Polish theatre directors – Wilam Horzyca, Kazimierz Dejmek, Adam Hanuszkiewicz, Konrad Swinarski – staged Wyspiański’s Liberation (1902) in the times of momentous changes sweeping the entire country. Written just a year after The Wedding (1901), the text was a dialogic response to the heritage of the Polish Romantic tradition, offering a new take on the issue of national emancipation, which can be considered not only in political terms but also in intellectual, spiritual, and ideological ones. To this day, Wyspiański’s vision remains painfully valid. Unfortunately, his portrait of the figure of the Pole as an individual entrapped in the cage of prejudice and phantasms of his own making chimes more than ever with our present-day reality. Still, we ought to bear in mind that it has been almost a century since the premiere of the play. The world around us has diametrically change. Archaic, highfaluting, abuzz with metaphors, the language of Wyspiański’s Liberation is almost indigestible to contemporary audiences. The images that make up the play have long ceased to be comprehensible: instead of evoking strong emotions, they create an unbridgeable gap between the stage and the auditorium. For that reason, Magdalena Drab – a critically acclaimed, Legnica-based playwright (recipient of, among others, the 2017 Gdynia Drama Award), created – in partnership with director Piotr Cieplak – something akin to a new text, a text customised for the staging at the Helena Modjeska Theatre in Legnica. Strictly based on the structure of Liberation, it contains numerous snippets of the original play, but ultimately it gives rise to a new signature piece – to a modern-day on-stage rendition of themes inherent in Wyspiański’s drama.     

Director Piotr Cieplak, noted for his work at the National Theatre in Warsaw, does not hesitate to pose pressing questions concerning our collective life, Polish values and myths. In Liberations, he does so insightfully, but without cutthroat bitterness. Most importantly, he does not disavow any stances dissimilar from his own, which offers an opportunity for an across-the-board meeting – a theatre gathering of representatives of every side of the conflicts ravaging Poland today. 


Piotr Cieplak

Graduate of Theatre Studies at the National Academy of Dramatic Art in Warsaw and Drama Directing at the National Academy of Theatre Arts in Kraków; participant in Peter Brook’s workshops. He began his directing career at the W. Horzyca Theatre in Toruń in 1989; Artistic Director of the Rozmaitości Theatre (1996-1998). Since 2014, Cieplak has been cooperating on a regular basis with the National Theatre in Warsaw and working at the same time in other theatres.

Director of award-winning performances, including The Soldier of the Queen of Madagascar (W. Horzyca Theatre in Toruń),  A Dog’s Testament (Rozmaitości Theatre in Warsaw), Winnie the P., based on A.A. Milne’s classic (Studio Theatre in Warsaw), Merry Wives of Windsor (Powszechny Theatre in Warsaw), The History of Jacob by S. Wyspiański (Współczesny Theatre in Wrocław), King Lear by W. Shakespeare (Powszechny Theatre in Warsaw), Stories for Children by I. B. Singer (National Theatre in Warsaw), Endless Story (Powszechny Theatre in Warsaw).

Winner of the Konrad Swinarski Award for directing The Leghorn Hat by E. Labiche (Powszechny Theatre in Warsaw) and Polityka’s Passport.