NOT ONLY LEGS! Cabarets and revues of the interwar period in Poland

NOT ONLY LEGS! Cabarets and revues of the interwar period in Poland – H. Modrzejewska Theater in Legnica

duration: June 14 – September 2, 2022

This exhibition serves as a reminder of the cabaret work of the interwar period in Poland. The narrative is based on fragments of texts by Julian Tuwim, Marian Hemar, Andrzej Włast and other authors, selected according to the key of references to social, moral, cultural and political reality. From the popular entertainment with which cabaret and revue have always been associated, we shift the focus to another, satirical aspect of the activities of cabaret artists. Departure from the most well-known hits of the song makes it possible to bring out the hitherto unnoticed qualities and significance of the texts given not from theatrical stages, but from “scenes” and “over-scenes.” Hence also the title “Not just feet!”, aiming to break with the infantilization of cabaret and revue and the unfair assessment of the quality of cabaret production. The range of topics taken up by songwriters and rhyme writers included frivolous jokes, comments on female beauty, fashion and characters of representatives of the fair sex (often in stereotypical terms), café flirtations, gossip and gossiping, dansing conquests, stormy romances, dreams of fame and money, as well as accurate, and often not very “entertaining”, observations on changes in customs, everyday life, family problems, poverty, street life, social pathologies, and finally politics – domestic and foreign, including the phenomenon of anti-Semitism. All these themes found their expression in satirical drawings – those printed in the press, as well as those unpublished. We therefore juxtapose them with the texts to serve as a mirror, as befits satire. Among the authors are the names of prominent representatives of the genre, including Jerzy Zaruba, Erik Lipinski, Bronislaw Wojciech Linke, Mendel Reif, Anna Goslawska-Lipinska “Ha-Gi”.

In order to remember the most important cabaret actors – including Eugeniusz Bodo, Mira Ziminska, Zula Pogorzelska, Hanka Ordonna, Adolf Dymsza, Loda Halama, Fryderyk Járosy, Kazimierz Krukowski – we present their photographic images. As a reminder of the power that cabaret and revue had on the mass imagination, we recall films and songs from the 1920s and 1930s – not only using the aesthetics of the “light muse”, but in which the cabaret theme is one of the most important. To get a feel for the atmosphere of cabaret-cabaret life, we show some of the most interesting designs for covers of notes and cabaret programs, cite press reviews, including those by Tadeusz Boy-Zeleński himself, and parodistic and self-parody texts indicating the authors’ and performers’ great distance from each other and art in general. So let’s laugh with them! “Who knows if the world will last three more weeks?

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