Andre Sokolowski
MAGNIFICAT by Marta Górnicka (english and german version), 04.07.2014

Andre Sokolowski

MAGNIFICAT by Marta Górnicka

The Chorus of Women, a performance from Warsaw, at the Haus der Berliner Festspiele,, 4.07.2014 [posted on the blog of Freitag Community member Andre Sokolowski]

The Chorus of Women, a performance from Warsaw, at the Haus der Berliner Festspiele Marta Górnicka is a director
of international renown. Her speciality is conducting (and arranging the mise-en-scène for!) a chorus of women. Its name, simply and movingly, is Chór Kobiet (i.e., The Chorus of Women). It is made up of twen- ty-five power girls of all ages. The director and the chorushave toured the world although, according to reports, some audience responses have been rather extreme. Górnicka recalls aperformance in her home country at which in her own words, “I was spat upon and called a witch.” The incident, which took place in Szczecin, was an exception…

On my first visit to Poland several years ago I made sure to see the Jasna Góra Monastery in Częstochowa, a favourite destination among Polish and foreign Catholics who come to worship the “Black Madonna”, revered by the Poles. According to the guidebook, “She is a patron saint and a national relic. Believers have prayed to her in the worst of times and she has always consoled them.” (Source: Reise Know-How Verlag)

The production “Magnificat” presented at FOREIGN AFFAIRS by Górnicka & the Chorus challenges her (the Black Madonna) and a whole host of other Catholic themes, large and small, found in the Polish universe. The tone is almost atheistic, spiced with a large dose of irony. What a show! It opens eyes and hearts! The general message is roughly as follows: “We, women, are still happy to be mothers, but whom we fuck and how is nobody’s business. And please spare us the story of the virgin!”For us, men, this comes/came through clearly as a cry of self- awareness, as its chant. Certain- ly, Górnicka does not shy away from feminism, as the interview published on her poster makes clear. Moreover, she and “her” twenty-five power girls seem in full accord here. Should I be proved wrong on this count, I might need expert advice, but so far I have found I can usually trust my mind, guts and heart on such matters.

Górnicka directs her performance directly from the audience. She suddenly stands up, throws her hands up, and up on the stage (the small stage of the Haus der Berliner Festspiele) is the group of twenty-five women on the ready. Górnicka sees her function as that of a task master. She distributes her commands for the chorus with precision and a kind of “mysteriousness”. The performance is ravishing, both musically (the chorus can sing, and how!) and gesturally (the chorus can act, and how!). It is both an object lesson and a masterpiece in “stimulating the chorus body” – provided there were specialists and colleagues in the audience, as I hope there were… Absolutely stunning!!!!!

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