Poznan's Revolutionary Play Reprised In New York

An inflammatory play that was banned by the Communist regime in 1985 has been given a second lease of life at New York's "Performing Revolution" Festival. The four original actors are all taking part.

"Wormwood" (Piolun) was created as a response to martial law, which brought the country to a standstill between December 1981 and July 1983.

The play was created by one of Poland's key underground theatre ensembles, The Theatre of the Eighth Day (Teatr Osmego Dnia), members of which included the famed poet Stanisław Baranczak.

Wormwood focuses on a cluster of downtrodden characters, who are beaten, scavenge for food, yet maintain their hopes for deliverance, as symbolised by a boat, which they dream will carry them to freedom.

Although the play was banned, the cast continued to perform surreptitiously at venues across Poland, often before crowds of workers at factories. 20 years since the fall of the Iron Curtain the actors are performing it again:

No one can say, or would claim to say, that artists brought down Communism," Tadeusz Janiszewski told the New York Times. "But we were a part of that history, I think, and our part is something that Im very proud of.


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