June 11, 1993 |
Sometimes it pays to be a playwright from a country in political turmoil. That's partly how and why Janusz Glowacki--best known for "Hunting Cockroaches" and whose "Fortinbras Gets Drunk" is currently having its West Coast premiere at the Fountainhead Theatre--first caught on in the United States. But producing a Pole isn't the novelty it was five years ago. And "Fortinbras Gets Drunk" unfortunately doesn't stand on merit alone. In fact, it wobbles as much as its titular tanked anti-hero.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 5, 1986
We the undersigned express grave concern over the growing number of political arrests in Poland during the past weeks following the arrest of Zbigniew Bujak, the underground leader of Solidarity. We call for the release of all political prisoners in Poland; in particular, we ask for the release of Zbigniew Lewicki, head of the American literature department of Warsaw University, an eminent scholar, a passionate advocate of American letters and a friend, acquaintance and colleague of many of us. The above letter, drafted at California State University, San Diego, was signed by the following writers and teachers from all over the United States: Walter Abish, John Ashbery, Stanislaw Baranczak, Donald Barthelme, Saul Bellow, Joseph Brodsky, Jerome Charyn, Robert Coover, Marcus Cunliffe, Stephen Dixon, E. L. Doctorow, Raymond Federman, Leslie Fiedler, William Gaddis, William Gass, Allen Ginsberg, Janusz Glowacki, Sinda Gregory, Ihab Hassan, Richard Howard, Irving Howe, John Irving, Harold Jaffe, Frederick R. Karl, Ken Kesey, Jerome Klinkowitz, Larry McCaffery, James McClintock, Joseph McElroy, Norman Mailer, Clarence Major, Peter Matthiessen, Harry Mathews, Leonard Michaels, Arthur Miller, Bradford Morrow, Joyce Carol Oates, Maggie Paley, Walker Percy, Robert Pinsky, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Michael Stephens, Rose Styron, William Styron, Ronald Sukenick, Calvin Tomkins, Frederic Tuten, Kurt Vonnegut Jr., Anne Waldman, Paul West .
June 13, 1990 |
Janusz Glowacki's "Hunting Cockroaches" is a pun with reverberations, a clever sociopolitical play on words and ideas that goes on for almost two hours. "Cockroaches," now at the Way Off Broadway playhouse, is about a Polish dissident writer who lives with his wife in Manhattan's lower Eastside. His current speciality is trying to teach Kafka to "kids who drive sports cars."
April 2, 1993
"Cinders," at the Open Fist Theatre, might have been just another women-behind-bars drama. But Polish playwright Janusz Glowacki used the fable of Cinderella as an ersatz play-within-a-play, and included a television unit sent to investigate rumors of abuse and violence in the prison. What he has made is a parable about power, on several levels, and the evil it can breed.
November 25, 1988 |
Exploitation is at the hard core of Janusz Glowacki's "Cinders" at Rancho Santiago College through Sunday. The setting is a Polish reformatory, where the imprisoned girls are linked as much by the selfish urge to exploit each other as by the desperation of their predicament. The officials who control them, meanwhile, are less committed to rehabilitation than to preserving the illusion of rehabilitation.
November 13, 1987 |
In Europe, cockroaches are Kafkaesque. In the United States, they're just pesky pests to be hunted down and squashed. It's the difference between poetry and pragmatism. In Janusz Glowacki's often funny but oh-so-thin "Hunting Cockroaches," at the Mark Taper Forum, it is also emblematic of the culture chasm into which immigrants inevitably fall--none harder than the artists--and from which they must emerge or be forever mired in the sludge.