Henryk Tomaszewski, director, choreographer and founder of the Wrocław Pantomime Theatre, died fourteen years ago today.
Henryk Tomaszewski (20 November 1919 ? 23 September 2001) ? dancer, mime artist, choreographer, director, teacher, founder and director of the Wrocław Pantomime Theatre. A graduate of Iwo Gall?s Dramatic Studio, Tomaszewski co-operated with the Polish Academic Theatre and the Wrocław Opera, also directing in Sweden, Norway, the Federal Republic of Germany, and Milan?s Teatro alla Scala.
To Tomaszewski, movement was an affirmation of life, an extension of human existence which allows us to universalize and summarize it. In interpreting contemporary art as an example of devaluation of words, a crisis of the representative value of the language to the advantage of is phatic and symbolic functions, Tomaszewski perceived movement as a chance to avoid the irritability of words and communicate (?) what words fear to reveal.
Tomaszewski?s pantomime was a significant modification of the classical pantomime and involved chiefly the introduction of ensemble play, along with symbolic and abstract body operations, a separation from mimesis in order to display the internal states and processes of the character as the peak of creation. Tomaszewski also inserted his pantomime with words and props, for which he was often criticized. His approach, however, was far from pantomime orthodoxy; he saw the genre as a continuously changing theatre convention, a formula searching for and open to other forms of expression.
Although Tomaszewski?s full-time choreodramas were based predominantly on literature, he did not translate text into motion in a linear fashion, preferring to look for associations in the images created in the course of reading. The long list of his stage adaptations includes such works as Georg Büchner?s Woyzeck, Thomas Mann?s Die vertauschten K?pfe. Eine indische Legende, Frank Wdekind?s Die Kaiserin von Neufundland, William Shakespeare?s Hamlet and Midsummer Night?s Dream, Euripides?s The Bacchae, Pier Paolo Pasolini?s Teorema, Andreas Gryphius?s Cardenio und Celinde, Stanisław Wyspiański?s Legend, and Ferdinand Bruckner?s Te Deum and Der To denier Puppe.
2016 marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the Wrocław Pantomime Theatre by Henryk Tomaszewski.