HYMN TO LOVE
HYMN TO LOVE for orchestra, stuffed-animal choir, and others is a show about Europe closing its ranks. Nation after nation is crying out: “Give us back our country!” And Poles are eagerly joining in the chorus. It is also a show about how every nation loves to forget. And how human time-bombs are so furious they’re blowing their fuses. Thus, history repeats itself. So, just for us, the chorus will sing The Song of the Forgetful Nation:
“The TRUTH is that this NATION let all of this happen. It let certain of its children, the chosen children, die, even though they were never its children, children of that nation. OK. So that makes it all right. And, anyway, it wasn’t THIS country but THAT ONE: (high and low) GERMANY. And we don’t know anything about it. WE DIDN’T SEE IT HAPPEN. Certain facts have been tailored to fit the story. And since it’s only been a short time that we’ve had this country and this nation for OUR VERY OWN, we fight, fight to make it OUR country, our POLAND, ours and OURS ALONE.
So we can’t afford to take in those Fugitives now, either. Oh, we simply can’t allow that. We have a lot of room but it’s not enough. We can’t squeeze anything more in. We can love them when they’re at home where they belong, and anyway it’s those who are to blame who should help them first. Besides, they’d come and grab all the special offers on smartphones, and seize all the bargains and discounts.
And the thing about us Polish people is…
A GUEST IN THE HOUSE IS GOD IN THE HOUSE
…we sure do love low prices!”
HYMN TO LOVE is the last piece in the director’s European triptych inspired by Mother Courage. The image of an orchestra playing music in death camps and the Holocaust are a starting point for Górnicka to address the rise of present-day European nationalism and the migration crisis. In her libretto to HYMN TO LOVE, Marta Górnicka exposes the obscene language of politics today, quoting statements by fundamentalist fighters and terrorists (including fragments of Anders Breivik’s manifesto 2083 – A European Declaration of Independence, and speeches by ISIL leader Abu Bakr al- Baghdadi and Osama bin Laden) alongside speeches made by legitimate politicians. Górnicka mashes up Internet hate-speech with pop lyrics and patriotic songs. She makes use of musical and ritual structures, and samples national anthems and fragments of church liturgy in an attempt to determine where the song that emerges out of all these sources might take us.
“In HYMN TO LOVE, I’ve composed a monstrous “national songbook”. I believe that the Chorus as a community-character can show how unconscious mechanisms of community function. Its song reveals the cruelty of a community bound together by love of the fatherland, in which only its own people exist. Such a love is a perverse realisation of the commandment “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” ›You must honour me for my seventy-seven victims‹, says Anders Breivik, “actions like mine save hundreds of thousands of people who would otherwise meet their demise in a future civil war. I put the world in order. I come to heal”. (Marta Górnicka)
HYMN TO LOVE, HYMNE AN DIE LIEBE, HYMN DO MIŁOŚCI, HYMNUS NA LASKU
Conceived, written and directed by: Marta Górnicka
Music: Teoniki Rożynek
Choreography: Anna Godowska
Dramaturgy: Agata Adamiecka
Set design: Robert Rumas
Costumes: Anna Maria Karczmarska
Puppets: Konrad Czarkowski (Kony Puppets)
Lighting design: Artur Sienicki
Producers: Izabela Dobrowolska, Agnieszka Różyńska
Assistant to the director: Arnold Prządka
Assistant to the choreographer: Anna Krysiak
Assistant to the costume designer: Agnieszka Majkutewicz
Vocal coach: Joanna Piech-Sławecka
Technical director: Andrzej Szwaczyk
Sylwia Achu, Anna Andrzejewska, Maria Chleboś, Konrad Cichoń, Piotr B. Dąbrowski, Tymoteusz Dąbrowski, Maciej Dużyński, Anna Maria Gierczyńska, Paula Głowacka, Maria Haile, Anna Jagłowska, Wojciech Jaworski, Borys Jaźnicki, Katarzyna Jaźnicka, Ewa Konstanciak, Irena Lipczyńska, Kamila Michalska, Izabela Ostolska, Filip Piotr Rutkowski, Michał Sierosławski, Ewa Sołtysiak, Kaja Stępkowska, Ewa Szumska, Krystyna Lama Szydłowska, Kornelia Trawkowska, Anastazja Żak
Co-produced by: The CHORUS OF WOMEN Foundation, Polish Theatre in Poznan, Ringlokschuppen Ruhr, Maxim Gorki Theater
Partners: Goethe-Institut, Center for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle.
Project co-financed by The City of Warsaw, The City of Poznan and Kunststiftung NRW
Polish-Premiere: 21.01. 2017 Polish Theatre, Posen
Deutschland-Premiere: 11.06.2017 Maxim Gorki Theater, Berlin
French- Premiere: 13.11.2018 Théâtre des Célestins, Lyon
HYMN TO LOVE has been presented at numerous theatre festivals in Europe: in Austria (Festival of Regions in Machtrenk), Greece (Athens and Epidaurus Festival), Germany (Berliner Herbstsalon Festival at GORKI THEATER, SPIELART Festival in Munich, Lessingtage Festival at the Thalia Theater in Hamburg, ASPHALT Festival in Dusseldorf, France (SENS INTERDITS at the Théâtre des Célestins, Théâtre le Maillon and NEXT Festival in Villeneuve d’Ascq), Italy (Mittelfest Festival), the Netherlands (SPRING in Utrecht), Russia (New European Theatre Festival in Moscow), Czech Republic (Mezinarodni Festival Divadlo), Switzerland (ZURCHER THEATER SPEKATKEL, Theatre Basel, Theater CHUR) also in Poland as part of the DIALOG International Theatre Festival in Wrocław and the Divine Comedy International Festival in Krakow.
HYMN TO LOVE won a number of awards for music, choreography, set design and costumes at the 10th DIVINE COMEDY International Festival in Krakow (2017).
In the ranking of the “TEATR” monthly, HYMN TO LOVE was recognised as THE BEST MUSICAL PRODUCTION IN POLAND in the season 2016/7.
Renate Klett, THEATER DER ZEIT
HYMN shows sharply and powerfully the brutal language of contemporary politics and the resurrected ideology of inhuman nationalism! Górnicka activates a political choral machine of crushing power and creates a virtuoso remix of texts delivered by 25 different performers, women and men, professionals and amateurs, elderly, disabled, children, in order to face, this time, the political reality of their own country and Europe.
Alexandra Kedves, TAGES ANZEIGER
Brilliant and horrifying
Egbert Tholl, SUEDDEUTSCHE ZEITUNG
Marta Górnicka’s masterly play transforms the rage caused by the political situation into music
Daniele Muscionico, NEUE ZURCHER ZEITUNG
Górnicka retrieves the ancient chorus as a figure of representation and a tool of emancipation in theatre. A voice for the voiceless, dignity for the excluded, justice for those deprived of rights. Adorno called the poem a “barbarity” after Auschwitz. Górnicka pronounces hers through a human army in a pacifist way. It is true: Art is barbarity!
Egbert Tholl, Eva-Elisabeth Fischer, SUEDDEUTSCHE ZEITUNG
As long as Marta Górnicka exists, Poland has not perished indeed. And as long as there are plays like this one, plays that manage to find the perfect stage means of political communication, the Polish theatre will live on. „Hymn to Love” is one of the few productions of this year’s „SPIELART” festival which have an autonomous and independent effect, without requiring a broader context of the whole.