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OUR CLASS Awarded Poland’s Top Literary Prize
POLAND’S TOP LITERARY PRIZE GOES TO PLAYWRIGHT
Nasza Klasa (Our Class) a drama by Tadeusz Słobodzianek has won the 2010 NIKE Award, the first time this prestigious literary award, established in 1997, has gone to a play.
Apart from the Nike statuette by the prominent Polish sculptor Gustaw Zemła, the play’s author received 100,000 zlotys (around 25,000 euros) as a cash prize in the equivalent of the Polish Booker Prize.
Nasza Klasa – which is the name of Poland’s most popular social networking web site – follows a group of Jewish and Catholic classmates in Poland from 1925, as they live through the horrors of World War II and the Holocaust and see some of their old friendships being smashed. The play refers indirectly, without mentioning the place by name, to the killing of Jews in Jedwabne by their Polish neighbours in 1941.
Interestingly enough, the world premiere of Our Class was held in the National Theatre in London, in September 2009. It was translated by British writer Ryan Craig and directed by Bijan Sheibani who visited Jedwabne while doing research for the production.
The Polish premiere of the play is scheduled for later this month at the ‘Na Woli’ Theatre in Warsaw, which Tadeusz Słobodzianek took over this season as Artistic Director. He also runs the Laboratorium Dramatu (Drama Laboratory) in Warsaw, a theatre specializing in new writing.
Fifty five year-old Słobodzianek is also a theatre critic and director. His plays Tutajgroszek (Roll-a-Pea) and Merlin won the Fringe Awards at the Edinburgh Festival in 1993 and 1994.