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    Two renowned Polish actors passed away

    On May 15th two renowned Polish actors passed away: Ignacy Gogolewski and Jerzy Trela. Besides the same date of death, they share long careers in theatre and the role of Gustaw-Konrad, the main character in Adam Mickiewicz’s “Dziady” (“Forefathers’ Eve”) – poetic drama considered one of the best works of European Romanticism.

    Ignacy Gogolewski was born on June 17th, 1931 in Ciechanów. In 1949, he enrolled at the National Academy of Dramatic Art in Warsaw and graduated with a diploma four years later. He debuted in professional theatre with the role of Chancellor in “The Doll” (Bolesław Prus) directed by Bronisław Dąbrowski, but his breakout role was Gustaw-Konrad in “Dziady” (1954) directed by Aleksander Bardini. The public was amazed at his delivery of romantic poems, hence why he often played such roles later. He worked in the Dramatic Theatre and Modern Theatre in Warsaw, where he often acted in Shakespearean plays such as “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, “Othello”, “Macbeth” and “Julius Caesar”.

    However, he also directed movies (“The Romance of Teresa Hennert (1978), “The House of Saint Casimir Jagiellon (1983)”) and played in films and TV series. His most acclaimed role in cinema was Antek Boryna, one of the main characters in “The Peasants” (Nobel Prize winner Władysław Reymont), a 1973 screen adaptation directed by Jan Rybkowski. Ignacy Gogolewski was awarded with the Splendor of Splendors (for notable personages in culture) in 2008, the Aleksander Zelwerowicz Award for the role of Count Szarm in “Operetta” by Witold Gombrowicz and the gold Medal for Merit to Culture – Gloria Artis

    Frame from “The Peasants” (1973)



    Jerzy Trela was born on March 14th, 1942 in Leńcze. He studied acting at the AST National Academy of Theatre Arts in Krakow, where he was a professor and the rector in the years 1984-to 1990. He made his stage debut in 1969 when he played the lead in “The Nose” by Nikolai Gogol. His most acclaimed roles were Gustaw-Konrad in 1973 “Dziady” and Konrad in Stanisław Wyspiański’s “The Liberation” (1974), both directed by Konrad Swinarski. For the latter, he was awarded with Grand Prix at the Kaliskie Spotkania Teatralne Festival in Kalisz, the oldest performing arts contest in Poland. 

    Jerzy Trela was deeply connected with Krakow and worked there for the majority of his life, and on May 11th, 2022 he became its Honorary Resident. In 1970 he joined the Stary Theatre in Krakow and stayed there until 2014 when the new management introduced two plays poking fun at previously mentioned Konrad Swinarski, who discovered the talent in Trela. It caused Jerzy to leave the theatre. After that, he played mostly in movies. His filmography includes many fundamental Polish films, such as Andrzej Wajda’s “Pan Tadeusz: The Last Foray in Lithuania” (role of the Chamberlain), Jerzy Kawalerowicz’s “Quo Vadis” (role of Chilonides Chilon), as well as Krzysztof Kieślowski’s “Dekalog IX” (doctor Mikołaj) and “Three Colors. White” (Bronek). Jerzy Trela is a renowned actor with countless awards, including the gold Medal for Merit to Culture – Gloria Artis, Order of Polonia Restituta and the Polish Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for “Quo Vadis”.

    Frame from “Pan Tadeusz: The Last Foray in Lithuania”


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