Poland’s Roman Catholic church has slammed The Curse, directed by Croat Oliver Frljic, as being “blasphemous”. Polish prosecutors have begun investigations to examine whether the play, which opened to the public end of February at Warsaw’s Teatr Powszechny theatre, offends religious feeling and whether the play “incites the murder” of Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the leader of the governing right-wing Law and Justice (PiS) party. The Curse is an adaptation of famous Polish author Stanisław Wyspiański’s 1899 play of the same name. The performance received excellent reviews and standing ovations during every reprise.
Frljic wrote an open Letter to Jean Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission. The letter refers to the enormous wave of verbal attacks and defamations that have happened after the Polish TV posted illegally taken video footage of excerpts from the performance. “If institutions and political representatives within Poland are not able to protect basic human rights and freedom of speech,” Frljic writes, ” it is imperative that we hear the voice of representatives from the EU. The absence of this voice is being interpreted as approval of the situation, and as support for those who launched and orchestrated this disgraceful campaign against the actors, authors and producers of the performance.”
Already in December 2013, a work by Frljic was cancelled at the National Stary Theatre in Kraków: Nie-Boska komedia. Szczątki (The Un-Divine Comedy: Remains) an adaptation ofa classic of Polish Romanticism, Zygmunt Krasińki.
The Mladinsko Theatre (Slovenia), were the Goran Injac, dramaturg of The Curse, comes from, published a statement of solidarity: “We are asking the authorities of the city of Warsaw to protect the currently extremely important space of a dialogue, the Poswszechny Theatre. We are also calling on both to prevent the implementation of new mechanisms of conservative censorship which seriously endangers the freedom of arts.”