2012-03-12
2013-05-22

Raszewski Zbigniew

(1925–1992), the most renowned Polish theatre historian of the second half of the twentieth century; long-term editor (together with Bohdan Korzeniewski) of the journal Pamiętnik Teatralny. He was the author of several fundamental works on the history of Polish theatre (Bogusławski, 1972; Krótka historia teatru polskiego [A short history of Polish theatre], 1977) and developed an original theory of ‘widowiska’ (spectacles; Teatr w świecie widowisk [Theatre in a world of spectacles, 1991]). He was a great authority figure in the theatre world, a witness to his times, and author of priceless and insightful chronicles (Raptularze [Diaries], 2005). He first became directly acquainted with Grotowski’s work during a visit to Opole with the editorial board of Pamiętnik Teatralny on 15–16 March 1963 when they saw Akropolis and also witnessed rehearsals for Dr Faustus. Raszewski was also a member of the special commission created by the Section for Theatre Affairs of the Ministry of Culture and Art in order to assess the activities of the Theatre of 13 Rows. After watching the performances by the Opole group, the commission decided that it was an interesting and creative phenomenon in contemporary Polish theatre and therefore chose to support its activities by awarding a grant of 350,000 zlotys from Ministry of Culture funds. Raszewski published a description of the performances he had seen in Opole in Pamiętnik Teatralny, noting, among other things, the final scene of Studium o Hamlecie [Hamlet Study], which appalled him (soldiers singing songs from the Warsaw Uprising treading over the Jewish Hamlet). He maintained good relations with Grotowski for many years, meeting him on several occasions (notes from these conversations are reproduced in Raptularze, giving us today a valuable and unusual source of knowledge on Grotowski). However, having watched Apocalypsis cum Figuris, which as a practicing and devout Catholic he considered to be blasphemous and ‘resembling a black mass’, he broke off relations with Grotowski.

Bibliography: 

Zbigniew Raszewski: Teatr 13 Rzędów, „Pamiętnik Teatralny” 1964, z. 3, s. 235–241.

Zbigniew Raszewski: Z Raptularza. Grotowski, „Dialog” 1993 nr 7, s. 98–102.