Tort Marcello. Kultury fanowskie w teatrze XIX wieku [Marcello Tort: Fan Cultures in the Nineteenth-Century Theatre], UNIVERSITAS, Kraków 2023.

This book presents my research on theatre fan history to Polish readers acknowledging their specific horizon of expectations as compared to international readers. As such it slightly differs from Polish Theatre Revisited (Iowa City 2023).

Marcello Tort – mentioned in the title – is a decadent chocolate cake well known to contemporary Polish people, even though perhaps not many of them are aware that it was created to honour a once famous Warsaw actress, Helena Marcello who features on the covers of both of my books: Polish Theatre Revisited and Tort Marcello.

I consider the Marcello Torte to be one of the historical traces of the theatrical fan cultures that emerged on Polish lands in the 19th and early 20th centuries. In the book I recover early fan experiences and practices – despite the fact that they constituted an important part of Polish theatrical life, they were considered too trivial to be remembered. Tort Marcello describes nineteenth-century “theatremaniacs”, enthusiasts of stage stars and theatrical productions, revealing the entanglements between theatre history and fan history.

The tombstone of Ignacy Neufeld, Helena Modjeska’s fanboy, who inspired the first chapter of Tort Marcello, the Jewish Cemetery in Warsaw, 2022. Private archives.

Radio programs about Tort Marcello:

  • Radio Kraków, interview by Justyn Nowicka, program “O teatrze bez przerwy”, premiere March 24, 2024, 7 pm. Listen (PL)
  • Radio dla Ciebie, interview by Beata Jewiarz, program “Popołudnie Radia dla Ciebie”, premiere March 18, 2024, 3:30 pm. Listen (PL)
  • Polskie Radio 24, interview by Konrad Szczebiot, program “Rząd 2, miejsce 4”, premiere January 8, 2024, 11:35 pm. Listen (PL)

A short video clip about Tort Marcello on TVP Info

Premiere April 3, 2024, Telexpress, TVP 1, by Mateusz Trojan

The National Science Centre, Poland, supported this research under grant number 2017/26/D/HS2/00003, Nineteenth-Century Polish Theatre Audience Revisited: The History of Theatre Spectators from the Perspective of Fan Studies