Piotr Machalica (1955-2020), an actor and drama director closely tied to Czestochowa now has a monument of him sitting on a bench at the Aleje Najświętszej Maryi Panny in Czestochowa. The memorial was opened on July 1st, at the beginning of a 3-day festival named after Machalica.
Piotr Machalica was born on February 13th, 1955 in a family of actors. He moved from Pszczyna to Warsaw to study at the Aleksander Zelwerowicz National Academy of Dramatic Arts. He played both in theatre and film. His biggest roles were in Krzysztof Kieślowski’s “Dekalog IX” and “A Short Film About Love”, Jacek Bromski’s “1968. Happy New Year” and Andrzej Wajda’s “Les Possédés”. Between 2006 and 2018 he was the art director at the Mickiewicz Theatre in Czestochowa. He died from Covid-19 on December 14th, 2020.
Soon after his death his wife Aleksandra Sosnowska-Machalica established a foundation for his remembrance. One of its initiatives is the Piotr Machalica Festival which kicked off this year.
Program of the Festival
The first event of the festival – the opening of a monument of Machalica on a bench – took place at 2 P.M. on July 1st. The idea came from Małgorzata Iżyńska, and the sculpture was designed by Zbigniew Stanuch. It was uncovered by Jan Wołek – a painter, writer and singer, but most importantly – Piotr’s close friend. “Whenever you’ll be crossing through the streets of Czestochowa, walk a little further and sit next to Piotr, just like he has been sitting next to you, his audience, throughout his whole career. Because that’s an actor’s role: approaching people. Sit next to him, in silence, and reminisce,” appealed Wołek. After the uncovering, the Mickiewicz Theatre put out a play “Serca na odwyku” (Eng. “Hearts Drying Out”).
The festival continued on July 2nd with a play “Smutne Miasteczko” (Eng. No-Funfair) at 2 P.M. and a vernissage of an exhibition of photographs documenting Piotr Machalica’s career. At 5 P.M. a lecture “The Immortals” was conducted, and at 8:30 P.M. started a concert “As Young as Now – In Memory of Piotr Machalica”. The performing artists were Nula Stankiewicz, Janusz Strobel, Paweł Pańta and Cezary Konrad.
The festival ended on July 3rd with a gala concert. Artists from the day before as well as Magda Umer, Katarzyna Żak, Michał Rorat and Krzysztof Niedźwiecki have performed from 6P.M. deep into the night. The organizers mean for the Piotr Machalica Festival to become a tradition, and this event is one of many ways to appreciate his oeuvre.