Playwright, Novelist, and Screenwriter Janusz Glowacki Dies at 78

Obituaries   Playwright, Novelist, and Screenwriter Janusz Glowacki Dies at 78
Mr. Glowacki was the author of Antigone in New York.
Janusz Glowacki
Janusz Glowacki

Playwright, screenwriter, and novelist Janusz Glowacki, who was born in western Poland in 1938, died August 19 at the age of 78, according to Time.

Mr. Glowacki often wrote about the immigrant experience; he began his career as a short story author, gaining popularity with the short-story collections The Nonsense, Spinner and The New La-ba-da Dance, published in 1968 and 1970, respectively.

It was in the late ’60s and early ’70s when Mr. Glowacki also worked as an actor and screenwriter. He co-wrote the screenplays for Psychodrama (1969) and The Cruise (1970) and went solo on the screenplays for Hunting Flies in 1970 and This Love Must Be Killed in 1972. His later screenplays included Hairdo (1999) and Wałęsa: Man of Hope (2013).

Mr. Glowacki's initial work as a playwright included Adultery Punished (1972), Chop (1976), Soccer (1977), and Cinders (1979), all originally staged in Poland. Cinders was subsequently presented in London at The Royal Court Theatre in 1981, at the New York Shakespeare Festival in a production starring Christopher Walken in 1984, and in 1986 in Buenos Aires (where it won the Molière Award).

In the early 1980s, Mr. Glowacki decided to make New York his home when martial law was implemented in Poland. The playwright did not return to Warsaw until communist rule was ousted in 1989.

He garnered the attention of the American theatre world in 1986 with the comedy Hunting Cockroaches, which the playwright described as “a very funny play about a very serious subject: two people, a famous writer and an actress, who lose everything except their accents.” The play would go on to win the Joseph Kesselring Award in 1987 and the Hollywood Drama League Critics Award in 1987. His critically acclaimed plays also included Antigone in New York, about homeless immigrants in Tompkins Square Park in New York, The Fourth Sister; and Fortinbras Got Drunk.

Among Mr. Glowacki’s other honors: the American Theatre Critics Association Award, the John S. Guggenheim Award, the Jurzykowski Prize, and the Warsaw Literary Prize.

Mr. Glowacki is survived by his wife, actor Olena Leonenko-Glowacka; his daughter, Zuzanna Glowacka; and his former wife, Ewa Zadrzynska.

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