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La MaMa Presents CEZARY GOES TO WAR, Queer Fantasia on Masculinity

La MaMa Presents CEZARY GOES TO WAR, Queer Fantasia on Masculinity

La MaMa, in association with the Polish Cultural Institute and Komuna//Warszawa, is proud to present the U.S. premiere of Cezary Goes to War, a musically-driven queer fantasia on masculinity, nationalism, and the culture of war. Conceived and directed by Cezary Tomaszewski, a rising star of the Eastern European avant-garde, Cezary Goes to War draws on Tomaszewski's personal experiences with Poland's military draft and its archaic system of male classification. Weaving text from military evaluations of manliness, choreography inspired by army drills, and the patriotic songs by Stanisław Moniuszko, the father of Polish national opera, Cezary Goes to War offers a witty critique of military recruitment, national pride, and the vulnerability of male identity.

Cezary Goes to War was originally produced in 2017 by Komuna//Warszawa, a leading independent avant-garde theatre in Poland, and was heralded by audiences and critics alike in Poland and at the 2018 Edinburgh Festival Fringe. This strictly limited engagement runs January 16-19, 2020 at La MaMa's Ellen Stewart Theatre.

Tomaszewski, who spent 15 years as a singer at Poland's National Opera, Teatr Wielki, brings a strong musicality and tight choreographic sensibility to his direction of Cezary Goes to War. Having previously set Monteverdi's madrigals in a milk bar and Gluck's Orpheus and Eurydice in a sports hall, Tomaszewski excels at revealing the fragility of patriarchal forms. His Cezary Goes to War is set inside a locker room where four male performers, led by a female pianist, present a series of vignettes in song and dance that subvert gender norms and expose the hypocrisy of the military ethos. Dressed in colorful aerobic gear that is drenched in sweat by the end of the highly physical performance, the artists behind Cezary Goes to War lay bare the homophobic and xenophobic heart of modern-day patriotism.

Cezary Goes to War features performances by Michał Dembiński, Weronika Krówka, Oskar Malinowski, Bartosz Ostrowski, and Łukasz Stawarczyk with costumes by Bracia (Agnieszka Klepacka and Maciej Chorąży), lighting by Antoni Grałek, and dramaturgy by Justyna Wąsik and Klaudia Hartung-Wójciak.

Performances of Cezary Goes to War will take place January 16-18 at 17pm and January 19 at 3pm at La MaMa's Ellen Stewart Theatre, located at 66 E 4th Street. Critics are welcome as of January 16 which serves as the official opening. General admission tickets, which are priced at $25 ($20 students/seniors) plus $1 facility fee, are available at and by calling OvationTix at 212-352-3101. The first ten tickets to every performance are available for $10. The anticipated running time is 60 minutes with no intermission. Cezary Goes to War is performed in Polish with English surtitles.

About the artists

Choreographer, director, and performer Cezary Tomaszewski (b. 1976) enjoys experimenting with classic texts works in both theatre and opera and takes a keen interest in the banality of art. He studied theater at the Theatre Academy in Warsaw and choreography at Bruckner University in Austria. In 2009, he directed Franz Lehár's The Merry Widow in Vienna, which earned critics' picks in the magazines Theater Heute and Falter or Best Young Director and the Best Off Production. Two of his early projects, Last Temptation of Saint Bernardette and Dance Tetralogy, were presented at theatres in Austria and Switzerland. He also directed musical productions by Capella Cracoviensis: the stage production of Monteverdi's madrigals Baroque Feast in a milk bar in Kraków, and operas: Gluck's Orpheus and Eurydice, Handel's Amadigi di Gaula and Moniuszko's Halka among others. In Polish dramatical theatres he directed Wyspiański's Wedding Based on Wedding. In 2017, Tomaszewski directed Had It Not Been For Smoking, Pina Would Have Been Alive at Jerzy Szaniawski Drama Theatre in Wałbrzych and Cezary Goes to War at Komuna Warszawa.

Komuna Warszawa is one of the most important independent avant-garde theaters in Poland. They experiment at the borders of performing arts, video installation, and music. They explore key issues of the contemporary world, ceaselessly seeking new forms and means of expression. Since 2007 Komuna has been an important venue for theatre performances, as well as performance art pieces, lectures, film and video-art screenings, concerts and discussions. Komuna Warszawa has taken part in some of the most prestigious festivals in Poland and the world, performing at such venues as La MaMa in New York City, HAU in Berlin or 104Centquatre in Paris. Komuna Warszawa is also a production house where different art worlds meet.

La MaMa is dedicated to the artist and all aspects of the theatre. La MaMa's 58th Season celebrates the centennial of its founder, Ellen Stewart, whose vision of nurturing new artists and new work remains as strong today as it was when she first opened the doors in 1961. La MaMa has presented more than 5,000 productions by 150,000 artists of all nations, cultures, races and identities. Cultural pluralism and ethnic diversity are inherent in the work created on our stages. Here, artists find a supportive environment for artistic exploration, and audiences are part of the development of an artist's work over time.

A recipient of the 2018 Regional Theater Tony Award, and more than 30 Obie Awards and dozens of Drama Desk, Bessie, and Villager Awards, La MaMa has been a creative home for thousands of artists, many of whom have made lasting contributions to the arts, including Blue Man Group, Ping Chong, André De Shields, Adrienne Kennedy, Harvey Fierstein, Diane Lane, Warren Leight, Michael Mayer, Tadeusz Kantor, Bette Midler, Meredith Monk, Peter Brook, David and Amy Sedaris, Julie Taymor, Kazuo Ohno, Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman.

Photo Credit: Pat Mic

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