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Stateswomen, Sluts of the Revolution, or the Learned Ladies

13 December 2017
13 December 2017
  National Stary Theatre — Big Stage

Directed by:

Wiktor Rubin


Jolanta Janiczak


110 min.



The central figure of this play by the writing/directing team of Jolanta Janiczak and Wiktor Rubin is Théoroigne de Méricourt, an activist involved in the French Revolution at the end of the 18th century. Forgotten by history and despised by her peers, Théroigne voiced a belief that’s rather bold even for today, let alone in her own times: the concept of absolute gender equality. But her name isn’t mentioned in the various narratives about the famous struggle for “freedom, equality and fraternity”; Danton and Robespierre are considered the figureheads of the movement. And more importantly—a key point for the feminist context of the play—these men were motivated almost exclusively by the interests of their own sex, as they set out to establish supposedly universal rules and values. Méricourt’s commitment, passion and radicalism were suppressed and overshadowed by her alleged madness and hysteria—a diagnosis used against women fighting for their rights for centuries. But the most shocking part of the story is that her female comrades punished her with a public lynching. Méricourt’s fascinating story has inspired this play by the Polish Theatre in Bydgoszcz not as a historical or a biographical investigation, but rather as a pretext to pose questions about sisterhood, fanaticism and civic order. And, more importantly, about the possibility of revolutionary action—as well as the role theater can play in the process of the socio-political awakening of activism and the struggle for social emancipation.

The situation in modern-day Poland, and in particular the “black marches”, provide a vital context for Janiczak and Rubin’s play. As the action unfolds, it becomes clear that the sacred and absolute male hegemony of over two centuries ago has by no means lost its destructive power. In spite or perhaps because of this, the actresses of the Polish Theatre lead the people forward both metaphorically and literally toward the barricades, channeling the anger, outrage and passionate cultural determination that’s shared by the creators of “Stateswomen, Sluts of the Revolution…” and the audience.


Directed by Wiktor Rubin
Text/Dramaturgy/Costumes by Jolanta Janiczak
Scenography by Michał Korchowiec
Music by Krzysztof Kaliski
Costumes/Video by Hanna Maciąg
Lighting design by Michał Głaszczka
Assistant Director: Maciej Pesta
Stage Manager: Mateusz Stebliński


Beata Bandurska, Magdalena Celmer, Martyna Peszko, Sonia Roszczuk, Małgorzata Trofimiuk, Małgorzata Witkowska, Mirosław Guzowski, Roland Nowak, Maciej Pesta, Marcin Zawodziński