Wojciech Pszoniak’s monodrama “The Teacher”


Wojciech Pszoniak’s monodrama “The Teacher”

“The Teacher” (“Belfer”), a play directed by Michał Kwieciński, with Wojciech Pszoniak in the lead role – took place on Thursday, 19 April, at our school.

“The Teacher”, a play written by Jean Pierre Dopagne, a Belgian playwright, is a story about a teacher of literature at a school for so called troubled youth.

His work, so far performed with a sense of mission, gradually changes into a restless game, when, every day, he has to face students who have all ideals for nothing. His poetic nature must be confronted with the behaviour of youth deprived of any role models.

The play, directed by Michał Kwieciński, has already been shown in tens of countries all over the world. It provokes discussion and poses many questions concerning the teacher-student relationship. The premiere performance took place in the autumn of 2004. One of the most outstanding Polish actors – Wojciech Pszoniak – takes the role of the protagonist teacher.

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Review by Konrad J. Zarębski
Among works meant to be staged it is difficult to find a text which carries more meanings and poses more questions. On the plot level it is a history of a high school teacher, who happened to teach literature at a school for so called troubled youth. This way this sensitive, literature-loving man with poetic soul, a husband of a singer performing in an opera choir, overnight finds himself standing in front of contemporary youth, despising not just education, but also all authorities.

A teacher with a sense of a mission does not give up, he treats his work as a game of a kind, although a term “school of survival” would be more appropriate. Not only must he withstand the lack of interest of his students, which seems almost natural, but also intentional provocations of the youth. When he finally manages to achieve some sort of balance between the class and the lecturer, a catastrophe happens. A former literature professor, passionate about theatre, was sentenced to eternal confession: he must publicly tell his story. So this is the plot of The Teacher monodrama – a drama, which is both touching and cruel, funny and horrifying.

Critics and the public were mesmerised by the character of the play. They emphasized that The Teacher describes more than the difficult life of teachers. They believed that this monodrama, by describing the school microcosm, requests rethinking, or even challenges, the values of our society.

Also those of contemporary theatre. The Teachers reviews mentioned that the play is like a mirror reflecting us all. A beautiful drama, full of tenderness and humour, although sometimes causing gnashing of teeth.

“As a matter of principle, people learn in two places: at home and at school. My monodrama describes how relations between a mentor and a disciple form and discusses the degradation of our culture and civilisation.” – Wojciech Pszoniak

Wojciech Pszoniak 

One of the most extraordinary acting talents.

He made his debut in 1968 in Klątwa by Stanisław Wyspiański, directed by Konrad Swinarski.

In the 70s Pszoniak was both an outstanding theatre actor, with so important roles as the one in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest staged at Powszechny Theatre, and an extraordinary film actor. The best known films he starred in from those days are, among others: The Wedding (Wesele), Pilate and Others (Piłat i inni), The Promised Land(Ziemia obiecana). His international career in the movies started from roles in Volker Schlöndorff’s The Tin Drum by and Andrzej Wajda’s Danton.

Since 1982 Wojciech Pszoniak has been living in Paris, where he performs in theatre and films. His greatest achievements are Ubu Rexdirected by R. Topor, The Shop Around the Corner at Montparnasse Theatre and l’atelier at Hérbetot Theatre.

In the 90s, Wojciech Pszoniak started to be a more and more frequent performer in Poland, sending people into paroxysms of laughter in The Dinner of Fools (Kolacja dla głupca) or causing true emotions in l’atelier(Pracownia krawiecka).

For years, his artistry has been appreciated by the critics and audience from theatres in Poland, England, France and all cinemagoers, who have seen his films.

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