Monday, April 17, 2023

Zyciorys - A Play about Zbigniew Herbert, by Wojciech Wysocki actor & Piotr Kajetan Matczuk, musician, 7 May 2023 at 6:30 pm



poetic monodrama based on texts by Zbigniew Herbert; sscreenplay, direction and execution: Wojciech Wysocki; live music: Piotr Kajetan Matczuk; performed in Polish, no subtitles.

Helena Modjeska Art & Culture Club invites all members and friends of the Club to a theatrical performance directed and performed by the Polish actor Wojciech Wysocki with live music by Piotr Kajetan Matczuk. 

The performance will take place on Sunday, May 7, 2023 at 6:30 (from 7:00 pm no one will be able to enter the auditorium) at Illusion Magic Theater (formerly Magicopolis), 1418 4th St, Santa Monica, CA 90401, free admission, RSVP The seating is limited and seats are not numbered. RSVP early.

The event is part of the Spring of Polish Culture in the Western United States, supported by the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Los Angeles. The Consulate supports three projects of the Club with grants: 1) a lecture by Katarzyna Winnicka, 2) the Hybrydy Theatre, 3) the Wojciech Wysocki Theater with the play Zyciorys/ Biography and music by Piotr Matczuk. The grants pay for the venue rental and AV technician costs. Since these events are supported by the Consulate, they are free to the general public. 


Wojciech Wysocki, in addition to stage work in drama and comedy theaters and on the radio, is a popular television and film actor, especially popular thanks to the series Ranczo, in which he played the role of doctor Wezół. As a lover, expert and promoter of poetry, he is also the creator, screenwriter, director and performer of the monodrama Biography. The monodrama is a presentation of carefully selected works by Zbigniew Herbert, combined by the artist into a scenic whole, which have been selected to create and tell the story of a person's life from birth to death.

In a way that is very characteristic of Zbigniew Herbert's work, the monodrama Biography combines various universal problems and existential questions with small, metaphorically and allegorically expressed observations and stories about the good and bad in life, about various people, animals and objects that surround us. The monodrama is performed with live music composed by Piotr Kajetan Matczuk.


Zbigniew Bolesław Ryszard Herbert (born October 29, 1924 in Lviv, died July 28, 1998 in Warsaw) - Polish poet, essayist, playwright, creator of the poetic cycle Pan Cogito, author of radio plays; posthumously awarded the Order of the White Eagle. Member of the Home Army during World War II, he came from family originally from Austria but with deeply embedded Polish patriotic traditions. An economist, lawyer and philosopher by education, Herbert was the winner of over twenty literary awards. From the late 1960s he was one of the most serious contenders for the Nobel Prize in Literature. His books have been translated into 38 languages. He traveled a lot and lived in different countries, looking for inspiration in Mediterranean culture and mythology. He lived in Vienna, Berlin and Paris among other cities and visited the majority of European countries.

Herbert spent the summer of 1968 in the USA (at the invitation of the Poetry Center), visiting, among others, New York, California, Grand Canyon, New Mexico, New Orleans, Washington, Los Angeles. At the same time, a translation of his works was published there and made him one of the most popular contemporary poets in the English-speaking circle. He made several appearances during this trip. in New York, Berkeley and Los Angeles. From September 1970 to June 1971, Herbert visited the US again, in connection with the lectures given by the poet, as the so-called visiting professor at Cal State Los Angeles.

In 1987, he became a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Before 1989, he was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta. Receiving the Jerusalem Prize for Literature gave him the opportunity to travel to Israel in May 1991. He struggled with mental problems and alcoholism throughout his life. He became an unofficial bard of Solidarity when Przemysław Gintrowski used his poems for poetic songs. (info from Wikipedia)

Selected Books:

"The String of Light", Warsaw: Czytelnik, 1956.

"Hermes, Dog and Star", Warsaw: Czytelnik, 1957.

"Study of the subject", Warsaw: Czytelnik, 1961.

"Barbarian in the Garden", Warsaw: Czytelnik 1962.

"Inscription", Warsaw: Czytelnik, 1969.

"Mr. Cogito", Warsaw: Czytelnik, 1974.

"Report from the besieged city and other poems", Paris: Literary Institute, 1983.

"Elegy for Departure", Paris: Literary Institute, 1990.

"Rovigo", Wrocław: Wydawnictwo Dolnośląskie, 1992.

Still life with a bridle", Wrocław: Wydawnictwo Dolnośląskie, 1993.

"Epilogue of the Storm", Wrocław: Wydawnictwo Dolnośląskie, 1998.

"Labyrinth by the sea", Zeszyty Literackie, 2000 (more...).

"King of Ants", Krakow: a5, 2001 (more...).

"The Gordian Knot and Other Scattered Writings", Warsaw: Biblioteka Więzi, 2001


A graduate of the Acting Department of the State Higher School of Dramatic Arts. Aleksander Zelwerowicz in Warsaw (1976). He made his debut with the title role in Juliusz Słowacki's Kordian directed by Erwin Axer at Warsaw's Teatr Współczesny (1977). Associated with Warsaw theaters, e.g. Contemporary (1976-1994) and Dramatic (1994-2009).

His credits include such roles as Henryk in Witold Gombrowicz's The Wedding directed by Krzysztof Zaleski (1983) and Yeshua Ha-Nocri in Mikhail Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita directed by Maciej Englert (1987) at the Contemporary Theater in Warsaw, Mackie Majcher in The Threepenny Opera by Bertolt Brecht, directed by Jan Buchwald at the Teatr im. Wojciech Bogusławski in Kalisz (1996), Eugeniusz Dorn in Unfinished Work for Actor by Anton Chekhov, directed by Krystian Lupa at the Dramatic Theater in Warsaw (2004), Major in Ladies and Hussars by Aleksander Count. Fredro directed by Maciej Wojtyszko at the Rampa Theater in Targówek in Warsaw (2006) or Koczkaryow in Marriage by Nikolai Gogol directed by Piotr Dąbrowski at the Teatr Dramatyczny im. Aleksandra Węgierka in Białystok (2011). He also appeared in many productions of the Television Theater, e.g. in the cult play Mahagonny by Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill, directed by Krzysztof Zaleski (1985), transferred from the Contemporary Theater in Warsaw, and in the play Night Time by Rebecca Lenkiewicz, directed by Piotr Trzaskalski (2008). He made his debut on the big screen as a pianist in Jan Batory's melodrama Con amore (1976). He starred in over seventy feature films. In Witold Orzechowski's war-sensational film Sentence of Death (1980), he portrayed a young Home Army soldier Slender (Smukly).

Wysocki became famous for the roles of captain Wiesnicyn in Stefan Żeromski's adaptation of The Faithful River directed by Tadeusz Chmielewski (1983) and the role of journalist Rafał in Wojciech Jerzy Has's psychological film Pismak based on the novel by Władysław Terlecki (1984). The role of the chronically lonely Miauczyński in Marek Koterski's film drama Inner Life (1986) brought him the Acting Award in the audience plebiscite at the Koszalin Film Meetings "Youth and Film". In 1987, he played a rock star in Tomasz Zygadło's film The Death of John L.. He is also known for many popular TV series, such as Home, Extradycja, Stay Miss, Na Wspólnej, Ranczo. In 2008, he played the role of Polish entrepreneur Dominik in the French-German-Polish blockbuster Avalanche directed by Jörg Lühdorff. He is a laureate of Wielki Splendor (2007) - the most important award of the Polish Radio Theatre.


Pianist, guitarist, arranger, songwriter. Leader and founder of the PIRAMIDY band. Member of ZAIKS and SAWP. He played hundreds of concerts in Poland and around the world. Author of theater and film music. He accompanied at the Ateneum Theatre, e.g. music director of Krzysztof Tyniec's band, author of music for the monodrama "Biography" dir. Wojciech Wysocki and for the performance "Norwid" dir. Maja Barełkowska. He made his debut with the performance of music for the documentary film entitled "The Bard" dir. Katarzyna Kościelak (produced by TVP2) and at the same time he appeared in this film, he also appeared in the film "Wałęsa" dir. Andrzej Wajda as one of the striking shipyard workers. He composed music for over 20 films.

He collaborated with Radio Gdańsk, in 2009-2011 he co-hosted tourist programs. For his artistic work, he was awarded by the Mayor and the City Council of Ełk - the White Lily 2009 statuette, and by the Mayor and the City Council of Kościerzyna - the Angelus 2010 statuette - for artistic achievements and work with youth. Session pianist, author of music for fairy tales and producer of audiobooks. Propagator of Adam Mickiewicz's poetry, author and producer of two concerts based on the works of Polish Romantics: "Rozmowa z pyramidami" and "Mickiewicz Unplugged". Director of the International Song Festival "Szlakiem Bardów" in Warsaw.

Matczuk's CD albums:

• Conversation with the Pyramids” (CD MTJ 2012).

• Our Wysocki” (CD MTJ 2013).

• Bards of the PRL era - concert at the Polish Theater (DVD WFN 2014).

• YEAR OF WAR (CD MTJ 2016).

• A short CD about Okujawa (CD MTJ 2017)

• Foreman Scimitar (CD MTJ)

• The most beautiful songs from Polish movies and series (CD MTJ)

• Mickiewicz Unplugged (CD RZP)

• Mickiewicz Słowacki Norwid (MTJ, DVD live)

And as a studio musician, many albums by Polish actors, collective albums and with his own music for texts performed by Wojciech Wysocki.