Ewa Demarczyk’s Song Theatre

It is genuine ’theatrum mundi’. Its depressed heroes rarely allow a wan smile. Most of the time in many different languages they speak about their tragedies. Their languages differ but the subject remains the same — unhappy, often tragic love.

Ewa Demarczyk appears to feel great affection for the characters of her theatre. Telling their lives she seems to create them in a way. It is just enough to listen to her songs from some fifteen years ago to realize how much they have changed; they have grown more mature, their sorrows have deepened and they have surrounded themselves with protective irony. It is not caustic irony, though, and by no means designed to ridicule the characters. After all, both Rebeca and the cabaret singer she once sang about taken by her out of the thirties and put on the stage look nowadays only a little out of fashion and somewhat embarrased. They can still sing about their love in a moving way.

Among the parading figures we can see the sad violinist, Hertzovitz, who „played beautifully and without a score”. We can see the fallen war heroes from Baczynski’s poems, young as the poet himself, and we watch the ghosts from Trakl’s poetry soundlessly light a lamp in a garden. The whole magic theatre of shadows with Ewa Demarczyk, its mistress who displays her power over them, move slowly in front of us. In the next moment a Gipsy women from a different epoch appears — her knowledge of people is complete and her lashing laughter projects both a great experience and a bitter taste of mistrust. Then one can hear a song dedicated to someone’s grandma which, a moment later, gives way to the charming „Grande Valse Brillante”. The waltz spins out of the stage to make way for the girl from „The Kisses” by Maria Pawlikowska-Jasnorzewska. Her complaint, „I haven’t seen you for a whole month. .. and yet I can live without air to breathe”, is a moving declaration of love. It is like a soundless cry of all bleeding hearts.

In Ewa Demarczyk’s theatre characters come and go. They tell their deepest secrets and their sufferings and reveal their desires. Having put them on the stage, Demarczyk seems to say, „I understand you and I love you”. To us, her audience, she says, „You, too, love them! ” At the end of the spectacle there is moving scene. The characters, lost and clumsy, walk out of the darkness trying to find a place in a world dominated by loud guitars. They make a backing group for Ewa Demarczyk who performs Nicolas Guillen’s „La palma sola“ (A Lonely Palm) . In the overwhelming silence that falls this instant the audience listens to a story of loneliness. Loneliness of a palm, a women, but also of our planet, the earth. The earth which bore Ewa Demarczyk’s great art seems to be spinning alone in the vast Universe in search of love and good.

by Józef Opalski
translated by J. Ossowski