Virginia teens breathe life into Galczynski's work
- VIRGINIA TEENS BREATHE LIFE INTO
GALCZYNSKI's GREEN GOOSE THEATER
Norfolk, Virginia, February 25
If you walked through Norfolk's downtown this week, you'd be
surprised as I was. What caught my eye was a big sign
saying "ZIELONA GES." My first reaction was "What?!!!" At first I
thought my mind was playing a trick on me, but when I looked again,
the sign was still there...
Along Granby Street and perhaps in other locations in and around
Norfolk, posters affixed on storefront windows invite people to
see "The Little Theater of the Green Goose" by Konstanty Ildefons
Galczynski, presented by The Governor's School for the Arts (GSA)
Department of Theater. For real.
In case you don't know, like I didn't know, what the Governor's
School for the Arts is, it's a high school for artistically talented
youths. Teenagers attend it parallely to their regular high school,
somewhat like the musical high schools in Poland.
"The Little Theater of the Green Goose" [Teatrzyk Zielona Ges] is a
collection of hilarious sketches commenting on some of the
absurdities of contemporary life. Galczynski published his Green
Goose pieces in Przekroj magazine over several years after World War
II. Eventually "Teatrzyk Zielona Ges" became a theater play; it has
been available in English since the 1970s.
I had the luck of being in Norfolk on the opening night of the "Green
Goose." The premiere was sensational! With all due respect to high
school theaters, what I saw was not your typical high school
theater... These kids played like pros. Their energy reminded me of
those enthusiastic first-time Olympians we saw on TV recently. They
must have worked really hard to prepare for this show, yet their
performance will be seen by audiences on only a few days. Moreover,
you could see that these students enacted the various satirical lines
and scenes with great understanding. Those teens are sharp! How was
it possible for them to understand all those allusions to historical
events and other works of art?... In the theater program, director
Steve J. Earle explains:
"Our rehearsal process began by spending four weeks researching the
playwright and Poland during World War II. Next, we discussed what
Galczynski might have been alluding to in the individual pieces.
Then we worked to bring contemporary meaning to the sketches. During
the process, we discovered an amazing connection [between] his world
of the 1940's and ours today."
Indeed the director's and the students' interpretation of
Galczynski's text related quite well to today's events as well as
current tastes, including references to Osama and experiments with
body painting. The jokes were in tune with today's sense of humor
and the artists' kept the audience LOLing.
The bottom line is this: those who will go to see the performance
will have a good laugh and forget about outside reality for a
while... which is what is needed today once in while as much as it
was needed during the war or soon after it.
GSA's fascinating multiracial cast features the following rising
stars: Shaquera Alls; Sean Blue; Whitney Dorband; Tanisha Giddens;
Jacob Pennington; Tara Sheekly; Samuel Ball; Justin Demming; Liz
Fenning; Danielle Mazur (!!!); Anthony L. Sanford, Jr.; and Meghan
White. The set was designed -- in a way much like it would have been
designed in a similar avant-garde theater in Poland -- by Shawn
Crawford. Joseph Jankowich was the assistant stage manager. By the
way, he is fourth-generation Polish American. How do I know?
Because I happened to sit between his proud mom and Shaquera Alls'
proud mom. There were many proud moms and dads in the audience that
evening, people coming from various backgrounds. :-) They probably
would have never socialized with each other if it weren't for their
children's commitment to theater.
"The Little Theater of the Green Goose" will be played by this
company only three more times... on March 1 and 2 at 8 p.m. and on
March 3 at 4 p.m.. The venue is called GSA Black Box Theater and
it's at 254 Granby Street in downtown Norfolk.
Personally, I think the performance deserves to be shown in
Washington and other cities. Any ideas on how to arrange that?
If you can get to Norfolk on one of those evenings, I guarantee you
that the show will be worth your trip. If you're traveling from far
away, make sure you reserve your tickets because the show can be sold
Temporarily in Norfolk, Virginia, USA
INFO IN POLISH ABOUT GALCZYNSKI
GOVERNOR'S SCHOOL FOR THE ARTS