2015 | 64 | 3-4(255-256) | 126-142
Article title

Arlekin Bohomolca i Poliszynel Duranty’ego. O humorze uwolnionym od obowiązków

Title variants
Bohomolec’s Harlequin and Duranty’s Pulcinella. On the Humour Freed from Duties
Languages of publication
The article draws attention to Harlequin’s presence in Polish theatre and his later gradual disappearance from the stage. Two comedies by Franciszek Bohomolec, Arlekin na świat urażony (1756) and Nieszczęśliwe przypadki Panfila (1783), are analysed in detail. Composing the first of them, the outstanding comedy writer was still enchanted by commedia dell’arte (watched in Italy and at the Operalnia in Warsaw) and, additionally, drew inspiration from the traditional folk interplays. In later years, having become a champion of royal reforms and a supplier of didactic comedies for the public theatre, he succumbed to the rules and didacticism of the Enlightenment. The example of the two closely related comedies by Bohomolec is a forceful demonstration that Harlequin was expelled from Polish drama and theatre very quickly, even during the lifetime of the first generation of “national” comedy writers. The grass-roots-level, plebeian comedy in Poland all but disappeared; its traces could only be found in humorous gags incorporated into nativity plays (szopkas). It was not so in Western Europe, where the Harlequin character, driven out of the “serious” theatre, flourished in the puppet theatre—as fair-market and plebeian as himself. In 1861, at the Tuileries Garden in Paris, Louis Éile Edmond Duranty (1833–1880) established his puppet theatre. Among the twenty-four surviving dramas by Duranty featuring Pulcinella, Pierrot and Harlequin characters, there is one strikingly resembling some motifs of Bohomolec’s Arlekin na świat urażony, even though it is more than a century later; it is entitled Polichinelle retiré du monde. The comparison of these three versions of the same motif (two versions by Bohomolec and one by Duranty) confirms the hypothesis that the Enlightenment, in its didactic and moralising fervour, thwarted the development of plebeian comedy. However, whereas in Western Europe the spirit of commedia dell’arte found its refuge in the fair-market puppet theatre, in Poland the gag proved to be effective, and thus we do not have a Polish Pulcinella.
Physical description
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Document Type
Publication order reference
YADDA identifier
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