Drama
Tomasz Man
Sex Machine and Other Ones

The author explores the limits of love and devotion, duty and morality

MOTHER
I have no desire to
breathe
eat
sleep

WOMEN
you are as weary as a tree
after a gale

MOTHER
that was a month ago
the day of his birth
I fixed a dinner
his favourite shellfish salad
and white wine
I waited all evening
he never said he wouldn’t be coming
I called
he didn’t answer
I was afraid something had happened
he’d never returned so late
he came home at one twenty-three
I asked him where he’d been
I’m not telling
he replied
he didn’t eat his dinner
he didn’t wash
he went to bed
without kissing me good-night
there used to be no secrets between us
I tossed the salad in the bin
poured the wine down the drain
I rifled through his jacket pockets
and found a receipt
two plates of shellfish salad
a bottle of white wine
he’d taken someone to dinner
I tossed and turned till morning

WOMEN
the tears etched grooves in your face

MOTHER
he’d never wasted time on dates
he was writing a PhD
I was reading over the chapters
bringing him books
organising his notes
he has no need for girls
he said
only you
yesterday when he returned
from his engagement
I asked him to sit down
to talk to me
he turned on his heel
and went to his room
I wanted to come in
but he’d locked the door tight
I hammered with my fists
but he wouldn’t let me in

WOMEN
she fell asleep by his door
like a faithful dog
and in her dreams
her son brought her a handful of tears

MOTHER
he opens the door

Excerpt translated by Soren Gauger

Drama
Tomasz Man
Sex Machine and Other Ones

The author explores the limits of love and devotion, duty and morality

Publisher: Wydawnictwo Księgarnia Akademicka, Kraków 2019
Translation rights: Wydawnictwo Księgarnia Akademicka, prezes@akademicka.pl
Foreign language translations: Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary and Russia (in anthologies). Man’s plays have been staged in Germany as well.

Tomasz Man is an acknowledged and multi-award- winning playwright, and an original theatre and radio director. He has a sure hand with colloquial language, from which he can extract an unexpected poetic ambiguity. His plays have been performed in many countries.

The plays gathered in this volume are merely a sample of Man’s oeuvre, but they are representative, exhibiting the scale and originality of his talent. The Story of a Certain Love is a lyrical monologue of a man recalling his lost wife, a record of slowly coming to terms with conscious love, only just experienced and appreciated. Sex Machine, in turn, is a brutal tale, its construction and language modelled on Greek tragedy, detailing a single mother’s smothering love for her only son, now an adult. Here the author explores the limits of love and devotion, duty and morality, scripting a score of desire and hatred for four voices and a chorus. Job is part of an ambitious project: a dramatic rewrite of the main bible stories. It is relatively short, a quartet of monologues examining how modern man is tempted by weakness and doubt as he pursues worldly success. The drama I’ll Go, Though My Feet Are Cold is practically religious in nature, formally approximating a medieval morality play; it depicts the infamous murder of a Krakow student by communist authorities. The author lays bare the cynical behind- the-scenes machinations of the culprits against the mother, who is helpless against the state apparatus. The monodrama Impurity explores a paedophile’s internal monologue as he is released from prison after a twenty-year sentence. This is a man who is able to meticulously analyse his own psyche, yet is incapable of any sort of moral feelings. The volume ends with an allegorical fantasy from the future. We are inside a bunker just after a nuclear explosion. A father and daughter locked up inside and a man outside, pounding on the door to get in, are forced to make unexpected decisions in extreme conditions: in isolation and with the vanishing of all forms of life on earth as we know it.

Artur Grabowski

Translated by Soren Gauger

Learn more about other New Books from Poland

Selected samples

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Szczepan Twardoch
Wojciech Chmielarz
Robert Małecki
Zygmunt Miłoszewski
Anna Piwkowska
Dominika Słowik
Wojciech Chmielewski
Barbara Banaś
Rafał Mikołajczyk
Waldemar Bawołek
Julia Fiedorczuk
Jakub Szamałek
Witold Szabłowski
Jacek Dukaj
Grzegorz Górny, Janusz Rosikoń
Paweł Piechnik
Andrzej Strumiłło

69

Marta Kwaśnicka
Piotr Mitzner
Paweł Sołtys
Wacław Holewiński
Anna Potyra
Wiesław Helak
Urszula Zajączkowska
Marek Stokowski
Stokowski
Hubert Klimko-Dobrzaniecki
HKD
Jakub Małecki
Malecki_Horyzont
Łukasz Orbitowski
Orbitowski
Małgorzata Rejmer
Rejmer
Rafał Wojasiński
Olanda
Wojciech Kudyba
Kudyba
Włodzimierz Bolecki
Bolecki
Jerzy Liebert
Liebert
Wojciech Zembaty
Zembaty
Wojciech Chmielarz
Chmielarz
Bogdan Musiał
Musiał
Joanna Siedlecka
Siedlecka
Krzysztof Tyszka-Drozdowski
Drozdowski
Jarosław Marek Rymkiewicz
Marek Bieńczyk
Bienczyk
Leszek Elektorowicz
Elektorowicz
Adrian Sinkowski
Sinkowski
Szymon Babuchowski
Babuchowski
Lech Majewski
Majewski
Weronika Murek
Murek
Agnieszka Świętek
Swietek
Stanisław Szukalski
Barbara Klicka
Klicka
Anna Kamińska

She climbed her first peaks in a headscarf at a time when women in the mountains were treated by climbers as an additional backpack. It was with her that female alpinism began! She gained recognition in a spectacular way. The path was considered a crossing for madmen. Especially since the tragic accident in 1929, preserved … Continue reading “Halina”

Wojciech Chmielarz

First, Marysia, a student of an exclusive private school in Warsaw’s Mokotów district, dies under the wheels of a train. Her teacher, Elżbieta, tries to find out what really happened. She starts a private investigation only soon to perish herself. But her body disappears, and the only people who have seen anything are Gniewomir, a … Continue reading “Wound”

Anna Kańtoch

A young girl, Regina Wieczorek, was found dead on the beach. She was nineteen years old and had no enemies. Fortunately, the culprit was quickly found. At least, that’s what the militia think. Meanwhile, one day in November, Jan Kowalski appears at the police station. He claims to have killed not only Regina but also … Continue reading “Penance”

Marek Krajewski

The year is 1922. A dangerous time of breakthrough. In the Eastern Borderlands of the Republic of Poland, Bolshevik gangs sow terror, leaving behind the corpses of men and disgraced women. A ruthless secret intelligence race takes place between the Lviv-Warsaw-Free City of Gdańsk line. Lviv investigator Edward Popielski, called Łysy (“Hairless”), receives an offer … Continue reading “A Girl with Four Fingers”

Ks. Tomasz Stępień

This question is closely related to the next one, namely: if any goal exists, does life lead us to that goal in an orderly manner? In other words, is everything that happens to us just a set of chaotic events that, combined together, do not form a whole? To understand how the concept of providence … Continue reading “Order and Love”

Jakub Małecki
Szczepan Twardoch
Wiesław Helak
Maria Wilczek-Krupa
Anna Kańtoch
Rafał Kosik
Paweł Sołtys
Dorota Masłowska
Wiesław Myśliwski
Martyna Bunda
Olga Tokarczuk
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Mariola Kruszewska
Waldemar Bawołek
Marek Oleksicki, Tobiasz Piątkowski
Wojciech Tomczyk
Urszula Zajączkowska
Marzanna Bogumiła Kielar
Ks. Robert Skrzypczak
Bronisław Wildstein
Anna Bikont
Magdalena Grzebałkowska
Wojciech Orliński
Klementyna Suchanow
Andrzej Franaszek
Natalia Budzyńska
Marian Sworzeń
Aleksandra Wójcik, Maciej Zdziarski
Józef Łobodowski

The work of Józef Łobodowski (1909-1988) – a remarkable poet, prose writer, and translator, who spent most of his life in exile – is slowly being revived in Poland. Łobodowski’s brilliant three- volume novel, composed on an epic scale, concerns the fate of families and orphans unmoored by the Bolshevik Revolution and civil war and … Continue reading “Ukrainian Trilogy: Thickets, The Settlement, The Way Back”

Piotr Zaremba
Wacław Holewiński
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