THE PRISON GOVERNMENT
by Anna Hackiewicz
In Jacek Łumiński's works interpretation plays the main role – an interpretation grounded in Polish culture. ''Panopticon or/and Parable of the poppy'' resonates with meaning for the Polish. But through these meanings one can also see a universal message. Here he presents one concept of a prison: the 18thC Panoptikon, analysed in a multi-national dimension by Michel Foucoult. In this work-in-progress, Łumiński develops the Polish meaning of the prison which in his performance also achieves a world perspective.
The audience observed the prisoners in a construction of a jail, enclosed in Szombierki Power Plant. Jacek Łumiński like Jerzy Grotowski incorporated the audience into the performance, placing them in an unseen control tower where they are influenced by the action, but without physical integration. Nevertheless, they are always present in the actors' minds.
The choreographer provided a key to the interpretation of power. Here the prison means the source of power. The performers were deprived of an overt legal system, so they became their own oppressors, they created their own rules. In the communist time we were [observed by the political machine and now, in the contemporary, democratic world - we spy on eachother.
The power passed from one hand to another. Gender plays an important role in the structure. At first the women position the male dancers in the space and later the men show the female dancers their place in the system. Everyone examines everyone else. The others: at Sylwia Hefczyńska's back was a light of the „audience eye”; one dancer read, as if to a mass-meeting information from the newspaper about Polish politicians, to throw light on some problems of the political system in Poland.
It is interesting to see how Łumiński explores, assimilates and translates these texts into movement language. The construction of the performance contains his interpretation of topics and poems - . ”symbolic movement”. Sylwia Hefczyńska in her solo employs movements which remind us of circles. And the circle means a ritual, something coming back, and back, and there is no end of it. What might mean the constant fight for power. These circles also mean the barriers of the one society in which these rules exist- it is in „all nationality's poppy head” as suggested by the poems of Czesław Miłosz, included in the program of the show. Miłosz was a poet who was a Polish emigrant, condemmed by the communist government and Federation of Polish Writers, and who was known as a critic of communistic legal and nationalistic system.
It is part of our national Microcosmos that we don't see the rest of the world. We became ethnocentric and infatuated with our country and culture. The dancers spoke to each other in different languages, suggesting that they were trying to control other nationalities. The problem became a national dimension. Sometimes one country refuses to recognise minorities or the rights of other countries. Through this part of the performance the Polish area expanded to embrace a world dimension.
Jacek Łumiński took up the problem of democratic law in this work. He illuminates the problematic nature of freedom. The choreographer has created a performance full of symbolic situations with many meanings.
Nationality is a skin from which one can't simply run away, as we have grown up in it, and art is a way to express this.
And the dancers were rushing to the walls but only to fake an escape.