1939: Between the Holy Abstraction and the Excommunicated Symbolism
“The History of THE EPHEMERAL (AND MECHANICAL) Puppet Theatre, which gave only one performance of Maeterlinck’s “The Death of Tintagiles” at the student club of Cracow Academy of Fine Arts.
The Director of the Theatre must have reached the conclusion that truly thrilling experiences can never be repeated, for there were no more performances. Some other unexpected obstacles may also have arisen. Then everything was full of mystery, not yet named, in wait for the incomplete and unexpected solutions.
THE UNFORTUNATE FUTURE, which came a little later, must have even then existed in embryo and apprehension, for the THREE SERVANTS from Maeterlinck’s dark castle turned into unfeeling AUTOMATONS spreading DEATH. Beyond hope for deliverance, the little Tintagiles cries behind the iron door. The moon is made of sheet iron and is NAILED to a wooden frame.
The Director of the EPHEMERAL THEATRE is apparently troubled with some inner contradictions.
Should all this be ascribed to the inexperience of youth? Once at a bookshop in Wiślna street he bought a little YELLOW BOOK. He did not even know at that moment that its characters had been dispersed all over the world by a stupid and felonious pack of human beasts.
Walter Gropius, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Oskar Schlemmer, Paul Klee… with difficulty and stubbornness he went on translating their strange captivating texts…
the metaphysical abstractum, the mechanical eccentricity, the triadic ballet, man and the machine, the circus, Triangles, CIRCLES CYLINDERS, CUBES, sounds, COLOURS, FORMS SIMULTANEOUS, SYNOPTICAL, SYNACOUSTIC, in an ecstasy of joy, CONSTRUCTION, a pure OBJECTLESS LIBERATED world, ABSTRACTION… (…)”
Halczak, Anna (sel. and ed.). “Teatr Cricot 2. Informator 1987-1988 /Cricot 2 Theatre – Information Guide 1987-1988”. Kraków: Ośrodek Teatru Cricot 2 – Cricoteka, 1989, p. 67.
The Director of the EPHEMERAL (AND MECHANICAL) Puppet Theatre apparently attached too much importance to all this. But what can one do with the GREAT MYSTERY of Maeterlinck’s little plays, which one has never parted? What can one do with the CHARMS cast by Mr. Wyspiański, with the Wawel Castle, the HUT in Bronowice, with the growing OBSESSION of Kafka’s attics, or finally with Bruno Schulz’s RUBBISH HEAP overgrown with burdocks and nettles…
Such perplexities and conflicts occupied the imagination of the Director of the EPHEMERAL (AND MECHANICAL) PUPPET THEATRE when, in moments of creation, he was in the bathroom. For it was the bathroom that he chose for his studio. Perhaps he did not want others to know that he was also the carpenter, the tailor, the upholsterer and the property man. Or maybe he was forced into the bathroom by the scantiness of space in other neighbouring rooms. This unexplained vagary of his and the aversion to sumptuous salons persisted in him for much longer.
And the inner perplexities and conflicts were soon to be hushed by a terrifying answer and then changed into OTHER perplexities and conflicts.
That’s how it always is and that’s how it ought to be.
Halczak, Anna (sel. and ed.). “Teatr Cricot 2. Informator 1987-1988 /Cricot 2 Theatre – Information Guide 1987-1988”. Kraków: Ośrodek Teatru Cricot 2 – Cricoteka, 1989, p. 67-68.