and the Pig Iron Theatre Company
in association with
the American Association of Teachers of Slavic
& East European Languages,
Pig Iron Theatre
by Juliusz Slowacki
First public reading in English of this classic Polish drama!
A Special Event in association with the 2009 AATSEEL Conference
Followed by a reception and Q & A with the director, actors, and translator
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
The Broad Street Ministry
315 S. Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA
Tickets: Free and open to the public on a first-come, first-served basis Tel: 215.735.4847
...in combining the fantastic and basically comic spirit of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" with the grim tragedy of "Macbeth", Slowacki created a play whose very mood is found nowhere in Shakespeare... though Balladina is ruthless, bloody, and amoral, as a character she has the quality of greatness. -Peter Cochran
Framed by historical legend, Juliusz Slowacki's classic Romantic drama Balladina diverges over the course of its five acts into a fantastic morality tale that tests the boundaries of our belief in the supernatural, the law, and our own capacity to change our fates. Set in early medieval Poland, it begins as a fantastic and comic love story between a chivalric knight and two poor sisters Balladina and Alina but turns into a gruesome and haunted tale of a tyrant (Balladina the "womanking") who desperately abuses her power. While supernatural forces hover in the background, it is the greed and ambition of humans that drives the plot. Juliusz Slowacki (1809-1849) was one of Poland's most important Romantic bards, next to Adam Mickiewicz and Cyprian Kamil Norwid. His work is characterized by its metaliterary and often mystical character.
Newly rendered into English by the acclaimed translator Bill Johnston, winner of the first Found in Translation Award, Balladina will be performed during the 2009 AATSEEL Conference as a staged reading by members of the prodigiously inventive, Philadelphia-based Pig Iron Theatre Company, which won 2005 Obie Award for Hell Meets Henry Halfway, its adaptation of Witold Gombrowicz's novel The Possessed.
Never before produced in English due to the lack of a compelling translation until now, Balladina in Poland has proven surprisingly adaptable to different periods and circumstances: it was one of the national dramas staged underground during the Nazi occupation by Tadeusz Kantor, and recently it was adapted for film (as a detective story set in New York City) by Dariusz Zawislak, premiering last spring at the Berlin and Cannes film festivals under the title Bait (Balladyna, Poland/USA, 2009).
This staged reading of Balladina is presented by the Polish Cultural Institute in New York and AATSEEL, in cooperation with Ohio State University's Department of Slavic and East European Languages and Center of Slavic and East European Studies. Special thanks to Prof. Jessie Labov.
More about Juliusz Slowacki
Bill Johnston's translation of Balladina
American Association of Teachers of Slavic & East European Languages
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More about Pig Iron Theatre