A CONFLICT AROUND ‘GOLGOTHA PICNIC’
Besides the tape scandal which has recently been present in the minds of our society, there is another scandal ‘Golgotha picnic’. We entered from political mud into the morass of culture
Within the Malta Festival in Poznan, the spectacle of the leftist Argentinian director Rodrig Garcii, was to have the status of an event. The author is a playwright, who arouses controversies with his spectacles, euphemistically speaking. His works are deeply set in our reality, which the author strongly criticizes. The rottenness of the consumptive world, hypocrisy, conformism are creating our existence. All this is true. Whereas the objection has been aroused by the form used by the director. We could see it in 2009 during the International Theatrical Festival in Wroclaw ‘The world as a place of the truth’. At that time, the spectacles of Garci were performed such as: ‘Cases: Kill in order to eat’ and ‘Bury Mickey Mouse with ashes’. In the first one – an actor kills a lobster on the stage, in the latter one – actors drown pregnant hamsters. When a work cannot defend itself with an idea, it usually reaches for accents shocking a viewer. Here sadism was idolized.
Blasphemy closes a discussion on the freedom of the creator
In ‘Golgotha picnic’ Rodrigo Garcia moved further than killing alive beings on the stage. He reached for the Bible, and it was not the first time. He added the Lord’s Passion to his pessimistic picture of the consumptive world. He accused Jesus of the evil, making Him a deceiver glorifying violence and blood. Garcia is a classic example of an atheist who reaches for issues connected with sacrum. And it results in babble. In one of interviews he expresses his divagations. He says that ‘the iconography of crucifixion is terrible. One cannot accept it but must argue with it. I am trying to speak about it with a sense of humour, but it did not sound too pretentious’. It is not the iconography of the crucifixion which is terrible, but the Lord’s Passion is terrifying. Either on believes it or not. And there is no place here for any disputes, especially the ones characterized with ‘a specific sense of humour’. It results in a simple conclusion – an atheist artist should not reach for the holiest mystery of Christianity, which is the Lord’s Passion, otherwise it results in pretentious, obscene and pornographic wordcap. Garcia considers Beckett as one of his masters. However, in ‘Golgotha picnic’ he did not even refer to the depth of the Irish playwright. Beckett did not have to shock a viewer with iconoclastic pictures. Words are sufficient in order to understand the despair of his nihilism. Spiritual suffering of his characters is so deep that despite their willingness he throws them to the feet of God. Jesus, according to Rodrig Garcia, wallowing among scattered hamburgers, will not encourage a viewer to a deeper reflection.
Rodrigo Garcia had problems with performing his work in Brazil, Austria, Spain and in France. However, the spectacle was not cancelled anywhere. Only in Poznan, at the Malta Festival, this decision was made. It happened as a result of the protests of archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki and lots of the Catholics. The director of Malta Michal Merczynski was scared of the vision of approaching violence. He saw with his eyes of imagination broken windows, hooligans with truncheons. After the cancellation of the spectacle their protest against censorship was expressed by the Citizens of Culture. In this matter a letter was sent to president Komorowski. Over 8 thousand people gave their signatures, among the others: Agnieszka Holland, Magdalena Sroda, Krzysztof Krauze, Andrzej Melczko. And a hysteric action overwhelmed whole Poland. On 26 June in the New Theatre in Warsaw there was a meeting with the director. There were protests in front of the theatre, during which protesters wanted to make it impossible for viewers to enter the theatre. There scuffles with the police. In the auditorium of the theatre a stinking substance was sprayed and the discussion had to be stopped. On 27 June there was a debate with the director on Wolnosci Square in Poznan. It was conducted by Jacek Zakowski. At the same time on the Square of Parades in Warsaw there was reading of the spectacle and the radio was transmitting this event. It was possible to get to know the fragments of the work, read by actors with a great emphasis. Then we heard a vain text changing into a tiring babble. The reading and presentation of the spectacle on video was accompanied by protests, and a rosary prayer. Both the Metropolitan Curia and the archdiocese of Cracow expressed their protest against blasphemous performance of the spectacle. ‘The creative freedom – said cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz – does not give any right to insult religious feelings of the Christians. (…) It painfully attacks what is the holiest in Christianity’.
An admirer of the spectacle
A fervent admirer of the spectacle was the new culture minister Malgorzata Omilanowska who did not see the spectacle, but read its copy. She was impressed by it. ‘I am sure – she said – that Christianity is ready for a debate about me’. What else can we expect from the lover of Fabia Cavalluci from Ujazdowski Castle (presentation of the copulation of an artist with the crucifix), or Jan Klata from the Old Theatre, who, in her opinion, ‘proved with their achievements that they are people of culture, aware of their artistic decisions. They deserve respect and support with grants from the public money’.