The 10th National Reading was held on Saturday with the participation of the presidential couple. During the jubilee edition of the event, Andrzej Duda and Agata Kornhauser-Duda read fragments of the play “Mrs. Dulska’s Morality” by Gabriela Zapolska in the Saski Garden. People from the world of art and culture also participated in the action. The president also announced that Adam Mickiewicz’s “Ballady i romanse” will be reading next year.
On Saturday, in the Saski Garden in Warsaw, the presidential couple Andrzej Duda and Agata Kornhauser-Duda inaugurated the 10th National Reading. Gabriela Zapolska’s play entitled “The Morality of Pani Dulska” was read.
As the president said, this reading remains relevant because it tells about the negative traits of human nature. – This is not a tragedy about great history, there is no politics there. It is a story about people that describes character types in a very accurate way – he said.
President: it is worth remembering “Mrs. Dulska’s Morality” in order to make an examination of conscience
The president assessed that Gabriela Zapolska exaggeratedly showed Dulska’s duplicity and hypocrisy. – A lot of the things he does are done in public. At times it turns into cruelty – said Andrzej Duda. The president added that it should not be forgotten that also her husband is a negative character, because he resigns from responsibility and prefers “peace of mind”.
– Do we not meet such people in our daily life? Perhaps that is why we like this tragedy so much, because [tacy ludzie – przyp. red.] are among us. It is also worth remembering “The Morality of Mrs. Dulska” in order to make an examination of conscience – he said, inviting people to listen to the piece.
The president recalled that “The Morality of Mrs. Dulska” was also the first Polish sound film. The organizers of Saturday’s event presented excerpts from this production from 1930.
Agata Kornhauser-Duda: Zapolska exposed the morality of the then bourgeoisie
First Lady Agata Kornhauser-Duda recalled the history of the creation of art based on the content of the book and its premiere 115 years ago. She noticed that from the very beginning she enjoyed great interest among theater audiences in Lviv and Kraków.
– In six months, the play was watched by five thousand people, which was a great success at the time – she added. In her opinion, the interest in tragicomedy was caused, among other things, by its comedy and bitter irony. “In this way Zapolska exposed the morality of the then bourgeoisie,” said the first lady.
Kornhauser-Duda also said that the beginnings of the National Reading campaign were relatively modest and thanks to the interest of readers and many institutions in Poland and around the world, it was possible to organize it in three thousand places around the world this year. The First Lady added that the choice of this year’s reading was not accidental. She explained that this year marks the hundredth anniversary of Gabriela Zapolska’s death. – All the productions that will take place today will be a unique celebration of this anniversary – she assessed.
The presidential couple also read excerpts from the play.
Gliński on supporting reading in Poland
The Minister of Culture, National Heritage and Sport, Deputy Prime Minister Piotr Gliński pointed out that the practical dimension of the campaigns promoting reading is to stop the decline in interest in reading fiction that has been going on for many years.
In this context, he referred to the research conducted by the National Library and added that the reversal of negative trends is due to the culture and education workers who care for the development of reading. – We run the National Reading Development Program and many other programs that support reading and culture – said Gliński.
Over the next five years, he said, spending on reading will increase by 40 percent. – It is over a billion zlotys for the development of readership. This shows that the Polish state takes this matter seriously, he argued.
Actors involved in the action
In each of the three acts of the play, a different actress played Aniela Dulska. They were Grażyna Barszczewska, Edyta Jungowska, Anna Dereszowska. Next to them, Andrzej Pankowski (as Felicjan Dulski), Krzysztof Szczepaniak (Zbyszko), Joanna Pach (Hesia), Angelika Kurowska (Mela), Anna Cieślak (Juliasiewiczowa), Lucyna Malec (Tenant) and Lidia Sadowa (Hanka) appeared on the stage.
The author of the musical setting was Stanisław Skoczyński, professor at the University of Music in Warsaw. The author of the set design was Anna Mioduszewska, and the director of the whole was Janusz Kukuła, who entrusted the role of the announcer – just like a year ago – to radio journalist Marcin Kuś. The event was broadcast live on the official website of the President of the Republic of Poland, on the channels of the National Cultural Center and on the Polish Radio website.
“The Morality of Pani Dulska” at the National Reading
“The Morality of Pani Dulska” was created over a dozen days at the turn of October and November 1906. The play by Gabriela Zapolska presents a story taking place in a bourgeois house at the beginning of the 20th century. The name of the play’s heroine has become a permanent feature of the Polish language – dulszczyzna is a term for obscurity, bourgeois hypocrisy and narrow-mindedness, combined with a high opinion of her own moral qualities.
“The Morality of Pani Dulska” has been staged many times in theaters, it has also had several film adaptations and Television Theater performances.
National Reading in 2022. The president announced what will be reading
At the end of the event, President Andrzej Duda and First Lady Agata Kornhauser-Duda thanked the participants and actors taking part in the action.
– Thank you to those who put their hearts into the preparation of the National Reading – said Andrzej Duda. – Thank you to everyone who joined the National Reading this year. You have once again proved that many Poles love Polish literature – added Agata Kornhauser-Duda.
The president also announced that Adam Mickiewicz’s “Ballady i romanse” will be reading next year. He explained that “it will commemorate the 200th anniversary of their publication” and added that “this is a symbolic beginning of Polish Romanticism”.
National Reading tradition initiated in 2012
The National Reading campaign has been organized by the President of the Republic of Poland since 2012. It was initiated by the joint reading of Adam Mickiewicz’s “Pan Tadeusz”.
In 2013, Aleksander Fredro’s works were read all over Poland, and during the following editions: “The Trilogy” by Henryk Sienkiewicz and “The Doll” by Bolesław Prus, in 2016 – “Quo vadis” by Henryk Sienkiewicz, and in 2017 the reading of the National Reading was “The Wedding” by Stanisław Wyspiański. In 2019, eight most important Polish short stories were read, including those by Stefan Żeromski, Bolesław Prus, Maria Konopnicka and Bruno Schulz. A year ago, under the conditions of epidemic restrictions, “Balladyna” by Juliusz Słowacki was read.
Main photo source: PAP / Radek Pietruszka