Miracle Fair in Polish

Fot.: IP Drawing: Jan Polewka Fot.: IP Project of information sheet: Ewa Natkaniec Fot.: IP


Miracle Fair

The theatre performance Miracle Fair (Jarmark cudów) is still another iteration of the project The Myth of Central Europe: The Miracle Fair, yet created in two versions: as an open air performance by  Teatr Mumerus, created in partnership with the Ethnographic  Museum in Cracow and played on its yard.

We presented on that yard a variety of magical items, spells and remedies, performances by travelling jugglers and charlatans; pilgrims, beggars and mendicants appeared here and there in the crowd. One could be healed from possession, buy magical items and remedies against all illnesses and then he can watch a puppet theatre showing Poverty and Misery who will never leave  our country.  The fair  sometimes turns into a witches' sabbath and the visitors can even see the Satan in his own, fearsome person.  

The other version of the performance is intended to be shown indoors, in Teatr Zależny of the Technical University of Cracow.




The performance alludes to the tradition of Eulenspiegel, or a fool's (or, actually, owl's) mirror. For this reason, the script includes fragments anonymous texts  typical for this literary trend, such as Mendicant Travels, Poverty and Misery Leave Poland; although they date back to the 17th century, they sound very modern. Other texts used in the performance are various magical formulas, spells and  recipes. The choice of the texts is related to another significant aspect of the project, which is magic and sorcery.


Fot. KZ


Beata Kolak Fot.: MP

Anna LenczewskaFot.: MP                                   Anna Nowickafot. MP

Olga Przeklasa fot. MP


  Karol Zapała Fot.:MP Robert Żurek Fot.:MP Projekt ulotki: Ewa Natkaniec  


Ewa Ryks - accordion,  Dominik Klimczak - drums, Józef Michalik / Leszek Wydrzyński- double bass, Janusz Witka / Krzysztof Klima -  clarinet, saxophone

Scenario, directing, production by Wiesław Hołdys

Set - design, costumes, projects of puppets and poster by Jan Polewka

Music by Barbara Zawadzka

Fot. MP Fot.: IP   ot. SP   ot. MP
Project is realised thanks to finnancial support of: Project is realised thanks to finnancial support of:  

Region of Malopolska

(Województwo Małopolskie)

Ministry of Culture and National Heritage

Ministerstwa Kultury i Dziedzictwa Narodowego - Program Operacyjny Promocja Twórczości

Partners: Stowarzyszenie Teatrów Nieinstytucjonalnych STeN



Teatr Zależny Politechniki Krakowskiej

Photo credits by: Artur Łoboda(AŁ), Ilja van de Pavert (IP), Sobiesław Pawlikowski (SP),Kinga Piechnik (KP) Marcin Popczyński (MP), Krzysztof Zembrzuski - Muzeum Etnograficzne Kraków (KZ)



fot. KZ


Is It Possible to Travel in Time?

On September15th, people gathered in the yard of the Ethnographic Museum  in Cracow saw a magician who moved this small space of a few square meters, together with all the guests, back in time, by 400 years.

Suddenly, the disoriented people from the 21st century found among themselves a number of pilgrims, jugglers and traders, encouraging them to buy goods. 

"Come here, come here! Come here now! Come closer! My goods are  both good for prayer and   for adornment. Here I sell scapulars, rosaries, holy medals and pictures, as well as ribbons, tapes and beads! Here in this basket I have potent remedies, such as seeds against worms, sulphur acid against rashes and camphor, to be dissolved in vodka... a powerful remedy against dry pains, bruises and all swellings... I have here also sulphur and magnesium for all stomach acids.  This box contains a small imp   caught unawares. Whoever purchases the box and frees the imp, he will have this little servant forever, grateful  to be free from iits ncarceration.(...)"

The stranger has not yet finished his list, when people heard behind their back an imperious call of one of the women:
"Lamb figures! Come, people and by lamb figures! Lamb figures of extraordinary power, or God's Rams. Made of  burnt remains of the Pope's paschal  candle, seven times sprinkled with Holy Water by seven Holy Fathers.  Each of them consecrated them seven times, every seventh year of his rule on Earth.  Then such lamb figure, consecrated how many times? Not seven but forty-nine times! Then such lamb figure, I say, is forty-nine times stronger than a common lamb figure.   (...) They extinguish fire, hot fire, much better than St Agatha's salt.  Remember, men! Buy the lamb figures!"

Somebody is selling good books, other  person persuades people to buy powder against the Grim Reaper.. actors are calling for a puppet show:  Poverty and Misery  leave Poland.  The yard is noisy, crowded with buyers and onlookers... when suddenly  a scream is heard... a scream of a possessed woman. A monk calls everyone to pray for her and expels the evil spirit.  Then, people begin to sing and dance, accompanied by 17th century music. 
"Where are the  happy times of old 
When sausages flew  over and we had gold."

Some beggar, or fraud tries to wheedle some money... a woman in the hat surrounded by lit candles has now disappeared... the sound of music and human voices is becoming more and more distant... the hour has struck and the spell is over, just like in the story of Cinderella.  We are back to modern times. 

(...) The Miracle Fair refers back to Old Polish theatrical forms based on direct contact with the audience.  The shows were performed on yards, with actors reciting their parts just among the people.  The texts used in the script, including Mendicant Travels and Poverty and Misery Leave Poland  are fragments of 17th century works.  The remaining ones, such as spells and remedies against demons, written by the director of the performance, are based on ethnographic sources. 

" I am so fond of digging among  old things," continues the director. "In my opinion, it is so modern.  Hardly anything has changed since those times. Particularly the plebeian writers, who were just common people, knew a lot about others and they created texts who are still valid. I do not perceive them as archaic.  I dislike any modernisations of classical texts. Such practice is simply fooling people."

(...)However, a sorcerer of old ages  can freely come and enchant the audience, transferring people back to the world which is so  dear to his heart. The Internet generation will suddenly found themselves at a  fair, meeting people who are so close to them, although they come from "olden times" . (...)

Dominika Putyra

Fot. MP

fot. KZ

Albania 2008 - A puppet hanging on a tree


© 2008 mumerus

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