• August 8, 2014
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Theatrical play about general Elżbieta Zawacka will be held in Vilnius

The Polish Theatre in Vilnius and the House of Polish Culture in Vilnius invite to a theatrical play titled “Elżbieta Watson – Silent Unseen” starring Teresa Stępień-Nowicka which will be held on Sunday, 17th August.

The play directed by Inka Dowlasz presents the life of an outstanding Polish woman – professor and general – Elżbieta Zawacka, alias “Zo”. It is a confrontation of a modern independent woman with a biography of woman general who “served Poland as best she could”. The main character of this monodrama is Kamila – an actress who works as a waitress in London and waits for her chance. Kamila immersed in the present day runs from casting to casting maintaining contact with the world only by Facebook. Suddenly the world of memories and Polish trauma of war struck her, although she emigrated wanting to forget about it. Is it really possible to forget about one’s roots? Kamila was offered to play a role. She reads the screenplay and gets to know the history of the legendary Silent Unseen and the history of her own family.

The monodrama follows the convention of “theatre in theatre”. This form allows the main character to repeatedly change the scene from the world of war and occupation to the world of Skype, castings and waiting tables. The travel between these worlds and sometimes between the past and the present is not only a history lesson, but also a lesson about herself and her roots.

General Elżbieta Zawacka died in 2009 in Toruń where she was born. She was one of the two woman generals in the Polish Army. The monodrama about her life was written two years after her death. The screenplay based on life of Zawacka was written and directed by Inka Dowlesz, the stage design was prepared by Anna Sekuła and music by Marisz Ziemba. The main character was played by Polish TV and theatre actress Teresa Stępień-Nowicka. The play has many favourable reviews and gained recognition for its artistic and historical value.

“Inka Dowlesz in her artistic work does not reflect the reality. Instead she seeks a crossing between realities in quest for the internal image of the reality. To achieve that a specific communication with the audience is needed. Therefore it is of great importance that so skilled actress as Teresa Stępień-Nowicka, who is associated with the Wilam Horzyca Theatre in Toruń, will be responsible for the task of creating the communication. She gained experience on many theatre stages performing often in monodramas, for example in the play “Lewa, wspomnienia prawej” of Krystyna Kofta about the battle against cancer. If that performance was a challenge, what can we say about the difficulty of presenting the heroic woman solider who was decorated with the Order of the White Eagle without idolising her?” – described ‘Express Bydgoski’ the performance of Teresa Stępień-Nowicka.

The play “Elizabeth Watson – Silent Unseen” will be held on 17th August in the House of Polish Culture in Vilnius. The play starts at 3 p.m. Admission free.

Zawacka – Watson

Elżbieta Zawacka, aliases “Zelma”, “Sulica”, “Zo”, was born on 19th March 1909 in Toruń. She was a courier of the Home Army Headquarters. She was the only one among other 15 woman candidates who successfully passed training and served later as a Silent Unseen. Under the alias “Elizabeth Watson” she completed a parachuting training and at own request come back to Poland parachuting on 10th September 1943. Zawacka is the second Polish woman in the history of Polish Army who was promoted to Major general. She carried on with conspiratorial activity even after the downfall of the Warsaw Uprising. She was responsible for the western routes leading to the base in Switzerland. In 1951 she was falsely accused of espionage and sentenced to 10 years of prison, but she was released in 1955. Since 1960s Zawacka collected materials about the history of the Home Army. In 1990 she established the Pomeranian Home Army Archive Foundation in Toruń. She was decorated with the War Order of Virtuti Militari and five times with the Cross of Valour. In 1995 she received the Order of the White Eagle. In 2006 she was promoted to the rank of Major general and in 1992 she became a honorary citizen of Toruń. Zawacka died on 10th January 2009 in her hometown, Toruń.

Translated by Maciej Jóźwiak within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.

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