HYMN TO LOVE AT at the 10th DIVINE COMEDY International Festival in Krakow, National Stary Theater

“Marta Górnicka conducts a choir comprised of over twenty people: female and male; dark- and light-skinned; adults, seniors and children. The libretto, written by Gornicka, is a reaction to growing nationalist and right-wing sentiment in Europe; its mission and main goal is the desire to explore the mechanisms responsible for hate speech and fear of the Other. Interweaving fragments of talks by the Scandinavian terrorist Anders Breivik, who killed almost eighty innocent victims, with fragments of Bin Laden’s writings and the European Declaration of Independence, the director deconstructs ways of establishing the kind of political discourses that largely fuel hostility and hatred towards ethnic and sexual minorities. She also confronts violent and radically fundamentalist modes of thought with patriotic songs and pop hits. In one scene the melody of the Polish national anthem is made to sound highly sinister. The project results not only from a rebellion against sexism, racism and intolerance, but also a desire to unpack the myths and beliefs at the core of reactions to the refugee crisis, which often take on monstrous shapes in Poland.

The choir members are professional actors from Polish Theatre in Poznań, but also amateurs and participants in Górnicka’s performance project The Chorus of Women. The performers impress with their discipline and skill: their chanted texts, slogans, practiced gestures and choreographies are synchronized to perfection. Not a single movement or sound is accidental; the director in full control of the whole performance, but appreciates the uniqueness and individuality of every member of the choir. This outstanding theatrical event, the final installment of the trilogy around “Mother Courage”, is built from a rich and diverse conglomeration of voices, songs, shouted remarks, rhythmically spoken lines and a multitude of cultural and political references. In under an hour, it tackles the worst suffering of the modern world.”

HYMN TO LOVE won awards for music, choreography, set design and costumes at the 10th DIVINE COMEDY International Festival in Kraków.

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