While you walk around the Old Town and Main Market Square in Kraków for sure you will notice many street performers and your attention will be cought for a moment from your conversation or your telephone. Whever it is a lady playing violin, a man singing in incradibly beautiful high voice, a mime or a mysterious statue. Did you know that they are not just some random people, who that day decided to entertain passer-byes and put on a heavy and overheating costume? No, to be able to perform they need to get a permission from a special committee, who judges the “artistic valuee” of the performence. And it is not that easy, as they have pretty high standards and sometimes are a little unpredictable.
Like in a famous case of the Death and Devil standing very often in front of Saint Mary’s Church. They were both in a top group of performers with a few years of experience, well known and recognisable for Kraków residences as well as tourists. But the town hall office received 2(!) complaints from conserned citizens saying that the figures are to scary for children and they are confusing them (one lady had a problem with death being nice to her son – she was afraid it would mess with his head). Also there was an issue of them standing in front of a church. Both dark characters received official appeals to stop their activities and change the form of their costumes. But of course they could not sacrifice their artistic consistency so they received a few tickets for illegal performing that they did not accept. And this is how whole affair ended up in court.
The case of Death a Devil became very popular in media. They started to collect signatures, other performers were all very supportive (including an Angel standing in front of the same church :). Fortunately they both won their trials and right now you can still admire their impressive figures at the Square right next to the Angel – so balance in the amount of evil and good powers in the square is even again. Death gets a trial? Thinghs like that only in Kraków 🙂