A Theatrical Memoir

PART III: BECAMING AN ACTOR-MIME

I: How was your first day of work in the Wroclaw Pantomime Theater?

M: When I arrived, there was an emergency situation in the theater. The whole company was called in. I remember them arriving and gathering around.

I: What was your impression?

M: It was the most beautiful group of people I’d ever seen in my whole life. They were stars. You could see that at once.

I: How so?

M: Each of them had something strikingly attractive or intriguing in their appearance.

I: What was it?

M: What?

I: That something “strikingly attractive or intriguing” in them that made them look like stars.

M: You had to see them to really understand it.

I: Oh. Come on!

M: It’s something extraordinary in a person that you see immediately and it grabs you. Maybe it’s a glow, charisma, or unusual features. You know, the stars shine and so did they. They were like gods who had stepped out of Olympus to earth.

I: Wow! You were really impressed by them.

M: Yes, I was. Besides, they were young, physically well shaped, and sexy. And they had cool-looking clothes bought in the West that were very rare but very hip in Poland at that time.

I: Ha, ha, ha.

M: All that was appealing to me.

I: Being a young man as you were at that time.

M: That’s right!

I: How did they behave?

M: The first thing each of them did was to check for a rehearsal schedule on the bulletin board, but it wasn’t there. “Where’s the rehearsal schedule?” “Why isn’t it here?” “Do you know what we’re doing?” they were asking each other.

But no one knew for sure, so some of them were getting frustrated. “What’s going on? How can it be? We are wasting time! Where is Tolek? Tolek! Tolek!” They were calling for Tolek Krupa, who was an actor and also the stage manager. But Tolek was in the office working on the schedule with Henryk Tomaszewski and his assistant, Jerzy Kozłowski. So we were waiting, I among them, hanging there. But no one was paying attention to me, as if I were invisible.

They were wrapped up in their own discontentment, which I sensed but didn’t know what it was really about. For sure, it wasn’t just about the lack of a rehearsal schedule. But I was soon to find out.

A little bit later Tolek came out of the office, and announced a partial rehearsal plan and promised to post the schedule for the whole week, as soon as he knew the plan. Going through the scenes to be worked on that day, he and the actors decided who had to stay and who could go.

Then Tolek approached me, “You are Mr. Krzysztof Szwaja, I guess,” he said.

“Yes, I am.”

He introduced himself formally and apologized, “Sorry that you had to wait so long. I have had no chance to take care of you yet because we have an emergency situation here in the theater.” Then he explained, “The company just returned from Paris yesterday after a month of touring in France. We were supposed to have a few days off to rest after it, but unfortunately, one actor had to leave the company immediately. So we urgently need to recast his parts in the production of The Menagerie of the Empress Phylissa because the company goes with this show to the International Theater Festival in Greece in ten days.”

I: Was that the same festival that Andrzej Szczuzewski was telling you about in Leba?

M: Yes it was. The WPT went to this festival almost every year.

I: I see. So?

M: So Tolek continued, “Henryk Tomaszewski cast you to substitute the departed actor in some of his parts. The assistant of the director, Jerzy Kozlowski, shall come out of the office any moment, and he’ll tell you exactly which parts you are going to work on.”

Then Tolek took me to the men’s dressing room, assigned a locker, and told me to change quickly because my rehearsal would start in five or ten minutes. He also told me to come to the office after the rehearsal and to take care of the paper work for my passport because I was going to go with them to Greece, to the International Theater Festival in Corfu. Wow, could I imagine a better start in the Wroclaw Pantomime Theater?

I: No, you could not.

M: By the way, Tolek looked neither like a god nor a star. In fact, he looked extremely ordinary: a small balding man in his early forties, which was very old for the WPT.

I: What was the average age in the company?

M: I would say, thirty or less.

I: You were a very young company.

M: Mime is the art of the body, good for young people, even more so in the WPT where mime was reinforced with dance and acrobatics.

I: How was your first rehearsal?

M: I was working on the group scenes with the supervision of the assistant of the director, Jerzy Kozlowski.

I: How did you work?

M: First, he told me a bit about the scenes, then we were recreating the choreography and blocking, and then we were working on the physical routines of my parts with the company.

I: How it went?

M: It went great.

I: How so?

M: I got the physical routines rather quickly and tuned well with the company.

I: Good for you.

M: I was very happy because from the first moment, I found myself at home there. It was like, well, perfect.

I: Perfect?

M: Yes, it was perfect. But then suddenly, bam, an accident happened that almost ended in another catastrophe – ha, ha, ha, ha. Things can’t just be perfect, can they?

I: What happened?

M: Jerzy Stępniak, one of my scene partners, kicked me in the jaw during one of my first rehearsals at the WPT.

I: No!

Me: Yes!

I: Did he break it again?

M: No, no. Luckily, his kick only brushed my jaw. It wasn’t strong enough to break it again but strong enough to give me a jolt and make it numb for several hours.

I: How did he kick you?

M: My take on it is that he was dozing during rehearsal, woke up confused and thought it was his cue, so he entered onto the stage and did his acrobatic stunt at the wrong moment. Later on, I learned that it was like him to do that kind of unpredictable move. He would space out and then suddenly, boom, do something quite off.

I: Was that kind of behavior tolerated?

M: You mean falling asleep during rehearsals?

I: Yes.

M: No, not really. But that day it could be tolerated, I presume, because they had traveled from Paris the day before and were tired. Besides, Jerzy Stepniak was a big star, so he got away with it.

I: What was his talent?

M: He had many talents. He was good in all three movement-disciplines required in the WPT: mime, dance, and acrobatics. Yet, primarily he was trained as a dancer, and when he came to the WPT, which was only about a year before me, he already had a huge career as a dancer in different theaters and operas. He was technically very good, in particular, in jumps and turns. Some things that he could do were very spectacular. I always admired him. He was the best dancer I’ve ever worked with and, in some respects, the best dancer I’ve ever seen.

I: Better than Baryshnikov?

M: You bet.

I: Really?

M: Yes, in some respects, if we can really compare.

I: And he was the guy who kicked you in the jaw?

M: That’s right! Ha, ha, ha.

I: It’s funny what actors remember.

M: What?

I: Nothing.

M: After all it was my jaw.

I: Had you seen The Menagerie of the Empress Phylissa performed on the stage before you joined the company?

M: Yes, I had.

I: So you knew what you were stepping into?

M: Oh, yes, I did. At that point, I had seen The Menagerie at least twice, maybe even more.

I: You don’t remember exactly how many times you saw that show?

M: No, I don’t.

I: Isn’t that peculiar?

M: Not really. I’d seen many WPT shows prior to joining the company, so I’ve lost count. But I remember the details of The Menagerie of the Empress Phylissa from the point of view of the audience pretty well. It indicates that I must have seen it many times. I remember seeing it at least twice, as I already said. Maybe that was all.

I: Some shows stay with you better than others.

M: That’s right.

I: What is the point of seeing the same show many times?

M: In the case of The Menagerie of the Empress Phylissa, I could watch it many times just for the sake of pleasure.

I: Because?

M: It was a very entertaining show.

I: Many shows are entertaining and yet people watch them only once.

M: It’s enough to see some shows only once (even the good ones). You watch them for the novelty sake. But when you get their contents and their message, that’s it, often there is no need to see them again.

I: That’s right.

M: But there are shows that you can see many times and never get bored with them. The Menagerie of the Empress Phylissa was that kind of show. The second time, I watched it to get what I had missed the first time because there were plenty of activities going on in the background, parallel to the main action, that weren’t less interesting than the main action. And then I could have watched it again and again for the sake of the virtuosity of the performances. The Menagerie of the Empress Phylissa was a masterfully staged and performed pantomime. It was always delightful to watch.

I: What kind of drama was The Menagerie of the Empress Phylissa?

M: It was a libidinal comedy.

I: A libidinal comedy?

M: Yes, a libidinal comedy.

I: I’ve never heard this term used as a dramatic genre.

M: Nether have I. But I can’t come up with a more suitable label for the show than this one.

I: What was the show about?

M: It was about the sexual awakening of the Empress Phylissa and her quest to find a suitable lover who would satisfy her.

I: Did she find one?

M: No, she never did but her search was incessant, so it made for a good libidinal pantomime.

I: How was the show done?

M: The show ran one and a half hours with no intermission, and there were eight scenes, a prologue, and an epilogue.

I: What was the set up?

M: The basic set up of the story was like a fairytale (for the adults, of course.) In the prologue, the curtain slowly went up, and we saw a beautiful young girl–princess, still a nymphet, playing childishly innocently with her doll while sitting on the edge of her royal bed. The bed was the only, but very elaborately designed piece of furniture on the stage, placed upstage center.

At a certain moment, the girl abruptly stops playing and freezes, stunned by a flash of unfamiliar emotions in her body. We guess that she is sexually aroused and doesn’t know how to handle it. First, her face becomes distorted in an expression of blissful imbecility, but then she becomes disturbed by the weirdness of her imagination and tries to disregard it. Terrified, she goes back to playing with her doll as if nothing has happened. But it did happen and she is not able to shake it off. Her playing with the doll becomes erratic, growing frantic, and then she loses it –raging hormones overpower her and mess her up — she throws her doll away with anger and explodes violently in a mad fury. Then she falls into a catatonic stupor.

The royal court pronounces her sick and calls for the court doctor. He examines her carefully and finds no signs of physical illness. But he is more than a medical doctor; he is a wise man. So, he realizes that the Empress Phylissa is experiencing a sexual awakening and that her case is extreme. Urgently he writes her a prescription on a long roll of paper with only one word – MARRY.

I: What does Phylissa do?

M: Phylissa rejects his prescription with a gesture of indignation. (Who would get married unless one had to?) But the doctor flips the roll to the other side and reveals an almost full size skeleton drawn there.

I: Ha, ha, ha, ha. It is funny.

M: She has a choice either to marry or to die.

I: What is her choice?

M: Facing that ominous predicament, she decides to marry. The question is only whom?

I: What are her options?

M: Her options are unlimited.

I: How so?

M: We are in the theater of illusion watching a surrealistic play. Anything she imagines will come to life. So, she can have any man she can fancy. Besides, she is the empress; her desires become royal orders. So, as she wishes, the choicest suitors arrive to the palace, one by one they come.

I: Who were the suitors?

M: They were the famous male personages of the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries that were idolized in different time-periods as iconic lovers. Each of them represented a different type of manhood and/or offered a different recipe for happiness in love.

I: Why didn’t the empress choose any of them to be her husband?

M: Because none of them was able to fully satisfy her as a lover.

I: And she would not settle for less than ultimate fulfillment in love?

M: No, she would not. She was uncompromising in her quest for the perfect lover.

I: What were her criteria?

M: Who knows?

I: She had to have some.

M: At the least, she didn’t want to be disappointed, I guess.

I: And at the most?

M: I guess she wanted to be “mastered” by a man.

I: Really?

M: Isn’t it what all women want?

I: Wow, wow, wow! Now you have feminists screaming their lungs out in protest.

M: Let them scream. It is in vain.

I: How so?

M: What do feminists know about what a real woman wants?

I: Come on, what about her famous suitors?

M: What about them?

I: Did they know what a real woman wants? Did they figure out what Empress Phylissa wanted?

M: They all claimed that they knew how to please a woman, not to say, to master her.

I: Okay?

M: Each of them had a reputable theory. Each of them had his ways.

I: Did any of them make her happy?

M: No, none of them did, and it was a problem looked at in the play.

I: What was the message?

M: That there is no fixed recipe for love.

I: Don’t people fall in love?

M: Yes, they do but it happens without recipes, without theories, without love potions. It just happens for mysterious reasons and in mysterious ways and when it does, we know it.

I: What was wrong with Empress Phylissa’s suitors?

M: They were all narcissistic.

I: How so?

M: They were men in love with the fame, power, and beauty of their own superman-like egos that they created, but when there were stripped naked, metaphorically speaking, they appeared as insignificant as dwarfs.

I: What was the literary source of The Menagerie of the Empress Phylissa?

M: It was based on the mime play The Empress of Newfoundland (Kaiserin von NeuFundland) written in 1892-4 by the German playwright Frank Wedekind.

I: A mime play?

M: Yes.

I: Written mime plays are very rare, are they not?

M: Yes, they are almost nonexistent. The Menagerie of Empress Phylissa was the only mime show in the history of the WPT (that I know about) that was based on a written mime play. Most of the shows were based or inspired by verbal drama or literature, but also by the visual arts, such as painting and sculpture.

I: Have you read Wedekind’s mime play?

M: Yes, I have. But I read it for the first time just a few years ago in English. (For the record, it was translated from German by Anthony Vivis.)

I: Why didn’t you read it earlier, when you were working on it?

M: Because there was no Polish translation of The Empress of Newfoundland at that time.

I: So how did you work on the play without reading it?

M: Henryk Tomaszewski read it in German; he knew German as well as he did Polish, if not better. Then he adapted it for his production. We worked on Henryk Tomaszewski’s adaptation of the Frank Wedekind’s mime play. At that time, I only knew Tomaszewski’s version, but now I also know the original, so I can compare.

I: How faithful was Henryk Tomaszewski’s adaptation to the original?

M: It was a creative adaption.

I: What does that mean in this case?

M: Henryk Tomaszewski took almost everything from the original but then he deconstructed it.

I: How did he do it?

M: He took the initial set-up of Wedekind’s The Empress of Newfoundland, the same existential predicament of the girl’s sexual awakening, but then he slightly and yet essentially remade the character of the heroin and by that changed the course of the whole drama arriving at a different resolution.

In Frank Wedekind’s play, the Empress Phylissa is a lunatic who is going mad with delusional love and commits suicide at the end of the play while still being a virgin. It’s a tragic case of a virgin suicide. Something went wrong: Is it a defect in Phylissa’s nature or her mental derangement? This is the question that Wedekind’s play poses, but there is not an easy, ready-made answer; the audience can only speculate about it. The play doesn’t resolve this puzzle but presents its case. And it is a horrifying story that may terrify young girls as the worst possible nightmare, as the worst possible scenario of delusional love. I guess there is a didactic message in this play that warns young girls not to indulge in this kind of love — an inclination many of them have. (I am not saying a girl should sacrifice her dream, but please, don’t turn it into a nightmare.)

I: How different is Henryk Tomaszewski’s Empress Phylissa?

M: In Henryk Tomaszewski’s pantomime she had no vulnerability and didn’t commit suicide. Quite opposite, she was perfectly healthy, both physically and mentally, and had an enormous appetite for life. But she had a mercurial temperament, very moody, inconstant, and quickly bored. Henryk Tomaszewski staged the Empress Phylissa as a female version of Don Juan who searches for absolute fulfillment in love. But is there a lover who could fully satisfy her? Henryk Tomaszewski’s version of the play went on this quest.

I: What is the answer?

M: The answer is: no, there is no such thing as a perfect lover, at least not for Empress Phylissa.

I: How come?

M: In the course of the play, she had many lovers, chosen among the greatest men in history during the last three centuries, but none of them was able to fully satisfy her.

I: How many lovers did she have?

M: She had nine lovers chosen from about a dozen suitors, which is different than in the original play where Phylissa had only four suitors and fell in love with one of them, though only idealistically — there was no sex. Whereas the original Phylissa was a puritan, Tomaszewski’s Phylissa was a hedonistic libertine.

I: What was your role in The Menagerie of the Empress Phylissa?

M: I performed Hidalla’s Medium who becomes one of the Empress Phylissa’s lovers.

I: Who was Hidalla?

M: Hidalla was a famous racial supremacist, nevertheless, only a fictional character that Henryk Tomaszewski presumably borrowed from another Frank Wedekind’s play Hidalla, oder Sein und Haben (1905).

I: Did you read this play?

M: No, I didn’t read that play, but I know it is a satire about the breeding of races by matching people based on their physical beauty.

I: What an outrageous concept!

M: Yes, it is.

I: Who was Hidalla in your pantomime?

M: In our pantomime, Hidalla was a mad hypnotist who conjured up an apparition of a superman imagined as a German fascist dressed in the military uniform of an SS officer and played by me.

I: How did you get this part?

M: It was a fluke, a total fluke.

I: How did it happen?

M: Oh, it was stupid.

I: Tell me about it.

M: During the first few days in the WPT, I rehearsed two supporting parts, Napoleon’s Companion and Ludovico’s Companion, with the supervision of Jerzy Kozłowski, the director’s assistant. Henryk Tomaszewski came to the rehearsal for the first time at the end of the third day. He came to see what we had done, and then he took over for the last half-hour. Afterward he addressed the whole company, “We still haven’t cast the part of Medium.” Then he giggled mischievously and asked, “Which one of you knows how to do the wavy, snake-like motion with your stomach muscles that this part requires?”

But no one answered, so I said, “I know how to do that.”

“You do?” Tomaszewski asked visibly both surprised and amused with my audacity.

“Yes, I do.”

“Show me,” he said.

So I did.

“Yes, you know how to do it,” he agreed and then added after a short pause, “Okay, you will work on the part.”

Then he thanked everybody for the rehearsal and quickly left the room.

I: Incredible!

M: That’s what I thought, but a moment later, I realized what I’d done.

I: What do you mean?

M: There was a silence, an icy-cold silence in the room. No one said a word. Then the actors left the room without the usual chatter.

I: So?

M: Obviously they weren’t happy that I got a solo part.

I: Why?

M: There were many young actor-mimes waiting for years to get one. And then someone like me, an unknown dancer who came from, alas, operetta, immediately gets a large role.

I: Were they envious?

M: Maybe a few of them were, the younger ones who wanted that part. But the others were, let’ say, reserved, and some of them were maybe resentful.

I: Why?

M: They didn’t know me yet and were reluctant to accept me fully to the company until I proved myself at work. They assumed a “let’s wait and see” attitude, and the question was, “Is he going to handle the solo part or not?”

I: They didn’t trust you yet, did they?

M: No, they didn’t. But it was not personal. They didn’t trust my abilities and were very judgmental.

I: Do you blame them for that?

M: No, I don’t blame them for that. The reputation of the company was at stake. They had very high standards and it mattered.

I: So it was a challenge for you.

M: Yes, it was a challenge, but it was also a chance to prove myself.

I: Did they let you know that they didn’t trust your ability to handle the solo part?

M: Oh, yes, they did.

I: How?

M: For example, at a certain moment during a rehearsal I was supposed to raise Danuta Kisiel-Drzewinska, who played the Empress Phylissa, high above my head in a way that she could lie horizontally, straight as a board, on my extended hands. Then I was supposed to carry her, maintaining that position, to the bed, which was upstage center. However, the first time I tried that bit in rehearsal Danuta was afraid that I was going to drop her. She asked me, “You aren’t going to drop me, are you?”

“No, I’m not going to drop you,” I reassured her.

“Are you sure?”

“Yes, I’m sure.”

But just a split second before I was supposed to pick her up, she ran away, exaggeratedly acting scared. “Oh, oh, he’s going to drop me. He’s going to drop me!” she shouted and hid behind the other actors.

“Come on, Danusia, he’s not going to drop you,” said Jerzy Kozłowski.

“I’m not going to do that with him. I’m afraid.”

To appease her, Kozłowski asked a few guys to stand around and spot her in case I dropped her.

So she came back and took her position but ran away again right before I was supposed to pick her up.

“He’s going to drop me. He’s going to drop me,” she cried again.

“Danusiu, please, come back,” Kozłowski was begging her, “Give him a chance.”

“Okay,” she said, “I’m going to do it this time.” And she came back and behaved as if she were going to do it, but when it came to it, she ran away again.

I: How did you take it?

M: She stretched the limits of my patience.

I: No wonder.

M: I realized that she was like a child and wasn’t going to quit the game.

I: So, how did you handle a naughty girl?

M: When she came back again and stood in the initial position, I grasped her a split second before I was supposed to. She intuitively bent her knee to help me catapult her and I raised her high above my head, placing her flat on my hands, and carried her to the bed.

I: And it was fine, wasn’t it?

M: Of course, it was. If anything, I knew how to raise a girl into a pose. I had done that many times in operetta. Besides, Danuta was very light, very easy to pick up.

I: Why do you think she was doing that?

M: To amuse her colleagues.

I: She was just playing with you, huh?

M: Maybe she was just playing. Maybe she was fucking with me, it’s hard to say, but I think it was both.

I: How so?

M: My take on it is that she channeled the resentment against me that was in the company and acted on it. It wasn’t personal; it was testing the novice who got a large part too quickly.

I: Did she keep fucking with you?

M: No, not really, at least not in this production. But we had some friction in another production later on.

I: What was it?

M: It was one year later. I was substituting for another large part, this time for Stephan Niedzialkowski, who left the company with a few other actors to start their own theater. I was taking over two parts from him in the production of The Departure of Dr. Faust: Paris and Homunculus. Homunculus was entirely a solo part, but as Paris, I was again paired with Danka (one of Danuta’s nickname) who of course played Helen. There was a scene in which Dr. Faust visits the ancient world in his metaphysical search for the most beautiful woman of all times, Helen of Troy, whom Mephistopheles has promised to deliver to Faust. However, Helen is bound in eternal harmony with Paris. We cannot imagine Helen of Troy without Paris and Paris without Helen; they belong to each other forever. They cannot be separated. Alas, and herein lies the rub, Faust could not have Helen without Paris — a compromising triangle that Faust didn’t care for. So he let Helen go with Paris back to the ancient world where they belong — as apparitions, they disappeared as they had appeared.

So, that was the scene.

I: What was the problem?

M: The problem was that Danka and I couldn’t synchronize well for a while. She complained that I threw her off balance and rhythm. And she wanted me to do the part exactly as Stephan had done it. I tried, after all I was replacing him, but to a limit. I could imitate the forms of his body, movement, and gestures but not the sensibility of his soul. That is something one cannot imitate. It’s a matter of individual interpretation.

I: Couldn’t she understand that?

M: I think she could.

I: So?

M: She had done that part with Stephan for five years before I took it over, so she was used to him in that part, not me, and her routine was fixed. Maybe it was also psychological. She didn’t want to accept that I had replaced Stephan Niedzialkowski.

I: Why not?

M: He really was a mega star, one of the WPT legends. And there was a notion that some of them were so good and so unique that no one would be able to replace them. Stephan was one of them. After he left, I heard many times that he was irreplaceable.

I: But you did replace him successfully, didn’t you?

M: Yes, I did. I was there to prove that no one is irreplaceable (including me.) Ha, ha, ha.

I: Ha, ha, ha.

M: But it took me some time to convince them.

I: Did you hate Danka for being difficult?

M: No, I didn’t hate Danka. How could I? How could anyone hate Danka? She was so beautiful and talented. Quite the opposite, I loved her. She was my muse — on the sly, of course. She inspired me.

I: How did she inspire you?

M: You see when she played Helen, the most beautiful woman of all times, I didn’t have to use any acting devices to make-believe, such as parallel actions or images. No, Danka was for me the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen. She had no problem convincing me that she was Helen; the problem was how to convince her that I was Paris.

I: Ha, ha, ha. Were you in love with her?

M: That’s what it was?

I: It looks like it.

M: If so, it was only platonic.

I: What was that you loved about her the most?

M: Everything she was doing in movement had utter grace. It was alluring and enticing.

I: What is grace?

M: Grace is a good sense or feel for form.

I: And she had it.

M: Yes, she had it.

I: Did you two work out your differences and click as Paris and Helen?

M: I think so, if not entirely it was only getting better. After one performance, Danka said to me, “The part of Homunculus you now do even better than Stephan but in the part of Paris you are still worse than he was.” Or maybe it was opposite; maybe she said that I was better in Paris but worse in Homunculus. I didn’t quite get it. She said it so suddenly and, without waiting for my reaction, left to the dressing room. I was so flabbergasted that I failed to respond. But in that moment, it occurred to me that I had been compared to Stephan Niedzialkowski in regards to my mime talent.

I: What did you expect?

M: I don’t know what I expected but not that. At the time, I was still humble. I was just happy to be in that famous company and had no higher expectations. But Henryk Tomaszewski kept casting me in one part after another. In the first two years in the company, I became an actor-mime specializing in replacing other actors. I was taking over many parts, small and large, from actors who either left the company or got injured. However, each time Tomaszewski cast me again, particularly in a large part, I was surprised. I really didn’t expect it.

I: Why were actors leaving the company?

M: It was a temporary phenomenon. Tomaszewski had a falling-out with some of the primary members of the company.

I: What was the reason for that?

M: It seems that they were done with each other and it was time to separate.

I: Do you know why Stephan Niedzialkowski left the company?

M: Yes, I know. Stephan Niedzialkowski and Andrzej Szczuzewski prepared their own pantomime (it was titled The Mirror) and wanted to perform it as a WPT production, but Henryk Tomaszewski didn’t agree to it. There was a big fight. All the members of the company were called for a meeting. The Department of Culture in Wroclaw was the mediator in the conflict but to no avail. Tomaszewski said that if Stephan and Andrzej want to do their own performances they should leave the WPT and start their own theater, as he, Tomaszewski, did when he founded the WPT. So they did. They left with three other actors and started a pantomime theater in Warsaw called The Warsaw Mime Theater.

I: So it was a schism in the company.

M: Yes, it was. Regretfully, a few great mimes left the company.

I: How did you feel about it?

M: I was disturbed. Nevertheless, I didn’t mind taking over their parts when they left.

I: In which way were you disturbed?

M: There is always something wrong when the best people are leaving.

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