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Jerzy Turowicz

Photo from the archives of Jerzy Turowicz

Jerzy Turowicz

Tygodnik Powszechny: On the 15th Anniversary of Piwnica pod Baranami

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Read by Piotr Czarnota, recorded by Radiofonia Association
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English translation: Patrycja Le
‘Nowhere else has there ever been such a cabaret. Piwnica came into being quite incidentally, formed by a playful group of young, slightly bohemian artists. Fifteen years have now passed; they are still young and it is hard to imagine them otherwise. Piwnica's style is chaos among permanence; improvisation and spontaneity. Its artists entertain the audience by entertaining themselves; they laugh at themselves, they laugh at the audience, they break down all barriers between the stage and the spectators. They shun neither kitsch nor deer painting, do not fear sentimentalism. Still, their cabaret is poetic, artistic, sophisticated and intricate. (...) A cabaret seemingly apolitical, yet continually gleaming with political allusions. Piwnica’s shows are created, prepared and performed by teamwork. And yet, this very group (...) has produced great talents which thrive even outside the cabaret. The most prominent among them is Ewa Demarczyk, considered by many (including the author of these words) the greatest Polish songstress of today with matchless timbre and voice projection, as well as tremendous expressive force. Krysia Zachwatowicz-Obłońska (please, excuse the familiar form, but Krystyna seems simply unfitting) (...) – how can one translate into words such grace and such powerful comical sense, embodied in a figure so petite? Yet, she is also one of the best Polish stage designers, renowned for her work in Poland and abroad. Krzysztof Litwin, delivering even the funniest lines with a dead serious, if not melancholically sombre face, whom everybody knows from his numerous – although not numerous enough – Polish movies. One ought to mention them all: Wiesław Dymny with his monologues, Mietek Święcicki with his Russian romances and others, wronged by omission, who will hopefully forgive me. And let us not forget three brilliant composers: Konieczny, Radwan and Zarycki (...). Piotr Skrzynecki would deserve the title of a “distinguished promoter of culture” or an award of the City of Krakow. But, frankly speaking, he needs none of them. All he needs is a straw panama or an old, wrinkled top hat and his bell, to be ready – hopefully for many years to come – to summon Piwnica's admirers and enthusiasts inside.’
English translation: Patrycja Le
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Jerzy Turowicz

(1912­-1999) – a journalist and editor. In 1945, one of the founders of Tygodnik Powszechny Catholic weekly. From the institution of the magazine to his death, he was its editor-in-chief. In 1953, he refused to publish Stalin’s official obituary, for which – together with the whole editorial team – he was removed from the post for three years. After coming of Władysław Gomułka to power, he returned to the post. An active oppositionist, in 1963 he signed the Letter of 34 in protest against the omnipresent censorship. In the 1980s, the magazine he published became the unofficial organ of the opposition. A member of the Chapter of the Order of White Eagle. Znak Publishing House, whose president he was from 1960 to 1990, published a collection of his articles as a volume entitled Bilet do raju (Ticket to Paradise) in 1999, i.e. already after the death of the author. (ms)

 

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