The beginning of the beginning

It’s been a busy couple of weeks, including a conference for all the Warsaw Fulbrighters where we gave presentations from our research or teaching experiences, and a graduation celebration yesterday at the American Ambassador’s house, where we met next year’s group of Polish Fulbrighters heading to the US next year. Both of these events were lots of fun–a great way to round off the Fulbright year. Many of us are heading home in the next couple of weeks.

Here I am during my presentation, “Contemporary Polish Theater Directing Practices,” with fellow Fulbrighters D. Han and S. Willenbrink; our panel also included W. Helmcke.

Here’s my abstract for the paper:

This presentation will broadly characterize some elements of contemporary Polish theater directing practices. Case studies will include Warsaw’s Chór Kobiet (Chorus of Women), Teatr Cinema Michałowice, and Łódź’s Teatr Chorea–one of the group of Polish theaters with a historic connection to director Jerzy Grotowski. These theaters will be examined with regard to their rehearsal processes, ensemble work, improvisation, use of text, and use of theatrical forms resembling Greek choruses. The conclusion will reflect on how some Polish theater directing practices might be applicable or useful to practitioners outside Poland.

The proceedings of our conference are going to be published this summer, so I won’t quote the paper any further here.

After the graduation ceremony (and receiving diplomas) at the Ambassador’s house on Friday, we then headed back to the Fulbright Commission’s offices on Nowy Świat for our end-of-year meeting. There was a great surprise for those of us renewing; we were able to sign and turn in our renewal paperwork at that time. It felt very good to see the paperwork for next year’s grant. As one of the other Fulbrighters was saying, in the offices, “This isn’t the end; this is just the beginning of the beginning.”

It’s been a fantastic year here in Poland, and it’s not over yet. These last weeks have been full of culminations and much-welcome houseguests and visitors and exhibitions and performances as the year wraps up. (Somewhere in the middle of all this, Chorea’s Bachantki also performed two more times, in Łódź, and I got to sing in the choir again.)

In addition, I’m presenting a sort of performance myself, another reading, on June 3rd, which will be a real culmination for me–my first time directing something public in Poland, after so much time spent analyzing the work here. About which more, very shortly.