Under the patronage of HE Dr Arkady Rzegocki, Ambassador of the Republic of Poland in London.
The Marshal of the Kuyavian and Pomeranian Region of Poland, Mr Piotr Całbecki
and The General Elżbieta Zawacka Foudation
in celebration of the 75 anniversary of the first drop of the Silent-Unseen
request the pleasure of your company at the exhibition and the performance
‘Elisabeth Watson – the Silent Unseen’
Exhibition - POSK Gallery
Private View - Wednesday, 5 October 2016, 6.30 pm
27 September - 14 October 2016
open every day
Theatre performance - POSK Theatre Hall
Wednesday, 5 October 2016, 8.00 pm
238-246 King St
London W6 0RF
Elisabeth Watson - cichociemna
“I will tell my children about you…..”
entry in the Book of Condolence
The author of the entry shall tell her children about General Elzbieta Zawacka.
The need to pass role-models down to subsequent generations has accompanied humanity since the dawn of time, but nowadays it is much more difficult for literature to create heroes such as patriots, saints or people who remain faithful to the most important values. One may easily be accused of insolent didacticism; it is very easy to cross the border between the pathos and the simplicity of the truth about heroism.
The play which we invite you to see tell is the story of a heroine. Yet, Zo – Elzbieta Zawacka — is not the protagonist of the monodrama. Instead, she is a young woman, an actress, who works as a waitress in London and is waiting for her lifetime opportunity, which she hopes to gain by emigrating to New Zealand. It is she who, while reading a script presented to her, is given the opportunity to learn about the life of the legendary “silent and unseen”; the story also turns out to be the story of her family. The juxtaposition of the world of a contemporary Polish woman, independent and self-reliant, who refers to Poland using the words “over in your place” and to England with the words “in our place”, with the biography of a female general, who “served Poland the best she could” is presented in the proven formula of “a play within a play”. The formula allows the heroine to move between the world of the war and occupation to that of Skype, castings and being a waitress. The journey between the two worlds and the past and present times becomes not only a lesson in history, but also takes her on a voyage of self-discovery. Kamila, who inserts English phrases while talking to her friend, having delved into the script of the play about Elzbieta Zawacka will say: “I can live anywhere, but I must know the truth about who I am”.
This is how contemporary patriotism, which is very hard to define for a young Pole, comes into being. He or she may be capable of reeling off the names of patriots referring to the period of the partitions or WWII, yet does not know what it means to be a patriot today. After all, it is an obsolete word in the commercialised reality. However, the desire for ties with tradition and to find our roots can shape our identity.
C.K. Norwid wrote: “the one who has broken away from the conscience of history, shall become uncivilised on a remote island and shall slowly turn into an animal”. Tradition is the conscience of history.
The play which we present is a story about the successful search for conscience.
The description of the project ‘Elisabeth Watson — the Silent Unseen”
On the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the first airdrop of the Silent Unseen, the Marshall’s Office of the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Province along with the General Elżbieta Zawacka Foundation in Torun organised the project ‘Elisabeth Watson – the Silent Unseen’. This endeavour throws the spotlight on this outstanding Polish woman: a teacher, a woman soldier, a political prisoner, an academic teacher, a participant in the Solidarity movement and a social activist. The aim of the project is not only to acquaint people with the biography of this female general — awarded the Order of the White Eagle — but also to promote the values which Elżbieta Zawacka upheld all her life. Her life may be described as the “eternal service and unswerving devotion to the Motherland, people and history”. As a pedagogue, Elżbieta Zawacka was aware of the fact that “the nation cannot lose a single generation” — her words best express the whole idea of the project. The legendary Silent Unseen was not only a great Pole. Her life affected also the history of Great Britain. In this context, carrying out the project about ‘Zo’ in England and Scotland seems completely justified.
In 2011 in Torun the premiere of the monodrama by Inka Dowlasz ‘Elisabeth Watson – the Silent Unseen’ took place. Teresa Stępień-Nowicka played the roles of both Elżbieta Zawacka and a young immigrant — Kamila. The play was successfully staged all over Poland. To commemorate that fact that the year 2016 was designated as the Year of the Silent Unseen, the Marshall’s Office of the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Province decided to present the performance in London and Fife, accompanied by a lecture and exhibition about this Honoured Citizen of the City of Torun.
From 26 September to 8 October 2016 in the Polish Social and Cultural Association in London it will be possible to see the exhibition organised by the General Zawacka Foundation in Torun. On 5 October the play “Elisabeth Watson” will be staged in the theatre of the Polish Social and Cultural Centre. The project will continue in Scotland, in the county of Fife, which was so important for the Silent Unseen. It was there in Largo House near Leven that Polish commandos were trained. On 7 October at Levenmouth Academy, the play shall be staged for schoolchildren and young people. A day later in the Byre Theatre in St. Andrews the project will come to an end. The project is run under the auspices of the Ambassador of Poland Witold Sobków , the General Consul of the Republic of Poland in Edinburgh Dariusz Adler and the Marshall of the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Province Piotr Całbecki.
The project is financed by the Marshall’s Office of the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Province and supported by the Polonia Aid Foundation Trust in London, the Polish Social and Cultural Association in London and the Consulate of the Republic of Poland in Edinburgh.
The General Elzbieta Zawacka Foundation is also supported by the Polish Institute in London, Fife Council, Fife Migrants and Fife Polish Education Trust.