Category: Poland

Arriving in Warsaw - Part Two

Posted August 4, 2011 - 5:18pm

Allen Kuharski, a scholar and translator of Polish theater at Swarthmore College, is at the performance. We have known each other for years from the Philadelphia theater scene. Allen likes the production a lot, and he’s visibly pleased to see that the play doesn’t have an ideological agenda to show the Poles as anti-Semites. He tells me that he was worried about producing the play in the States because he thought that without the knowledge of Polish history, US audiences wouldn’t understand the complexities of the play. However, the performance has persuaded him that the play’s moral concerns are universal. Allen remarks that this is the first time in the Polish theater that this subject – the relationship between Catholic and Jewish Poles – is not merely hinted at but is addressed explicitly and straight on, without the use of metaphor.

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Arriving in Warsaw - Part One

Posted July 28, 2011 - 10:03am

Early morning – I’m leaving Prague for Warsaw by train. Tonight I’m seeing the Polish production of ‘Our Class’ and meeting Tadeusz Slobodzianek, the author of the play. Tadeusz’s assistant Kalina is waiting for me at the train station. She is waving at me as if I were an old friend. In order to recognize me among the rest of the passengers, she watched Wilma YouTube interviews. ‘I feel like I have known you for a long time,’ she laughs.  I’m staying in an actor’s apartment at Teatr na Woli, in the former Jewish section of Warsaw. The city was largely destroyed by the Germans during World War II, after the Warsaw Uprising.  In contrast to Prague, admired for its beautiful architecture dating all the way to the 11th century, it’s difficult to find any authentic buildings that pre-date World War II. Most of Warsaw had to be re-built after the war.

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