“The smallest theatre in the world” by one of Poland’s most beloved and popular poets, Konstanty Ildefons Gałczyński
Translated by Daniel Gerould
DATES: Thursday, January 31, 2013 at 8 pm
Friday, February 1, 2013 at 8 pm
Mead Theater Lab at FLASHPOINT, 916 G Street, NW, Washington DC
Cast and Crew
Founder, CEO, and Artistic Director
Hanna Bondarewska is the Artistic Director and Founder of the Ambassador Theater and was recently seen in They Don't Pay? We Won't Pay! by Dario Fo as Antonia, Smartphones as Maria, Protest as Stankova, Death of Tintagiles as Ygraine and in Summer at Nohant as George Sand. “For Hanna Bondarewska, the path to world peace not only exists, she is walking it — one artistic endeavor at a time.” – The Washington Diplomat.
Hanna Bondarewska is a native of Warsaw, Poland and was trained in the Polish and American schools of drama. She founded the Ambassador Theater because she believes in the power of theater to change the world for the better through collaboration and artistry. By bringing together theater and diplomacy she hopes to give us all a new perspective as global citizens, which will lead to deeper cultural understanding.
In June 2008, Hanna organized a life-changing trip to Poland for students from D.C. Public Schools as part of an educational program about Poland. The program was done in collaboration with Mrs. Hanna Reiter, wife of the former Ambassador of Poland to USA, the Embassy of Poland, Embassy Adoption Program, D.C. Public Schools and WPAS. She worked with over 60 students, teaching them about Poland, its history, culture, and traditions through theater designed to help them better retain learnt material, improve their reading comprehension, posture, and speaking skills, increase their imagination, and energize their drive for life.
The program developed into a performance, "Poland the Beautiful, an Imaginary ." Students performed the piece at their schools and at the Embassy of Poland, and then took it on the road for the First Lady of Poland, Mrs. Maria Kaczynska, at the Presidential Palace in Warsaw and in many other places around Poland last June.
Hanna’s acting credits are extensive and include the role of George Sand in "Summer at Nohant", Young Helena Modjeska in ""Farewell to Arden" at ATICC, and in "Helena—the Emigrant Queen"; "Sunflowers" at the Polish Theater Institute in New York; Square Minus One; A Genie Named Khatab; Snow Queen; Anouilh’s Antigone; Gogol’s The Marriage; and Goldoni’s Mirandolina and many others.
Ms. Bondarewska has recently directed The Trap, Happily Ever After, The Visitor, The Third Breast, The Madman and the Nun, Death of Tintagiles, Miracle of Saint Anthony, Summer at Nohant, Farewell to Arden, Forefathers, and Out at Sea.
Her one-woman show, Lotte Lenya, won recognition at the Kennedy Center Performing Arts Festival. Hanna performed at the Washington Shakespeare Theatre, Spectrum Theatre, Classika-Synetic Theatre, The New York Polish Theater, Hippodrome State Theatre, and Acrosstown Theater in Florida, where she also directed The Tao of Pooh, based on the book by B. Hoffman, and S. Mrożek’s Tango. Her Polish theater credits are extensive and include work in Warsaw, Bialystok, Olsztyn, Torun, Katowice, and Wroclaw with many luminaries of the Polish stage.
Hanna is teaching drama at Ambassador Theater's Outreach Programs and has also taught special outreach programs with Classika-Synetic Theatre at Arlington schools with Lilia Slavova and drama classes at Classika. She graduated magna cum laude from the Mount Vernon College of The George Washington University and earned her Acting Diploma in Poland. For over 15 years she served as Executive Director of the Institute for Education and Membership Chairman of the ABC XXI Child Awareness Program for Poland, which supports the emotional health and rights of children and adolescents through reading programs, awareness, education, and action.
Ms. Bondarewska has received various honors, including 2015 and 2014 DC Metro Theater Arts Best Director, Best Play Award, 2013 Helen Hayes Canadian Partnership Award, the St. Cyril and Methodius Award of excellence in promoting the Bulgarian Culture, Julia Heflin Performing Arts Award, recognition by Who's Who Among Students in American Universities, identification as a National Dean's List Scholar, and others.
Stephen Shetler (Associate Artistic Director and Technical Director) studied acting at The Catholic University of America and at The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Mr. Shetler has performed more than 60 roles in the past 20 years. He spent five years as resident company actor and associate director at Classika Theatre before joining Ambassador Theater. He has directed at Classika Theatre, Synetic Theater, Northern Virginia Community College. Recently he directed Dyskolos by Menander.
Ivan Zizek (Stanek) was classically trained in England. During his studies his main focus was on staging Shakespeare and stage combat. He is the Ambassador Theater’s Company Member and was last seen in The Visitor as Mahmud Suliman and as Hasan in The Peephole and as Dr. Bidello in The Madman and the Nun. He has performed in theatres in London, Frankfurt/Germany, the Edinburgh Fringe, the Capitol Fringe, and the Kennedy Center. His most recent performances were at the DC Source Festival, and in Maryland Shakespeare Festival’s Julius Caesar.
By Daniel Gerould
Konstanty Ildefons Gałczyński (1905-1953), one of Poland’s most beloved and popular poets, began his career in the mid-1920s writing humorous verse and fantastic stories. Mobilized as a soldier at the outbreak of World War II, he spent the period 1939 to 1945 in a German prisoner-of-war camp. After a year of wandering in Western Europe, Gałczyński returned home to resume his literary career. He began work as a playwright, inventing an imaginary theatre and troupe of performers (animal and human) and contributing a new installment of The Little Theatre of the Green Goose each week to Przekrój (“Profile”), the Crakow literary magazine for which he wrote several hundreds of these short plays in the next four years.
Originally intended for reading only, The Green Goose went unperformed in Gałczyński’s lifetime. “The smallest theatre in the world” was by design impossible to stage, or so it seemed according to all known rules of drama. Certainly, by the laws of theatre that had come to prevail in Poland after 1949 – those of socialist realism dictated from the Soviet Union – The Little Theatre of the Green Goose was unacceptable as long as the Stalinists reigned. By 1950 Gałczyński had been forced to curb his high spirits and eventually “close” his theatre.
The Little Theatre of the Green Goose was first staged by the Grotesque Puppet Theatre in Crakow in 1955. After the liberalization of the arts brought by the October revolution of 1956, The Green Goose gained a permanent place in the theatre and became a force for the creation of the new Polish drama that flourished in the 1960s. “Delight in nonsense has its roots in the feeling of freedom we enjoy when we are able to abandon the straightjacket of logic,” writes Freud. A great master of nonsense, Gałczyński offers that feeling of freedom to both readers and theatre-goers.
Earlier version of these translations appeared in the Special English Language of Dialogue, Warsaw, 1969 and in Twentieth-Centry Polish Avant-Garde Drama, Ithaca, N.Y., 1977.
Come see the show January 31 and February 1, 2013 at 8 pm at Med Theater Lab at FLASHPOINT