The phenomenon of the so-called Polish monumental theatre has for nearly a century resisted attempts at conceptualization. Created by artists living in a transitional period and formed in a peculiar “trans-era” mental space, this theatre was wrought from a hybrid substance that combined a Romantic and post-Romantic content with an avant-garde form. Being “simultaneously national and supra-national”, it appeared as a unique conceptual and artistic construct; a construct that was touted as the innovative Polish input into the reform of European theatre. Owing to the heterogeneity of its subject-matter, it was at times included into, and at other times excluded from the body of endeavours of an avant-garde nature; the correct categorization was until now made difficult by the conceptual template constructed around the dogma concerning the incompatibility of the two areas: the avant-garde and the so-called national duties. Seen in the perspective of modern-day research on the variegated nature of Modernism and on its inner tensions, however, this phenomenon may emerge as an interesting illustration of the synthesizing efforts of Modernism.
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