A: Stanisław Wyspiański Pf: 1901, Cracow Pb: 1901 Tr: 1904 G: Drama in 3 acts; Polish verse, 4-stress rhymed lines S: Living room of farmhouse near Cracow, Poland, 1900 C: 23m, 12fA noisy wedding celebration takes place in the neighbouring hall, as characters come and go in the living room where the buffet has been set out. We meet the Groom, a writer from Cracow, and Jadwiga, his pretty, simple peasant Bride. They have married in the home of the Groom's brother, a painter, who after also marrying a peasant girl is now a prosperous farmer. Politics are discussed, flirtations take place, and the Priest instructs the young couple. Intellectuals and peasants are united in their desire to return to an independent Poland, free of foreign rule. At midnight, the Straw-man enters, and Phantoms appear: a 16th-century court jester, who wittily interrogates the Journalist; the Poet encounters a heroic medieval Knight about whom he has written; Jakub Szela, leader of the 1846 peasant uprising, appears; finally, they are joined by Vernyhora, the legendary 18th-century Ukrainian bard, who foretold the destruction and resurrection of Poland. Vernyhora gives the Host a battle-horn to rally the peasants for an uprising. However, the horn gets lost, and, instead of rebelling, the wedding guests lay aside their scythes and swords and dance puppet-like to the soothing music played by the Straw-man.
A: Stanisław Wyspiański Pf: 1901, Cracow Pb: 1901 Tr: 1904 G: Drama in 3 acts; Polish verse, 4-stress rhymed lines S: Living room of farmhouse near Cracow, Poland, 1900 C: 23m, 12f
This is a classic of the Polish theatre, frequently performed in the national repertoire. Its call for intellectuals and peasants to unite in the fight for freedom was relevant to nationalist sentiments during the period of Polish partition from 1795 to 1918 when Cracow was under Austrian rule, and has been appropriated by Polish patriots since. Its symbolist use of mythical figures and apparitions provides opportunities for great theatricality.