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Oratorium closes

Today I’m in Łódź, tying up some loose ends and finishing some work before heading back to Warsaw tomorrow. The “Oratorium” project I’ve been following all week is now over. It opened Thursday and closed Friday. Due to the large number of collaborators–an entire orchestra and orchestral choir, over a hundred student and adult community singers and dancers, plus the entire CHOREA ensemble–it’s not the sort of piece that is easily remounted elsewhere, or extended. I’m so grateful to have seen both of its appearances.

The energy in yesterday’s performance, Friday, was very different than that at the day before yesterday, Thursday, in part because the space was so drastically oversold. There were probably fifty to seventy people without seats in the main space, who ended up in the overflow balconies. My friends and I–two other Fulbrighters, and one former Fulbrighter who still lives in Poland–were on the highest-up balcony. This meant we had a great bird’s-eye view of the choreography, but that some of the intimacy of the sound and staging wasn’t as present. Seeing the performance from the space itself was an overwhelming emotional experience; seeing it from above was a more distant, dreamlike place.

I’ve decided I want to try to make an oral history of this project–that is, an article conducted entirely from interviews. I’m also working on a shorter rehearsal diary-format article about the week leading up to the two performances, and a shortest-of-all sort of summary review of what actually took place at the event.

I’m very happy to be writing about this subject. I’m always happy to be writing, and always very happy to be writing about Polish theater or Greek choruses, but this particular production is embedded particularly deeply in my heart.

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