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DOI 10.12887/29-2016-4-116-15

Lilianna DORAK-WOJAKOWSKA – Man and Object in Józef Szajna’s Theatre Work

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The paper is an attempt to describe the complex relations between the actor and the object in Józef Szajna’s theatre work. In Szajna’s art, the human being is subject to reification and is approached as an object. However, in the case of Szajna’s theatre, one can also speak about the opposite phenomenon, namely, inanimate objects getting attributes of living beings: an object would frequently become animated and personified. Szajna was interested in how a human being becomes a mechanism, or an object, and how a human being can animate an object. Thus he focused on the special relation obtaining between the actor and the object (or the actor and the mannequin). As a stage artist, Szajna would often deal with assemblages of human and object characteristics. In his work, an object, introduced onto the stage and marked by destruction, would suddenly reveal human characteristics. In his plays, the actor existed on the verge of his traditionally understood stage existence. The actor’s body, subjected to unnatural shaping (moulding) would bond with the expression of an object. The continuous juxtaposition of objects with animate beings pictured the interpenetration of extreme experiences of life, thus pointing to the coexistence and mutual interaction of organic and inorganic matter in its various dimensions, and with a varying intensity. The actor, treated as equal to the surrounding objects, was made to clearly understand her mission and the reason for her presence on the stage, namely, her participation in a collective morality play exhibiting a humanizing vision of the world.

Keywords: Józef Szajna, theatre, actor, object, mannequin, reification

Contact: Katedra Antropologii i Teorii Teatru,
Wydział Filozoficzny, Akademia Ignatianum,
ul. Kopernika 26, 31-501 Cracow, Poland

E-mail: lilianna.d@interia.pl

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» 116_Dorak_Wojnarowska.pdf

  1. ISSN 0860-8024
  2. e-ISSN 2720-5355
  3. The Republic of Poland Ministry of Science and Higher Education Value: 100.00
  4. Quarterly “Ethos” is indexed by the following databases: EBSCO, CEEOL, Index Copernicus (ICV 2017: 55.26), Philosopher’s Index, ERIH Plus.
  5. DOI Prefix 10.12887