11.11.2018 - 14.11.2018 History, Performing Arts, Polish-Jewish Relations

The Auschwitz Volunteer: Captain Witold Pilecki

United Solo Festival and the Polish Cultural Institute New York present the New York Premiere of

a monodrama directed and performed by Marek Probosz

Sunday, November 11, 2018 – Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Theatre Row
410 West 42nd Street, NYC
November 11 sold out
another date added – November 14, at 3:30 p.m

Tickets: $45

“It’s one of the most amazing stories to come out of World War II,” said Terry Tegnazian, co-founder of Aquila Polonica, the publisher of Pilecki’s autobiography and also a producer of the show. “His experience that he’s written down gives the details and a view of what went on in Auschwitz even in the years before it became a death camp for the Jews. In ’40 and ’41, it was primarily a camp for Polish political prisoners and anybody the Germans thought capable of resisting them.”

In September of 1940, Pilecki volunteered for a secret mission for the Polish Underground to smuggle out intelligence about the new German concentration camp, and to organize inmate resistance with the goal of helping the Allies liberate the camp from the inside. The 39-year-old officer walked into a German Nazi street roundup in Warsaw to get himself arrested and sent to Auschwitz.

His intelligence reports, smuggled out in 1941, were among the first eyewitness accounts of the atrocities in Auschwitz: the extermination of Soviet POWs, its function as a camp for Polish political prisoners, and the “final solution” for Jews. Pilecki received brutal treatment until he escaped in April 1943; soon after, he wrote a brief report. iThe Auschwitz Volunteer, the book this play is based on, was the first English translation of a 1945 expanded version. In the foreword, Poland’s chief rabbi Michael Schudrich states, “If heeded, Pilecki’s early warnings might have changed the course of history.” Pilecki’s story was suppressed for half a century after his 1948 arrest by the Polish Communist regime as a “Western spy.” He was executed and expunged from Polish history. Pilecki writes in staccato style but also interjects his observations on humankind’s lack of progress: “We have strayed, my friends, we have strayed dreadfully . . . We are a whole level of hell worse than animals!”

Narrator: Terry Tegnazian. Director: Marek Probosz. Adaptation: Terry Tegnazian & Debra Gendel.

Marek Probosz teaches theater and film acting in the UCLA Department of Theater. A preeminent film, television and stage actor in his native Poland, Probosz has more than 50 starring roles to his credit. His film and television career spans roles in Polish, Czech, German, French, Italian and American productions and co-productions. In the United States, he most recently guest-starred on CBS’s Scorpion. He has also had guest-starring roles on ABC’s Scandal, CBS’s Numbers, NBC’s JAG and USA’s Monk. He received strong reviews from The New York TimesThe Hollywood Reporter and Variety for his portrayal of Roman Polanski in the CBS miniseries Helter Skelter. Many of his films have competed in prominent international festivals including Venice (Jerzy Skolimowski’s 30 Door Key, 1991), Cannes and Karlovy Vary (Jirí Svoboda’s award-winning End of the Lonely Farm Berghof, 1984) and San Sebastian (Frantisek Vlácil’s The Shadow of the Ferns, 1984).

The UNITED SOLO Festival was started by the Poland-born actor, director and lecturer Omar Sangare. The 9th edition of the world’s largest solo theatre festival, this year’s United Solo will present performers from 18 countries, 23 states, and 6 continents on Theatre Row in the heart of New York City’s theater district. Since its inaugural year, United Solo has featured over 600 theater productions from all over the world in categories including drama, comedy, dance, movement, storytelling, stand-up, multimedia, and musical theater.

Each year, the Festival presents a Special Award for a solo artist. Past winners include Anna Deavere Smith, Patti LuPone, John Leguizamo, Fiona Shaw, Billy Crystal and Michael Moore.

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