The Polish Theatre in Vilnius, which celebrates its splendid jubilee, has gone back to its roots. The play “Ladies and Husars” directed by Inka Dowlasz was performed on the former Pohuliankos Theatre stage. The staging of this particular play by the father of Polish comedy directed by Irena Rymowicz inaugurated the activity of the Polish Theatre in Vilnius.
The Saturday`s celebration was triple. The 100. birthday of the founder of the Theatre, Irena Rymowicz, and 50 years of Danuta Sielicka`s artistic activity, who starred Ms Ogrodowa in “Ladies and Huzars.”
Irena Litwinowicz, the artistic director of the Polish Theatre in Vilnius, welcomed the audience and pointed out that the theatre team is accompanied by the memories of the charismatic and hardworking founder.
“Today we celebrate a really special jubilee – the 100. birthday anniversary of the actresss, the founder of our theatre and its many years` director, Irena Rymowicz. She ran the theatre for over 30 years, brought up many fantastic actors, who are still here with us. She was fully committed to her job and her spirit still remains with us. We are trying to appropriately continue her work,” said Irena Litwinowicz during the celebrations opening.
The first premiere of “Ladies and Huzars” directed by Irena Rymowicz was staged in 1965. The performance was highly praised by the multinational Vilnius community. Some professional screenwriters and choreographers cooperated with the theatres, such, as a fabulous Lithuanian graphic artist, Vytautas Kalinauskas, choreographer, Zofia Gulewicz, many years` director of the legendary “Wila”, Tatjana Sedunowa, the artistic director of the Lithuanian Opera Ballet Troup, sound engineer, Jurij Łukaszewski (Irena Rymowicz`s son). In the theatre Joanna Moro (who has currently been very successful in Poland and Russia) began her professional career, same as, now working in Warsaw, Jan Drawel and Agata Meilutė.
The theatre has also gone through some difficult times when it had to work without having any seat and the team worked in poor conditions. However, as it demonstrated with its activity, it is possible to overcome all of the obstacles if one believes in one`s mission and works fervently. Therefore, the Polish Theatre in Vilnius has staged over 50 premieres and 3,000 performances and has taken part in theatre festivals in Lithuania and abroad.
When it comes to „ Ladies and Huzars,” this performance perfectly matches not only the celebrations of the jubilee but also to wonderfully please the melancholic autumn atmosphere. The comedy, in which a comic situation of brave huzars becoming helpless in the face of vulnerable women and their whims is depicted, was greeted with enthusiastic applause and the delight of the audience.
“Fredro adresses the perennial themes of the heart-reason and love-economy struggles. The characters` efforts to reasonable calculation is thwarted by fortune, which writes its own scenarios. Scenarios, as the author wishes, written by love.” – comments the play Inka Dowlasz, the director. On the Pohuliankos Theatre stage, well-known and praised by Vilnius` audiences actresses and actors gave performance together with celebrating her 50th anniversary of artistic activity, Danuta Sielicka: Mieczysław Dwilewicz, Mirosław Szejbak, Jerzy Szymanel, Teresa Samsonow, Danuta Sosnowska, Dariusz Pietrowicz. The audience`s liking gained also the young generation of actresses and actors: Inesa Starkowska, Rafał Piesliak, Bożena Sosnowska, Weronika Matuiza, Justyna Smilgin.
Among the audience, there were a lot of distinguished guests, such as, Stanisław Cygnarowski, the Polish consul in Vilnius, Maria Ślebioda, chargé d’affaires of the Polish Embassy in Lithuania, Krzysztof Łachmański, the secretary of the Association “Polish Community”, Maria Rekść, the Vilnius Region mayor, Józef Kwiatkowski, the president of the Polish Educational Society in Lithuania, Krystyna Dzierżyńska, the vice-president of the Polish Educational Society in Lithuania, Michał Mackiewicz, a Member of Parliament, the president of the Association of Poles in Lithuania, Edyta Tamošiūnaitė, a councilor of the city of Vilnius, Apolonia Skakowska, the president of the Stanisław Moniuszko Polish Cultural Centre. During the celebrations, representatives of the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania, clergy, and cultural, social, and diplomatic institutions expressed their wishes and congratulations.
Maria Ślebioda highlighted in her speech that this year is particularly important for the theatre in Poland.
“This year, we are celebrating the 250th anniversary of the foundation of the public theatre. We are also celebrating the 100th Tadeusz Kantor`s birthday anniversary, whose legacy is of great importance for the development of Polish theatre. That`s why this 50th anniversary is perfectly matching this atmosphere of celebration. In the age of the Internet, when it is apparent that we are overwhelmed by the rubbish mass culture, I am very glad that the Polish theatre is flourishing, both in Poland and here in the Vilnius Region. It is particularly heartening to me as the continuation of polish language and culture is not as obvious here as in Poland,” said the representative of the Polish Embassy.
The congratulations letter written by the Polish president, Andrzej Duda, was read out. The president expressed his congratulations on the golden jubilee.
Stanisław Cygnarowski red out a congratulations letter written by the president of the Foundation “Aid to Poles in the East”, Janusz Skolimowski, and handed in the Meritus Patriae medal to the artistic director of the theatre, Irena Litwinowicz. Danuta Sielicka was also awarded the medal in her 50th anniversary of artistic activity; Krzysztof Łachmański handed the medal in on behalf of the “Polish Community.” The celebrations were closed by singing the traditional Polish song “Sto Lat” (One Hundred Years).
HISTORY OF THE POLISH THEATRE IN VILNIUS
The Polish Theatre in Vilnius was founded in 1965 as the Polish Theatrical Team under the Railwaymen Palace of Culture in Vilnius. In 1980, it obtained the status of the Polish People`s Amateur Theatre (the highest possibile rank by the contemporary authority). In 1990 the team already under the name the Polish Theatre in Vilnius was awarded by the Polish Ministry of Culture and Arts the prize “Of Outstanding Merit for the Polish Culture.” The founder, many years` director and artistic director of the theatre was a professional actress and director, Irena Rymowicz. Since 1993 the artistic direktor of the theatre has been Irena Litwinowicz: many years` actress of the theatre, holding a directing degree of the Leningrad`s State Culture Institute.
The Polish Theatre in Vilnius staged 50 premieres and over 3 thousand performances. The repertoire of the theatre includes tragedies, comedies, tales and farses by Polish, Lithuanian and world classics staged in the Polish language. As the first place in Lithuania, it began conducting Christmas plays for children in the Polish language. The theatre does not stage only in Vilnius and the Vilnius Region. It gave guest performances in Latvia, Belarus, Ukraine, Estonia, Russia, and Armenia and often stages in Poland. It regularly takes part and gets awards at amateur theatre festivals in Poland and Lithuania. In the years 1993-2001, the team worked without having its own seat and stage and it gave its performances in the Russian Dramatic Theatre in Vilnius. Since 2001, the theatre has had its seat in the House of Polish Culture in Vilnius.
Tłumaczenie by Julia Siepak w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Julia Siepak within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.