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2013 | 62 | 2(246) | 5-18

Article title

O widowiskach staropolskich


Title variants

On Old Polish Spectacles

Languages of publication


The author presents the world of old Polish spectacles by combining performative and ethnoscenological perspectives. On the one hand, he makes use of his own definition of performance as a causal action while, on the other hand, attempting to distinguish the sphere of old Polish spectacles and pinpoint its unique features. In his analysis, he eschews any theatrocentric classification of performance phenomena. The middle part of the article discusses Julian Lewański’s research on old theatre and stresses the novel way in which he looked at various sides of stage creation using classifications derived from sociology. The last, and the longest, part is an attempt to combine the methodological assumptions discussed in the previous sections. Its title, “Power and Spectacle,” is a deliberate reference to the thought of Michel Foucault and Jon McKenzie. Adoption of such a point of view leads the author to distinguish the concepts of direct and indirect performatives, which may be exemplified by a public execution on the one hand, and the drowning of Marzanna on the other. At the same time the author proposes to replace the sociological classification put forward by Lewański with one that differentiates the kinds old Polish spectacles in relation to centres of power: the Church, secular authorities, and school situated on the borderland between them. The author, however, does not ignore the “prehistoric” sphere of spectacles functioning at the lower, or deeper, levels of culture that the aforementioned typology fails to grasp. The whole text is set into a frame of metaphors relating to old and modern visions of cosmos.







Physical description


  • Instytut Sztuki Polskiej Akademii Nauk


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Document Type

Publication order reference


YADDA identifier

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