Archive for Allen Ginsberg

Ginsberg in Nowa Huta

Posted in Poland with tags , , , on December 10, 2010 by Louise Steinman

last night’s performance (by Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowski and Thomas Richards) based on Ginsberg’s long poem “America” was the perfect conclusion to the Boska Komedia festival for me. An international cast of actors sang, danced, pounded, intoned, laughed, sobbed… “I’m going to pray all night with the water up to my knees,” eliding Ginsberg’s scathing text with powerful slave chants and Appalachian Balkan fusions. how did they do it? their appropriate of American critique was very timely very beautiful as it was also infused with insane hope and transcendence. To hear young Poles proclaim:

America you don’t really want to go to war.
America it’s them bad Russians.
Them Russians them Russians and them Chinamen. And them Russians.
The Russia wants to eat us alive. The Russia’s power mad. She wants to take
our cars from out our garages.

and to see the Polish translation appear on the screen, and to hear this in a theater in Nowa Huta, the workers utopian utilitarian uber-urban landscape designed and built for Krakow’s resentful working classes by Stalin’s minions after the war, the perfect planned city wide boulevards and workers bath houses, eerie ironies… and the bacchanal ended with all of us chanting OMMMMMM. Hey Allen, the Poles are singing your songs in snowy Krakow on the last night of Chanukah, and I”m gonna pray all night with the water up to my knees.

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