Wiera Gran

Burzyńska, Anna
a music play
Obsada kobiety: 
Obsada mężczyźni: 
Szczegóły obsady: 
musicians: pianist and accordionist; optionally 4 dancers

Anna Burzyńska's play tells the story of an outstanding Polish singer of Jewish origin, Wiera Gran, who died several years ago in Paris. It is a peculiar piece, because it combines the songs sung by the artist with the facts of her life skilfully integrated into the musical structure. Above all, it paints a poignant psychological portrait of the heroine and reveals many sensational episodes from her complicated history. Wiera Gran, called "Jewish Mata Hari", performed during the occupation in the cafés of the Warsaw Ghetto, and immediately after the war she was accused of collaborating with the Nazis. And although there was no concrete evidence against her, for many years she had to face accusations that caused her nervous breakdown and destroyed her artistic career. Cleared of all charges, but still prosecuted - as she put it herself - by a "relay of slanderers" - she eventually became paranoid and hid in her Paris apartment from long dead persecutors for the rest of her life. Some of the facts appearing in the play were taken from the book entitled The Relay of the Slanderers, written by Vera Gran herself - a kind of the singer's confession. Although the book is famous elsewhere, it remains little known in Poland, because it was published in Paris in a very small print run.

The text begins when an old, lonely and obsessed artist is plunged into a hell of memories and paralysed by a constant fear that "they will come get her"; her story goes back in time - to concerts in the ghetto, during which she was accompanied by Władysław Szpilman (the protagonist of Roman Polański’s The Pianist) - one of her later accusers. In this study of the disturbing psychological situation of a person living in a constant sense of danger, facts mix with fiction, and actual accusations with delusions. In the sick imagination of the heroine, both her torturers and the people with whom she was associated appear before her. The memories and obsessions of Wiera Gran are intertwined with her greatest hits - among others: The shattered senses, When he takes me in his arms (La vie en rose), The Dark Night (Tiomnaja nocz), Tango Notturno, Her First Ball, The Man I Love or The Lost Heart Ballad - all of which add a unique atmosphere to the story. Anna Burzyńska does not try to absolve Wiera Gran from the accusations against her, nor does she accuse her, but rather - trying to outline her state of mind in a fairly objective way - leaves the verdict to the audience. The work's dramatic and musical convention and its retrospective construction create an excellent opportunity to show off, especially for the performer in the title role.