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Torun. PiS politicians, outraged by the spectacle “The Death of John Paul II”, want it removed. The voivodship marshal is responsible

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Law and Justice politicians from Toruń (Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship) appealed to the Marshal of the Voivodship, Piotr Całbecki, to remove the spectacle “Death of John Paul II” from the program of the International Theater Festival “Contact”. – I’m not in the business of taking down theatrical performances; there is no censorship in Poland – replied the marshal. The play will be staged on Sunday at the St. Wilam Horzyca in Toruń. “This is another attempt to censor art, and especially theater in Poland. We do not agree to this,” the theater assessed the demands of politicians in a statement.

Adrian Mól, vice-president of Toruń, Przemysław Przybylski, councilor of the voivodship council, and Michał Jakubaszek, city councilor (all from PIS) during the press conference on Thursday (June 1) expressed their indignation with the performance “Death John Paul IIThey pointed out, among others, that the art is iconoclastic, distasteful, obscene and “brutally illustrates the level of human existence and is a manifestation of vulgarizing the subject of death”.

Councilor Przybylski made an appeal in this matter to the marshal of the voivodship, Piotr Całbecki (AFTER) to remove the performance from the festival programme. The PiS environment pointed out that the “Kontakt” festival takes place in a theater controlled by the voivodeship authorities, and the event itself is co-financed from the voivodeship budget.

Marshal of the voivodship: I’m not in the business of removing performances

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The Marshal of the Voivodeship, Piotr Całbecki, referred to this matter at a short press briefing. – I’m not in the business of removing performances that are part of a prepared original program. That’s what the director is for and she arranged the entire repertoire. In her opinion, she chose the best possible performances. This show, as far as I know, has never been taken off the poster anywhere, said Całbecki.

He pointed out that “there is no censorship in Poland” and that the law on what can be presented and what cannot be made by the parliament, not the voivodeship authorities. He himself does not intend to intervene in this matter, but the performance itself, in his opinion, is controversial. He admitted, however, that he had not seen the play yet, and he relied on reviews devoted to it.

Read also: A quarrel about the play “Death and the Maiden”. Exchange of views between the ministry and the marshal’s office

“What does PiS propose? Let us introduce censorship in the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship, whose patron is John Paul II. We are moving in the area of ​​freedom of expression and I am glad that no one in Poland prohibits playing these or other performances. (…) Dying – in my opinion, it is not a suitable subject for a play. It seems to me that this spectacle as such does not take death seriously. We live, I believe, in times when one must be careful with other people’s feelings. as some haziness, some hysteria of the crowd, in my opinion, is already abuse, and turning it into a spectacle is contempt, judged the marshal, admitting that “this is not a play that he would recommend to anyone.”

Theater Statement. “Another Attempt to Censor Art”

“Przemysław Przybylski demands the removal of the play from the repertoire of the Festival. This is another attempt to censor art, and especially theater in Poland. We do not agree to this,” reads a statement sent to the media by the spokeswoman for the International Theater Festival “Kontakt”, Marta Wudarska. Renata Derejczyk, director of the festival and theater, indicated that she had invited councilman Przybylski to the Sunday performance.

The play “The Death of John Paul II” directed by Jakub SkrzywanekMagda Hueckel/ Teatr im. Wilam Horzyca in Toruń

– Together we agreed that in today’s world death is considered taboo – you die in a hospital, hospice, away from your loved ones. That is why it is worth talking about death and getting used to it. For me, this spectacle is preparing to leave and learning how to accompany our loved ones in the last moments – indicated Derejczyk.

According to the theatre, the play has been subject to various interpretations, and judging a performance based on selected comments is “harmful to the artists and the performance”.

PiS politicians outraged

Adrian Mól, vice-president of Toruń from PiS, said that even after seeing the fragments of the performance, he is outraged by the way in which the figure of St. John Paul II. He indicated, among others that no one would like to publicly present such intimate elements of a person’s life that take place during his dying. He spoke e.g. about presenting the Polish pope naked, with a catheter, while helping him with physiological activities.

The PiS community also pointed out that the voivodeship marshal, Całbecki, repeatedly referred to the heritage of John Paul II, who is the patron of the voivodship. Councilor Jakubaszek expressed the belief “bordering on certainty” that the performance would not be presented, and called on the marshal to “work for the benefit of the region and deal with units subordinate to him instead of building his image”.

Awarded many times

As the theatre’s director Jakub Skrzywanek points out, in the week of the premiere he said that “we are leaving this particular story, but we meet at something very important for everyone, believers and non-believers – the issue of suffering and dying”.

The press spokeswoman of the festival adds that the performance of Teatr Polski in Poznań “is one of the most awarded performances of the last two seasons”. The director received Konrad’s Laurel at the Interpretations Festival in Katowice, and the actor playing the main role, Michał Kaleta, received an award at the Divine Comedy Festival in Krakow.

Main photo source: Magda Hueckel/ Teatr im. Wilam Horzyca in Toruń





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