The Polish Cultural Center presents The Marek Probosz Theater in the monodrama “Powrót Norwida / Norwid’s Return“; the performance is in Polish with English subtitles. This spectacle, directed and produced by Marek Probosz, has won the Best New York Premiere award at the United Solo Festival in New York. The monodrama starring Marek Probosz has been written by Kazimierz Brown based on works by the great romantic poet Cyprian Norwid and features piano music arranged by Anna von Urbans and performed by Lukasz Yoder.
The monodrama “Norwid’s Return” is a minimalist contemporary dialogue between an actor and a pianist, a rich tapestry between words and music in which Norwid pulsates with emotion and provokes with every thought.
The stage is set to a contained space of a mere paper square – the representation of Norwid’s spiritual and material reality, the homeless world of an emigrant, a reflection of the inner world of an outcast. In this realm of tension, rebellion, and passionate intellectual polemics, the paper stage is gradually ripped, defaced, and ultimately torn to shreds. Past and present intertwine making painful settlements with a rejected love, society and criticism, which ridiculed his work as “complex” and “brilliantly suicidal”, and the Russian Tsarist regime, which condemned him as an exile and prohibited his return to the homeland.
The dialogue between the actor and the pianist is a dynamic collision of words and sounds, a web of inner contemplation and resonance which reverberates deep within the heart of human emotion, confronting traditions, and enchanting with a radical truth and the raw genius of a poet ahead of his time. By melding and cleaving a stage play and a musical performance, it illuminates the Norwidean darkness and the complexity of his mind. Represented by familiar forms of classical music of the great composers (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Maurice Ravel, Frederic Chopin, Karol Szymanowski) the melodrama uncompromisingly transforms through extended piano technique into an exotic, and colorful orchestra which exceeds what is possible.
It delights and terrifies, all at once. An instrument was torn from its familiar world of elegance and comfort and a homeless emigrant, a poet on the brink of insanity, who collapses on the pavement of the modern metropolitan dumpster, subject to the same torture.
The rejected visionary returns to us today, more than 200 years after his birth, as a contemporary innovator who delights, cheers, moves, and shocks with aesthetic radicalism.
Marek Probosz is best known for his daring portrayal of cinema legend Roman Polanski in the Warner Bros. film “Helter Skelter“, and for the award-winning television movie “The Death of Captain Pilecki” in which he starred as one of the greatest heroes of the 20th century, Polish army officer Witold Pilecki who volunteered for a secret undercover mission at Auschwitz in order to inform the Polish underground, smuggle out intelligence to the allies, and build a resistance organization among the prisoners. In LA, Probosz received accolades for the role of Odysseus in Philoktetes at the Getty Villa. His work has been honored numerous times, most recently with the 2023 Modjeska Prize, Los Angeles; the 2022 Pola Negri Politka Award, Lipno, Poland; and the 2018 Golden Owl (the Polish Diaspora “Oscar”), Vienna, Austria. Since 2005, Probosz has been teaching in the UCLA Department of Theater Film and Television. Probosz’s film and television career includes roles in Polish, Czech, German, French, Italian and American productions and co-productions.
Tickets available at eventbrite: $45 general, $35 for PHA members. The door opens at 5 pm with the bar upstairs ready to serve.
This event is supported by the Seattle Polish Foundation and the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Los Angeles.