Confronted with political opposition, an authoritarian regime predictably responds with force – but also with recognition of a knowable enemy. Confronted with anarchy and laughter, it can be caught wrong-footed – as happened in Poland in the aftermath of Martial Law, when a young surrealist, Waldemar Fydrych, self-designated ‘Major’, created what he called the Orange Alternative. In a series of published manifestoes and in the street happenings they proclaimed and recorded, the Orange Alternative tickled the soft underbelly of the Jaruzelski regime, and met with responses ranging from hostility to ostensible sympathy to simple bafflement. Juliusz Tyszka here records the progress of a movement and its moving spirit – who, disillusioned with democracy when it came, exiled himself to Paris to invent alternatives anew. Juliusz Tyszka is a past contributor on Polish theatre to NTQ, who teaches in the Institute of Cultural Studies at Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan.
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