Ireneusz Iredynski – Rebel with a Cause by Eliza Anna Falk

   The biography of Ireneusz Iredynski, one of Poland's 'angry young men', reads like an adventure novel. He was born in 1939 at the onset of the WWII, which took most of his family, robbed him of childhood and forced him into premature adulthood. His frustration and rebellious nature manifested early, when in 1953 at the age of 14 he left his relatives' care and moved to Cracow to seek a life as a writer. Two years later he made his literary debut and joined the young writers section of Poland's Literary Association. In 1958 he moved to Warsaw, continued writing, and soon embarked on a successful and productive literary career earning himself a well deserved recognition and acclaim both in Poland and overseas. His extensive body of works includes stage and radio plays, short stories, novels, film scripts, poems and song lyrics (1).
   The writer's reputation as a talented and fertile author was not the only factor contributing to his fame. Iredynski's rebellious, non-conformist streak and his anti-communist views soon found their way into his writing, attracting the attention of the authorities. It later transpired that he had been under observation since 1958 when one of his poems appeared in   "Culture", a Paris magazine blacklisted in Poland. Unable to "pin him down" for any explicit anti-communist expressions, the authorities took advantage of his 'bon vivant' lifestyle and love of female company to charge him with rape and send him to prison (2). Three years spent in a penitentiary left a life-changing impression on 27 year old Iredynski and further reinforced his trademark nihilistic and cynical outlook as well as dominant themes of his works. He once said that prison changed him forever, that everything inside him "got rearranged, broken up"(3).
   Justly compared to Dostoyevsky, Iredynski was not only preoccupied with pathological and irrational aspects of human nature but also able to cleverly analyze and justify deviant behavior. His literary 'microscope' examined complex human relations in the context of universal themes of good and evil, freedom and coercion, love and sex, power, violence, obsession, manipulation and deceit. He had said of his writing: "I write about an individual and violence", "My protagonists personify anxiety", "I am interested in extremes"(4). How right he was in saying that his literary characters were a projection of his imagination, dreams, anxieties, knowledge, viewpoint and subconscious. Himself a flawed human, alienated and disappointed, he kept finding himself in constant struggles with his own demons, addictions and obsessions, finding solace in a fast paced and self-destructive lifestyle, which led to his untimely death at the age of 46.
   Third Breast is a classic example of one of Iredynski's favorite scenarios in which human weaknesses, insecurities and obsessions paired up with power, lead to manipulation, cruelty and violence. The play invites us into a closed, almost cult like community of nature lovers, whose charismatic spiritual leader, Ewa, unexpectedly grows a third breast and unable to have it removed, becomes depressed and unsure of her future leadership ability. After failed suicide attempt she manipulates her closest allies, a commune founder Thomas and her new lover George, into killing two community members who know her secret and as such pose a threat to her leadership status. George gains Ewa's total trust by playing a key role in the “accidental” killings, and as her favorite and only lover, begins to feel his growing power. What follows makes the plot even more unexpected and shocking…

US Premiere of

The Third Breast

Translated by Sylvia Daneel

Directed by Hanna Bondarewska

Preview July 10, 2013 at 8pm

Opening July 11, 2013 at 8 pm

Run: Th-Sundays until August 4, 2013

Mead Theater Lab at FLASHPOINT

916 G Street, NW, Washington DC,2 0001

 

Sources
   1. Szkolnictwo.pl. Ireneusz Iredynski. Web. 19 March 2013
     <www.szkolnictwo.pl/szukaj,Ireneusz_Iredynski>
2.    Siedlecka, Joanna. Iredynski Zbaletowany. Rzeczpospolita 19
Mar 2005. Web. 19 Mar 2013.  
     <http://teatry.art.pl/portrety/iredynski/zbaletowany.htm>
3.    Poland in the Classroom. Ireneusz Iredynski. Polish Academic Information Centre. University of Buffalo. Web 19 March 2013.
     <info-poland.buffalo.edu/web/arts_culture/…/literature/
     drama/iredynski/link.shtml>   
   4. Ireneusz Iredynski. Wikipedia.pl. Web. 19 March 2013.
  <pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ireneusz_Iredynski>