About the Playwright: Sławomir Mrożek

Slawomir MrozekSławomir Mrożek is a renowned playwright, dramatist, prose writer, drawer and cartoonist. He is known for his ability to tie alienation, abuse of power, conformity, and the restriction of human rights and freedom under a totalitarian system into his satirical, dark comedies.

SÅ‚awomir Mrożek was born in 1930 in Borzecin, near Cracow. The fuel behind his literary and artistic fire came when he was a child living during the Nazi occupation of Poland. Mrożek once said, “The monster kept me imprisoned, but it fascinated me a lot at the same time.” Before becoming a playwright, he studied architecture, painting, and Oriental philosophy. He wrote his first play, Policja (The Police) in 1958. He, along with other playwrghts, brought new voice and technique to the Polish theatre during that time, a style known as The Theatre of the Absurd This concept was developed by author Martin Esslin and was the topic of his book by the same name. Absurdists are generally considered European non-naturalistic playwrights who dramatized the meaningless, uncertain nature of life.

Mrozek’s short stories of human fault, behavior, and Polish temperament, are what brought him to an international level of attention. His comical stories are assumed to have underlying messages of his bitter views of Stalinism, the conditions of Poland, or general disapproval of a modern totalitarian state. His works were met with force by the Communist Polish government. Mrozek’s plays, along with the work of other playwrights, were prevented from being published in Polish papers and performed on television with the initiation of Martial Law in Communist Poland in 1981. He along with Solidarity leaders were silenced to keep democratic opposition from gaining support.

His plays were performed in London, New York, and Paris among other countries. He has received many awards for his work including the highest French national distinction, Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur, in 2003.

Mrozek’s plays continue to evoke laughter, dicomfort, self-reflection, and overall enjoyment internationally, as they are expected to continue doing so for years to come.