Citizens 1918. A Narrative Show
27 May, 18.00
Zachęta – National Gallery of Art
Plac Małachowskiego 3, Warsaw
Our narrative revolves around the story, related by Józef Wittlin in Sól ziemi [Salt of the earth], of Piotr Niewiadomski, a Hutsul who became a soldier in World War I. We combine it – on a frame-tale basis – with several other stories that have at their centre the ‘peasant body in movement’: sent to fight a war, travelling by foot or train to Bremen or Hamburg, squeezed between the decks on a sea voyage to the United States, taken to Brazil, or fleeing the front to the east in 1915. We use fragments of letters written by Polish migrants in the US and Brazil, excerpts from books such as Martin Pollack’s The Emperor of America or Aneta Prymaka’s Zapomniani uchodźcy. Bieżeństwo 1915 [Forgotten refugees. The Great Retreat], as well as fragments of the peasant diaries published in the 1930s by Instytut Gospodarstwa Społecznego. In all those, we seek an answer to the question of how ordinary people can live their lives when great history and its mighty machinery keep interfering.
We speak, we sing, we lament. In many languages. We scream because in this story there are many reasons to be angry. We could have glossed it all over but instead it’s going to be rough.
Małgorzata Litwinowicz is a storyteller, researcher, cultural animator. Co-founder of the association Grupa Studia O. (1997), artistic curator of the International Storytelling Festival in Warsaw (since 2006). She has performed at international storytelling festivals in Scotland, Turkey, Germany and France.
In 2005, she obtained a PhD at the Faculty of Polish Studies, University of Warsaw. She teaches the history of 19th-century Polish culture, runs workshops for students, cultural animators, and cultural education professionals. Author of academic and popular-science publications.
Jolanta Kossakowska is a vocalist who plays string instruments (fiddle, violin, gusle). Frontwoman of Mosaik, a band that combines Polish traditional music with Oriental influences. She has co-written and performed music with the femi-folk-punk band Pochwalone, and recorded two albums with the Paszport Polityki-winning project R.U.T.A. She is a winner of the Golden Gusle [Złote Gęśle], a special award of the Polish Radio Folk Festival ‘New Tradition’. Author of theatre and film music, songwriter.