A screening of an archival performance of the Wrocław Pantomime Theater’s Knights of King Arthur as part of the celebrations of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Henryk Tomaszewski, one of post-war Poland’s greatest theater artists and the founder of Wrocław pantomime. The script for the performance is a loose adaptation of numerous legends related to King Arthur, the Knights of the Round Table and the Holy Grail taken from, among other sources, Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur and Roger Lancelyn Green’s King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table. In the staging itself, Tomaszewski departed from the legend on numerous occasions, creating his own original version of the story of the medieval court.
Henryk Tomaszewski (1919–2011) was a dancer, mime, choreographer, director, the creator of a pantomime troupe and the founder of the Wrocław Pantomime Theater (1956). He was of the most important artists in Polish and world theater of the second half of the 20th century. Tomaszewski departed from the French tradition of pure mime, conducting instead formal, multidirectional explorations in the area of group pantomime. His performances were often based on the motifs of classical Polish and European literature (he staged works by Shakespeare, Wyspiański, Ionesco, Shaw, Ibsen, Słowacki and Weiss, among others). Another source of inspiration for Tomaszewski was painting, and art and music played a major role in his performances. At the center of his artistic vision, which he called spherical theater, he put human beings and the creative possibilities of movement.