The Manatee is a harlequin romance about the Harlequin Romance, a transformation-era performative romance of the distributors, employees, readers and others linked with the Harlequin industry in the 1990s. Today, seven decades after the publication in Toronto of The Manatee, the first in the series, the harlequin romantic novels are published in more than 30 languages on six continents. In the landscape of Poland’s systemic transformation, it appeared in 1991. Thanks to a massive promotional campaign, it soon became a social and a cultural phenomenon. What is the connection between the Harlequin publishing house and the collections of the Zachęty art gallery, between female Polish Gastarbeiters and the Palace of Culture on a Valentine’s Day, between the Opole song festival and the Italian star of Harlequin Romance cover art Fabio Lanzoni? What is the political potential of the cartography of imaginary worlds of romance? Starting with landscape, understood after the Indian-American anthropologist Arjun Appadurai as imaginary worlds which change existing mechanisms of community and agency generation, we propose a retro-futurist landscape of non-places. Non-places lying in liminal spaces – between the cartography of a body as an object of desire and the campness of special effects, between the economy of romantic Landschafts and the emancipatory potential of landscape.
Cast: Natasza Aleksandrowitch, Małgorzata Biela, Sebastian Grygo, Weronika
Łukaszewska, Filip Perkowski, Marcin Wojciechowski
music: Piotr Peszat
space, set: Paula Grocholska
light direction: Aleksandr Prowaliński
vocal consultation: Piotr Markowski
choreographic consultation: Weronika Pelczyńska
Project co-financed from the funds of the Municipal Office of the Capital City of Warsaw.