Henryk Tomaszewski (mime)

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The plaque for Henryk Tomaszewski in Wrocław

Henryk Tomaszewski aka Heinrich Karl Koenig (1919–2001) was a mime artist and theatre director, born in Poznań, Poland. He settled in Cracow in 1945 to study theatre after the end of World War II during which he studied at Iwo Gall's Theatre Studio from 1945 to 1947 and ballet under Feliks Parnell. Tomaszewski left Parnell's company in 1949 and resettled in Wrocław, where he taught ballet and began to develop his concepts in mime.

In 1956, Tomaszewski's Mime Studio had its premiere performance at the Polski Theatre in Wrocław. In 1958 the Mime Studio was renamed the Wroclaw Mime Theatre and was granted the status of State theatre in 1959. Tomaszewski ceased performing in the mid-1960s but continued to direct, train, and choreograph the ensemble and all productions.

Tomaszewski's conceptions of mime technique are modern much in the same way as Etienne Decroux's or Jacques Lecoq's but developed along different lines owing to the differences in Polish and French theatre traditions.[citation needed] Little reference is made to commedia dell'arte traditions.

Notable students and members of his company include Stanisław Brzozowski, Ewa Czekalska, Leszek Czarnota, Danuta Kisiel-Drzewinska, Jerzy Kozlowski, Krystyna Marynowska, Stefan Niedzialkowski, Janusz Pieczuro, Paweł Rouba,and Andrzej Szczużewski.

Tomaszewski's early work is documented in English in "Tomaszewski's Mime Theatre" by Andrzej Hausbrandt (Poland: Interpress, 1975).

Between 1960 and 1966 he collaborated with the Służba Bezpieczeństwa (State Counterintelligence Service), reporting on the activities of his friends and colleagues. He did not receive payment for these activities and Dr. Sebastian Ligarski, the researcher who discovered the dossier on Tomaszewski in the archives of the Wroclaw IPN (Institute of National Remembrance), conjectures that the service blackmailed him either because of his known homosexual tendencies[citation needed] or with the threat of a ban on foreign travel. The service believed that Tomaszewski, while traveling abroad with his colleagues in the Pantomime Theatre, might discover any contacts with foreign intelligence services.[1]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Wojciech Szymański and Tomasz Wysocki "Henryk Tomaszewski współpracował z SB". Gazeta Wyborcza, no. 108 (9 May 2007) (Accessed 4 June 2013).

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