Between cosmopolitanism and hermeticism
The contemporary stage director Michał Zadara (b. 1976) has specialized in productions of neglected Polish and foreign classics, such as Jan Kochanowski’s seminal neo-classical tragedy <i>Dismissing the Greek Envoys</i> (1578) and Jean Racine’s <i>Iphigènie</i> (1674). Zadara’s cosmopolitan contemporary approach to such plays raises what he calls “the Polish question”: what is the Polish theater’s distinct identity and significant contribution in the larger cultural context of the European Union and globalization? In challenging the tacit presumption of the hermetic and untranslatable character of the canon of Polish verse drama outside of Poland, as well of the translatability of canonical Western texts into Polish, Zadara’s theatrical project reveals and emphasizes the cosmopolitanism and potential contemporary relevance of these texts in performance. Zadara’s theatrical resuscitation of Kochanowski and Racine involves issues of translation in a variety of registers: literary, performative, and political. These issues of translation deeply inform the cultural politics in play between Poland and the rest of Europe, as well as the Polish theater’s relationship to the genre of classical tragedy.