Metamorphosis pp 269-287 | Cite as

Playing with the Void

Dance Macabre of Object and Subject in the BIO-OBJECTS of Kantor’s Theater of Death
  • Magda Romanska
Part of the Analecta Husserliana book series (ANHU, volume 81)


Born in 1915 in Wielopole, a small Polish-Jewish town, Tadeusz Kantor grew up in a world dominated by the mysticism of both cultures, Jewish and Christian. Ruled by the cycle of its own religious rituals, each community was oriented more towards sacred than earthly values. As Kantor reminisced, “beyond its everyday life, the little town was turned towards eternity.”1 The coexistence of the two apparently antagonistic cultures and the spiritually charged atmosphere of timelessness and transcendentalism they evoked would be resurrected time after time in all of Kantor’s spectacles. The town itself, constructed like a theatrical space in which the accidental intertwined with the fated, the grotesque with the profound would become the framework for juxtapositions investigated throughout the years of dramatic experimentation and theoretical analysis. Built around the everlasting opposition between life and death, form and matter, illusion and reality, consciousness and object, Kantor’s “religious dramas” would attempt simultaneously to reconcile them and to show the impossibility of doing so. Like a parallel universe belonging neither to fiction nor to reality, a universe neither of form nor of matter, in which characters are neither dead nor alive, neither people nor objects, his theater would challenge the eternally asserted notions, leaving the viewer in an existential vacuum, and forcing him to reinstate the meaning of basic concepts.


Unpublished Manuscript Religious Ritual German Occupation Parallel Universe Bicycle Wheel 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Magda Romanska
    • 1
  1. 1.Cornell UniversityUSA

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