Porno Generation, The

Porno Generation, The
  • Zielona Sowa
    Kraków 2003
    145 x 205
    496 pages
    ISBN 83-7389-429-2

In 2001, in a crowded room in a suburb of Warsaw, took place a reading of Robert Bolesto’s debut play To Kill Bond which paraphrased Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot. The plot unfolded in a hotel room and the protagonists were young people fascinated by action films. The allusion to the theater of absurd was not accidental – Beckett described the world after the war’s carnage, where man vainly awaits the absent God. Bolesto introduced significant changes: instead of God, his heroes await James Bond whom they intend to kill. The absent God was replaced by a non-existent pop-culture idol.
Bolesto was not alone in his grim diagnosis of reality, as the anthology we are presenting here shows. The year 2000 saw a wave of new theater plays that unmasked the reality of young capitalism and gave a moral evaluation of the regime change. New Polish reality was targeted by moralists since the 1990s, yet never before did writers reach so deeply into the moral sphere. Social cost of reforms, unemployment and pauperization used to be the main themes. Nihilism was mentioned, but always as a phenomenon associated with pathology. The word “nihilism” was reserved for under-age criminals who lost their system of moral values in the chaos of political transformations. The diagnosis offered by today’s dramas is much darker: nihilism has invaded all social spheres regardless of age, education and background. After having withdrawn from the public debates, theater is once more participating in Poland’s moral inquiries. In each culture, theater thrives on conflict and contradiction, and is best nourished by evil, the more impertinent and stronger the better the theater. In new Polish plays we can find not only trances of everyday life, of common evil, but also a sense of total social catastrophe. I wish the young playwrights were wrong and that that the picture of the world sinking in a swamp of violence and nihilism were exaggerated.

- Roman Pawłowski