Stagings of The Dybbuk in Poland

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Polish version
Instytut Teatralny im. Zbigniewa Raszewskiego, Warszawa

Stagings of The Dybbuk in Poland

The exhibition presents theatre performances of The Dybbuk written by Szymon An-ski, created in Poland over a period of a hundred years between the Warsaw premiere on 9 December 1920 and the present day.]

The exhibition does not encompass the fully preserved Yiddish film made in 1937 in Warsaw and Kazimierz Dolny, directed by Michał Waszyński, the film is, however, mentioned several times in the exhibitions commentaries.

The exhibition also deliberately ignores the legendary Habimaʼs Dybbuk, staged in 1926, 1930 and 1938 in Polish cities. It is not included in the exhibition because it was staged in Hebrew by Yevgeny Vakhtangov in 1922 in Moscow in the Soviet Union, and then resumed in Tel Aviv in the Land of Israel.

As part of the exhibition, we do, however, recall the performances performed by Jewish troupes in Yiddish and Polish in the interwar period – mainly as part of the series of performances by Marek Arnstein, who operated on the borderline of both cultures. The exhibition also presents the performances created and performed by Jewish troupes in Yiddish and Polish after 1988 – in the context of remembering the Holocaust. The centennial stage history of The Dybbuk allows us to reflect on the coexistence of the Poles and the Jews and the way their theatres interweaved with and permeated each other.

The exhibition encompasses only the most acclaimed Yiddish performances from the interwar period that have been outlined in literary sources. Other performances have been omitted due to poverty of available information on the repertoire of Jewish theatres in Poland. What is more, the documentation of the Polish performances of the interwar period is not complete either, since we could not afford thorough research that so far no one has undertaken. Nevertheless, the exhibition presents several previously unknown findings. And if there are source materials that we have not reached, we will try to introduce them to the exhibition at a later stage.

In the case of contemporary post-dramatic stagings, based on compilations of various texts, the factors that made us decide to include the work in the exhibition were – the presence of Szymon An-skiʼs name on the poster, as well as the presence of fragments of his play in the screenplay. Paraphrases signed with the name of a playwright or director other than An-ski were therefore omitted.

The exhibition was developed at the Zbigniew Raszewski Theatre Institute in Warsaw within the framework of the “DYBBUK Centenary” project financed from the funds of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of Poland, within the scope of the Multiannual Program INDEPENDENT 2017–2022.

Documentation of performances and comments: Rafał Węgrzyniak
Graphic design and realization of the exhibition: Janusz Legoń
Translation: Katarzyna Pastuszak