen a
production of Tango. It has been
given in English by the Royal
Shakespeare Company (May 1966)
and at the Guthrie Theatre in
Minneapolis (December 1967), but
the New York producer who holds the
option is trying to arrange for Erwin
Axer, who directed the productions in
Warsaw and West Germany, to come
and stage the play in the U. S. It will
be published later in 1968 by Grove
Press. I am grateful to Grove for
lending me an advance draft of Ralph
Manheim's translation.
11. See, for example, section 68 of
A Short Organum for the Theatre,
(in Playwrights on Playwriting),
translated by John Willett, and
especially Eric Bentley's footnote to it
which includes a letter Brecht wrote
Bentley on his view of Hamlet.
12. Daniel C. Gerould deals with this
matter at some length in "The
Non-Euclidean Drama: Modern Theatre
in Poland" (First Stage, Winter 1965).
13. In Stanislaw Grochowiak's King IV
(1963) Fortinbras becomes the
vacillator; he cannot make up his
mind to invade a neighboring country
in which there has been an abortive
14. Polish Plays in English Translations,
p. 48.

Go up to Top of Page