Concept, libretto, direction Marta Górnicka
Choreography Anna Godowska
Musical assistance Agnieszka Symela
Costumes and set design assistance Maja Wolak, Anna Maria Karczmarska
Scientific and literary assistance Agata Adamiecka
Production The Zbigniew Raszewski Theatre Institute in Warsaw
Maniucha Bikont, Justyna Chaberek, Paulina Drzastwa, Alicja Herod, Anna Jagłowska, Marta Jasińska, Katarzyna Jaźnicka, Ewa Kossak, Katarzyna Lalik, Aleksandra Krzaklewska, Aleksandra Matryba, Kamila Michalska, Marta Ponichter, Anna Rusiecka, Monika Sadkowska, Karolina Szulejewska, Anna Stachowicz, Kaja Stępkowska, Olga Szymula, Iwona Tołbińska, Agata Wencel, Karolina Więch, Anna Wojnarowska
Premiere 13 June 2010
The performance lasts 40 minutes, with no interval
The Chorus Of Women was chosen one of the best performances of alternative and musical theatre in a TEATR magazine survey.
The Chorus Of Women – A modern form of chorus theatre. The libretto of the performance is based on cultural texts including excerpts from Antigone, on works by Barthes, Foucault, Simone de Beauvoir, as well as phrases from everyday language, commercial slogans, recipes, quotations from films and fairy tales. Forgotten notes and the sound of the TV set can also be heard. This modern tragic chorus is composed of women of various professions and various ages. It undermines linguistic clichés and reveals the ideological dimension of language: it speaks with the words of excluded texts. Author Marta Górnicka says of the form: "When modern drama lost the chorus, it deprived itself of a certain dimension of the tragic. We must restore the chorus to the stage and find new forms for its theatrical presence; we have to restore the chorus to women. The chorus of women will shout, whisper and sing. We shall treat words as music. We shall change language into voice, and awaken its subversive force."
Marta Górnicka – Director and singer. She graduated from the Fryderyk Chopin School of Music in Warsaw, and from the Faculty of Drama Directing of the Theatre Academy in Warsaw. She also studied at Warsaw University and the State Drama School in Cracow. She is the author of the film Crave. A Sketch of a Recording according to Sarah Kane, shown at the Revealed/Hidden Festival (Festiwal Odkryte/Zakryte) in the Gustaw Holoubek Dramatyczny Theatre in Warsaw during "Perfoming Events" (Akcje Peformatywne). She has worked with, among others, Robert Wilson on Symptoms / Akropolis by Gabriella Maione and Stanisław Wyspiański in the Dramatyczny Theatre in Warsaw, as well as with Redbad Klijnstra and Butskaja while working on voice in the theatre. She has also recorded a CD with Astor Piazzola's songs for Polish Radio. She has prepared stage readings of dramas (Antigone by Sophocles, and Prisoners by Filippo Tomaso Marinetti) in the Laboratorium Dramatu Theatre in Warsaw.
In inviting 28 women and girls, cooks, princesses, girl scouts and mothers to join the chorus, director and vocalist Marta Górnicka has restored the tradition of collective commentary, accusation and lament, such a frequent motif of ancient tragedies. The chorus girls, squeezed into a small space, sometimes stand in fighting positions, sometimes fall apart, slumped onto the floor or wiggling their hips joyfully in loose groups. Happy preschoolers, seducers, Amazons: you can form any image of this female mass. They chant cake recipes, practise songs for "bad girls upon request" (such as Teach me Tiger by April Stevens), commercial slogans, texts inspired by Antigone or Simone de Beauvoir. Childlike voices: melodious, soft, darkened. The hoarseness conceals erotic invitation, the hoarseness is evidence of an unenviable life. Almost every voice provokes the question: what prompted the owner to stand in this mad, revolted line? (...) This theatrical-social project has many of the features of collective therapy.
Joanna Derkaczew, Gazeta Wyborcza
One of the lines interrupts another, or several resound at once; the chant turns into noise, but when it returns into pure tone there is a tension in it, behind which you can feel the determination of all the singers. This is a chorus on the verge of collapse, performing, as if convinced of its mission, an anthem of integration.
Katarzyna Czeczot, www.krytykapolityczna.pl
Over one hundred women appeared at the casting for The Chorus of Women, a production by Marta Górnicka. They differ from one another in age, life experiences and professional careers. What they have in common is their femininity and the problem of defining it in a way that gets to the truth about them and at the same time avoids numerous stereotypes. (...) The Chorus of Women represents feminine disagreement with imposed visions of femininity. Shouted, chanted, sung and whispered disagreement for voices, solo and chorus. Constructive disagreement.
Aneta Kyzioł, Polityka