Actor, director and head of the Teatr Dramatyczny in Warsaw. Born on September 13, 1934, he died on July 14, 2009.
Zbigniew Zapasiewicz studied acting at the National Academy of Theatre in Warsaw, and his debut performance was in 1955 at the Theatre of New Warsaw (Teatr Nowej Warszawy). He worked for many years in Warsaw's Dramatic Theatre (Teatr Dramatyczny), and also served as the theatre's director. He performed there in a number of productions, including Witold Gombrowicz's Wedding / Ślub, Sławomir Mrożek's Butchery / Rzeźnia and William Shakespeare's King Lear. His theatrical career spanned a wide variety of roles, from Zbyszko in Gabriela Zapolska's Mrs. Dulska's Morality / Moralność pani Dulskiej to Andriei Posorov in Anton Chekhov's Three Sisters and Laurenty in Tadeusz Różewicz's On All Fours / Na czworakach.
Zapasiewicz also worked at the Teatr Współczesny, where he collaborated with Erwin Axer, his theatrical mentor, in the 1960s. The productions in this theatre in which he performed include Sławomir Mrożek's Love in the Crimea / Milosc na Krymie and Ambassador / Ambasador, and Gogol's Dead Souls. However, his home stage was always the Teatr Powszechny in Warsaw, where he recently returned to play King Lear in a staging directed by Piotr Cieplak.
Audiences and reviewers alike always noted the self-restraint of Zapasiewicz's acting, as well as his excellent artistic skills, his ability to freshly analyse each text and the way he applied this analysis in constructing his roles. "Zapasiewicz is one of the last actors to stress the meaning of theatrical skills to this extent, and each of his performances is a confirmation of the seriousness of his profession. He realises that he knows almost everything about the theatre, and yet he avoids using his star power to steal the show. He remembers that each role is an element of the play and not a solo part." (Jacek Wakar, "Zycie").Zapasiewicz also performed in the Theatre of Television (Teatr Telewizji) in shows such as Forefather's Day / Dziady (directed by Jan Englert) and Slawomir Mrozek's Tango (directed by Maciej Englert). He was one of the most outstanding film actors in Poland, playing leading roles in films like Andrzej Wajda's No Anaesthesia / Bez znieczulenia, Krzysztof Kieślowski's Short Film About Killing / Krotki Film o zabijaniu, and Krzysztof Zanussi's Protective Colours / Barwy ochronne and Life as a Sexually Transmitted Deadly Disease / Zycie jako smiertelna choroba przenoszona droga plciowa. He was also a professor for many years at the National Academy of Theatre in Warsaw.
"Old Lear in Teatr Powszechny bears the face of old Zapasiewicz, a face lined with furrows, with narrow half-closed eyes that sometimes open wide. (...) His Lear is hidden away inside of himself. (...) The peremptory father, demanding confessions of love from his daughters as a kind of confirmation of their loyalty, turns into an invalid old man. But he still knows how to mock his age, and perform a parody of a toothless old man begging for the favours of his own daughters", wrote Roman Pawłowski ("Gazeta Wyborcza") after the premiere of Cieplak's King Lear.
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