MAKE A CABARET! On the history of laughter and XI muse

Grown up on the wreckage of World War II, under the auspices of the authorities and in independent cabaret circles, student theaters and Cracow laughter academies.

In the beginning was Krakow

And in it – Boy-Zhelensky, “Zielony Balonik” and the famous “Jama Michalika”. In the Lviv confectionery, located near the Florian’s Gate, the rebellious adherents of the Cracow Academy of Arts often sat, who after long negotiations with the owner Jan Appolinarius Michalik decorated the gloomy interior of the cafe with frescoes and caricatures, and then, as a result of stormy night negotiations, created the first literary cabaret in Poland – Zielony Balonik ”, a vibrant club for Cracow Bohemia. It was the fall of 1905. The cabaret’s repertoire was dominated by artistic and theatrical skits, mainly composed by Karol Fritsch and the future famous actor Juliusz Osterva, songs in the style of French chansons performed by schoolboy Leon Schiller, and improvisations by Witold Noskovsky, editor and theater critic of the newspaper Czas (Time “). The number of regular authors soon included the physician Tadeusz Boy-Zhelensky who picked up the cabaret fever.

In the Zielony Balonik cabaret version, the traditional Krakow “shop” touched upon the most pressing local problems, scoffed, mocked, ridiculed – and at the same time checked its already very strictly selected audience: if dissatisfaction was noticed on someone’s face during the performance, now he was forever ordered the way to the “Pit”. The traditions of the literary cabaret continued during the time of the NDP: first, Krakow journalists and publicists transferred the radio version of “shopping” to the stage, and then regularly laughed at representations contrary to political reality. They tried to close the cabaret, although everyone laughed anyway – both the opponents of the government and its representatives. This only happens in Krakow.

Poetic cafe “Pod Pikadorem”

Not only in Krakow appeared satirical “shops” and caustic parodies. In November 1918, admirers of the eleventh muse entered the new reality with a song on their lips, in the capital’s clubs “Miraż”, “Czarny Kot” and “Sfinks” celebrated their independence with new revues and special cabaret programs. “We have a wind in our head,” wrote the young Kazimierz Vezhinsky, who soon joined the circle of the Pikador club – Anthony Slonimsky, Julian Tuvim, Jan Lehony, Yaroslav Ivashkevich.

Qui pro quo

According to the author of the book, everything that happened in the capital’s cabarets until the Second World War was an echo of what happened in Qui pro Quo, a new and modern cabaret theater that marked trends and served as a guide for regional theaters. Here, in the champagne dungeons lined with the now defunct Galeria Luxenburga club on 2 Senatorskaya Street, the most prominent masters of the word, led by Julian Tuvim, Frideric Yarosy, Adolf Dymsha and Stefania Grodzenskaya, were creating. On the stage of this cabaret, Mechislav Fogg made his debut, played by Ganka Ordonuvna, Mira Ziminsky, Tatyana Vysotskaya.

In his book on cabaret, Tomasz Moscitsky writes that Qui pro Quo owes his fame to his magnificent political satire. Although the theater was quite loyal to the Polish authorities – its artists sympathized with Pilsudski – this did not mean obsequiousness and servility. Hence the frequent interventions of censorship in the theater program, as well as repeated attempts to remove from the repertoire scenes that make fun of those in power.

In 1925, part of the team decided to establish their own theater, “Perskie Oko,” which remained in the history of the interwar cabaret as the most important capital’s revue theater.

Private Hemar: artists in uniforms

The history of military cabarets was created by those who, on almost all fronts of Europe, encouraged people with their music and songs reminiscent of better times. Among them are mobilized actors from Lviv, who accompanied the soldiers of the First Tank Division of General Stanislav Machek. And also Marian Hemar, who from the very beginning of the war was in the ranks of the Carpathian Rifle Brigade and in the field prepared two revisions – one of them, “Remember, granddaughter that my grandfather was in Tobruk”, became a real hit among the soldiers. He continued his activities after moving to London. Felix Konarsky, who was with the army of General Anders, went with them to the Middle East.

In 1946, Frederick Jarosy, arrested in occupied Warsaw and sent to Hitler’s prison, arrives in the British Isles. After his release from the prisoner camp, he organizes the Cyrulik Warszawski Theater (Warsaw Barber) in Brussels. The first concerts are held in the crushed capital. Mechislav Fogg opens his “Cafe Fogg” in a miraculously preserved stone house on Marshalkovskaya Street. However, soon the Warsaw artists moved briefly to Lodz, where the entertaining and satirical theater “Syrena” (“Siren”) under the direction of Jerzy Jurandot was born in the hall of the Grand Hotel.

Cabaret as a TV series

Before the Najmiejszy Teatrzyk Świata Theater (The Smallest Theater in the World) debuted on the stage, the absurd world of Hermenegilda Kochubinsky, Green Goose and Kukushka outraged critics and readers of Pshekruy magazine, whose editor-in-chief was Marian Eile. The author was accused of belittling national values ​​and was completely bullshit. But despite the protests, The Green Goose came out regularly. Until finally, Irena Kvyatkovskaya and the favorite of the public Tadeusz Olsha who came back from London emigration did not come from Krakow. Jerzy Waldorff wrote the music, and Kristina Zelferovich put on the first cabaret program, which, under pressure from the public, changed its name to Siedem Kotów (Seven Cats).

Two old men

Beautiful lyrics, pre-war grace and tact – this is the hallmark of the cabaret “Kabaret Starszych Panów” (“Cabaret of older men”). Jeremi Psibora and Jerzy Vasowski – elegant entertainers in black tailcoats – first appeared on television in October 1958, and during the eight years of the cabaret’s existence, the streets of Polish cities were empty during their appearances on television. According to Professor Jerzy Brałczyk, their poetic texts were the most appetizing Polish language that could only be heard in the post-war years. Stanislav Baranchak believed that these “elderly men” helped millions of people to almost painlessly get out of the difficult and complete absurdity of the NDP period, which lasted several decades.

“STS”, the symbol of the October fracture

For 21 years, the STS Theater (Studencki Teatr Satyryków – Student Satirical Theater) has played 55 premieres and more than 3 thousand performances. As noted by Janusz R. Kowalczyk, one of the authors of the book “STS – everything began here”, a theater that grew up on the wave of the enzyme that appeared in art with the decline of socialist realism appeared instead of a newspaper. It was created by students of the University of Warsaw.

“The student scene quickly became the voice of the young intelligentsia, which led compatriots out of the hopelessness of Stalinism. “STS” was their tribune, it gave them the opportunity to express their views on the most important philosophical, social or political issues. (…) They managed to create a spontaneous art group that worked together, had fun together, leisure together, and all this with a very specific, absurd sense of humor. ”

The poetic songs of twenty-year-old Agnieszka Osetskaya, divorced from political and social reality, her ideological and revolutionary-minded colleagues in the STS theater were unhappy. And the poetess herself spoke of herself as “a political fool,” she did not like politics and political satire, ”writes Kets. However, Osetskaya was finally freed from her only in 1989. As she later recalled, “STS” was a lesson in her civil position and a lesson in which she learned to write as if “she wanted to take funny pictures of her tear-stained eyes, to powder her aged birth certificate, to calm her despair buffoonery. “

Osetskaya’s song “Okularnicy” (“Spectacles”) to Abramov’s music became the anthem of the next generations.