Friday, October 15, 2010

Jan Nowicki receives the Modjeska Prize

On Sunday, October 17, 2010, at a reception at Beverly Hills, CA, the most eminent Polish actor, Jan Nowicki will receive the first annual Modjeska Prize, given by the Helena Modjeska Art and Culture Club in Los Angeles to a Polish actor or actress for their outstanding achievements in practicing their craft on stage and film. The award serves to commemorate Polish actress Helena Modrzejewska (1840-1909) who emigrated to California after establishing herself as the foremost theater actress of her times. Nodrzejewska, known in the U.S. as Modjeska lived in Orange County since 1873 to her death in 1909. Her memoirs recently inspired a novel by Susan Sontag, In America(2000). She is the beloved patron of our Club.

Jan Nowicki belongs among the most talented and accomplished Polish actors of all time. In 1964, he completed his studies at the State Higher School of Theater in Kraków (where he teaches) and debuted at the Old Theater (Teatr Stary) where he has worked until today, appearing in dramas by Wyspianski, Dostojewski and others. Since 1963, he played main roles in dozens of films by the most eminent directors: Filip Bajon, Jerzy Wojciech Has, Jerzy Hoffman, Andrzej Kondratiuk, Wojciech Marczewski, Marta Meszaros, Barbara Sass, Andrzej Wajda, Krzysztof Zanussi and Andrzej Żuławski. He published a book of essays Between Heaven and Earth and is a recipient of the most important state awards, including the Commander's Cross with Star of the Order of Polonia Restituta.

As a guest of the Polish Film Festival 11 1/2, Mr. Nowicki can be seen in two films, both screened on Saturday, October 16, 2010:
  • Sanatorium pod klepsydra (The Hour-glass Sanatorium) directed by Wojciech Has and
  • Jeszcze nie wieczor (Before Twilight) directed by Jacek Blawut.

    During his travel to California, Mr. Nowicki is accompanied by his wife, Małgorzata Potocka, a famous dancer and choreographer, a graduate of the Warsaw Ballet School. She debuted in 1972 at the Grand Theater in Warsaw. During the 1970s she went on to organize a dance ensemble, Naya-Naya, later known as Sabat, that toured the world. She created many ballet spectacles for the stage & TV. See the Teatr Sabat website (


    After the three closely set events in October, a concert by Marta Wryk and Adam Kosmieja, as well as a meeting with Prof. Leszek Balcerowicz and Jan Nowicki's award ceremony, the Modjeska Club members will have a chance to rest for a short while.

    We will hold our next meeting on November 21, 2010, with the program of songs and skits from Kabaret Starszych Panow. The cabaret will be performed by the sister club, PIE, Polacy w Inland Empire, from Riverside. This event will be open to the general public and will take place at the Petroleum Club of Long Beach.

    In the meantime, we will update the website with reports from past events and work on plans for an equally exciting spring 2011 season.
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