Monday, January 7, 2013

MEMORIAM: Andrzej Zurowski Remembered

Polish theatre critic, Andrzej Zurowski, died January 5 at the age of 68 from complications related to a long battle with leukemia. Theatre critics from around the globe mourned his passing in e-mails circulated among leaders and members of the International Association of Theatre Critics (AICT-IATC).

It was impossible to meet Zurowski and not be impressed with his global knowledge--in every sense--of theatre. He was at home discussing the relative merits of Shakespeare production no matter the setting, no matter the language of the performance. His many enthusiasms were well known within the Polish theatre community as well as among those who cared about the art form throughout the world.

IATC President Yun-Cheol Kim noted that Zurowski's death is a "greal loss to the Polish theatre community" but also to the international community. Zurowski served as an International Vice President of IATC who was instrumental in keeping Polish theatre and Polish theatre criticism engaged with ongoing global discourse. He was afforded the high honor of the title "Honorary Vice President" of IATC for his outstanding service to the profession and to the art form. Among many other honors, he was saluted in 2010 by the Minister of Culture in Armenia and awarded a medal for his service to Armenian theatre at a private ceremony in Yerevan. Sceretary General Michel Vaïs was among those to remark that Zurowski "served in so many ways for a long time. He always had new projects to propose."

Zurowski's Polish colleague Tomasz Milkowski, who organized the 2012 Warsaw Congress for IATC, celebrated the late critic as a man full of energy, wit, and wisdom. Iran's Katayoun Hosseinzadeh Salmasi said "words cannot express the heartache" felt internationally by this loss. Don Rubin of the Canadian Theatre Critics Association wrote that Zurowski was a "man of vision as well as of action. He made important things happen in the worlds of scholarship and criticism." Lawrence DeVine, an emeritus member of the American Theatre Critics Association and continuing International Committee member, wrote "he was my oldest friend in IATC. We met in Tel Aviv in 1981" and had many wonderful times "around the world in the years since."

Zurowski's prolific career included 23 published books, ten of which were focused on the work of Shakespeare. He also lectured in the Theatre Department of the Polish Studies Institute at Pomeranian University. His most recent research centered on Helena Modjeska, which took him to the United States where he had planned to visit in the near future.

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