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The Warsaw Voice » World of Movies » December 21, 2011
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Polish Theater Legend Dies
December 21, 2011   
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Renowned Polish actor and theater director Adam Hanuszkiewicz died Dec. 4 at a hospital in Warsaw. He was 87. Born in 1924 in Lviv (present-day Ukraine), Hanuszkiewicz made his stage debut in 1945 and directed his first play in 1951. He was a self-taught performer who never graduated from a theater school. He passed his actor’s exams in 1946 without having enrolled for classes.

In 1956-63, Hanuszkiewicz was the artistic director of public television broadcaster Telewizja Polska and then went on to be the director of the Powszechny, Narodowy and Nowy theaters in Warsaw. He was one of the founders and the first chief director of the Polish public broadcaster’s Television Theater, for which he directed plays by Moliere, Shakespeare, Dostoyevsky and Chekhov, along with national Polish classics by playwrights ranging from Adam Mickiewicz to Sławomir Mrożek.

Hanuszkiewicz’s accomplishments as a theater actor included the roles of Hamlet, Don Juan, Prospero in The Tempest and Titus in Berenice. He also appeared in several films, including Hands Up! by Jerzy Skolimowski and The Spring to Come by Filip Bajon.

Plays directed and staged by Hanuszkiewicz were frequently controversial and the director had both avid admirers and critics. Hanuszkiewicz was widely known his never-ending quest for a new means of expression. For example, in A Month in the Country by Ivan Turgenev, Hanuszkiewicz had dogs run around the stage. In one of his productions of dramas by Polish Romantic author Juliusz Słowacki, actors in Balladyna, a tragedy set in the distant past, rode around on Honda motorcycles.

Hanuszkiewicz stepped out of the limelight in 2007 when he resigned as director of the Nowy Theater after 18 years at the helm.
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