Sermons, threats, sucker punches, and a stink bomb

Nationalists try to block a theatre in Warsaw. Watch a short documentary by Paweł Pieniążek shot at the demonstration organised by fascist nationalists and Catholic fundamentalists against a staging of the play The Curse. Text by Jakub Szafrańśki.

A demonstration organised by fascist nationalists and Catholic fundamentalists against a staging of the play The Curse (directed by Oliver Frijlic) took place in front of the Zygmunt Hübner Powszechny Theatre in Warsaw on May 27 and 28. Anarchists, Citizens of Poland (Obywatele RP), Kazimierz Lyszczynski Foundation members, and theatre goers came to show their support for the play.

On the day of the demonstration the square in front of the theatre became a de facto scene for the prologue of the play, which was staged later in the building. In theory it sounds like a perfect situation for a photojournalist. Everything you need is handed to you on a plate. But actually the square turned out to be more like a hot pan brimming with a fried post-political mix: sermons, kneeling prayers, threats, singing bards, numb speeches, odd costumes, all seasoned with sucker punches, flares, and finished with a stink bomb.

The search for good shots was as hard as the struggle for a sensible narrative that escapes easy cynicism.

Bio

Jakub Szafrański
Jakub Szafrański is a journalist, photographer, and member of the Krytyka Polityczna club in Lublin.
Paweł Pieniążek
Journalist specializing in Eastern Europe. He is a contributor of the Polish daily Dziennik Opinii and New Eastern Europe.