Actor’s retrospective. We will show movies and TV theatre productions and invite our viewers to participate in a meeting with the actor.
Jesus, or rather Yeshua Ha-Notsri, as well as the Devil, Robespierre, Vivaldi and Polish communist politician Władysław Gomułka or educator Janusz Korczak—these are some of the characters that Polish film enthusiasts see with Wojciech Pszoniak’s face. If they happen to be theatre enthusiasts as well, they have an even wider array of figures they can picture this prominent actor as.
Pszoniak was born on the 2nd of May 1942 in Lviv. Near the end of the Second World War, his family moved to Silesia, leaving behind everything they had. Passion for art ran in the family: his parents played the violin and actively partook in cultural life. Other than the violin, Pszoniak played the clarinet, and the oboe in music school. However, he chose a different path than music. He gained his first acting experience in school and student theatres and cabarets, and in 1968 he graduated from PWST National Academy of Theatre Arts in Krakow. The same year marks the beginning of his acting career, first in the Stary Theatre in Krakow (1968–1972), then the National Theatre (1972–1974) and the Powszechny Theatre (1974–1980) in Warsaw. From 1978, he played in France, and in 1982, he left Poland for good. The year 1993 was another huge step in his career as he started appearing in London theatres. ‘When I play in Paris, I feel like I’m playing in Paris, for the French. When I play in London, I feel like I’m playing for the whole world. It’s because London is the world’s theatre capital,’ the actor said in an anniversary interview for Gazeta Wyborcza.
At the Two Riversides Festival, we will present this theatrical side of Wojciech Pszoniak. In the monodrama “The Teacher” (“Belfer”), directed by Michał Kwieciński, the titular character, who works with so-called difficult teenagers, is suffering from professional burnout and tries to make sense between the noble ideas that inspired him at the beginning of his career and the harsh reality that he has to endure every day. Pszoniak will also read out select fragments of “Professor Tutka” (“Profesor Tutka”), a collection of witty short forms by Jerzy Szaniawski, a personal refuge of humour and subtlety for the actor and for the world against the deluge of mediocrity and boorishness that engulfs us.
Alongside his theatre performances, Pszoniak also acted in films. This aspect of his career includes extraordinary, unforgettable appearances in pictures by such distinguished filmmakers as Andrzej Wajda, Filip Bajon, Volker Schlöndorff or Agnieszka Holland. Always on the lookout for new challenges and interesting new roles to play, he refused to stagnate, to stop developing as an actor. We have the great pleasure to indulge our audiences with four films featuring this remarkable artist: “Danton” (1983), directed by Andrzej Wajda, where Pszoniak portrays as Maximilien Robespierre as an unrelenting, ascetic revolutionary, burning with inner fire; Filip Bajon’s brilliant debut “Aria for an Athlete” (“Aria dla atlety”, 1979) with Pszoniak as the ringmaster Siedelmayer; Wajda’s “Pilate and Others” (“Piłat i inni”, 1972) based on Bulgakov’s “The Master and Margarita”, where Pszoniak is Yeshua Ha-Notsri, and the biblical motifs are transposed into the context of Germany of that time; and finally “Korczak” (1990), an immensely taxing film. How to show a testimony of the Holocaust and this peculiar kind of hope that you know will not come true?
sources: culture.pl, wyborcza.pl, pap.pl