No. 439: New Maslowska production on stage in New York
The Polish Cultural Institute in New York
and East River Commedia
A Couple of Poor Polish-Speaking Romanians
by Dorota Maslowska
Directed by Paul Bargetto
Dorota Maslowska is the unchallenged queen of the young Polish literary scene.
– Frankfurter Rundschau
It is a short play, filled with humor and a whole lot of gags. Two really nice protagonists, acting on mysterious impulses, set off on an unintentionally frantic quest through Poland. It is a quest full of comic adventures, which over time turn out to be no joke, quite the opposite in fact, utterly no joke, indeed, quite tragic. The audience has to consider the fact that the play is not as lighthearted as it seems; its characters do not represent positive social or psychological models, and this journey doesn't have to be a life quest at all. Quite the contrary.
In its New York premiere, directed by Paul Bargetto, starring Troy Lavallee (Blighty) and Robin Singer (Gina), A Couple of Poor Polish-Speaking Romanians, performed by the East River Commedia, is a grotesque travelogue, in which foul-mouthed Blighty (a TV soap opera actor) and glue-sniffing Gina (a pregnant single mother) pretend to be poor Romanians as they bully their way across the Polish countryside. They hijack a taxi, take a joy ride with a drunken middle-aged woman and finally take shelter at the home of a crazy hermit. "Maslowska comes from the bridge generation in Poland – a generation that experienced as children the fall of Communism and the tidal wave of western consumer culture that swept in afterward – and a Catholic Church unchained," states Director Paul Bargetto. "In this play she has created a Bonnie and Clyde for our times, roaring down the highway, high on speed, inseparable, torn with desire and loathing for one another, on a journey of self revelation that is brutal, laugh out loud funny and unexpectedly mystical."
Dorota Maslowska's work has been compared to that of writers such as Irvine Welsh (Trainspotting), J. D. Salinger (Catcher in the Rye), and William Burroughs (Naked Lunch). She shook the literary world by edging out Nobel Prize-winning poet, Wislawa Szymborska, to receive Poland's highest literary honor, the Nike Award, in 2006 at the age of 23. Since then, her plays have been staged in Australia, London, Berlin, Prague, Moscow, Chicago, and throughout Poland.
The production us supported in part by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.
A Couple of Poor
© Piotr Redlinski
Fri, Feb 4
Sun 5:00 PM
Abrons Arts Center