Maria Peszek is an actress and singer. Born in 1973 in Wrocław into a family of actors, both her father Jan and brother Błażej are actors.
Born into a family of actors, she became one her self. Also taking an interest in singing, she has never shied away from new challenges and artistic experiments
In an interview with the Gazeta Wyborcza daily in Kraków (1997) she said she always knew she'd become an artist, "At first I wanted to work in the circus, later then I dreamt about a career in opera, after that I already knew I would become an actress". In 1996, she graduated from the acting school in Kraków. Her debut appearance was in the 1995 production of Bruno Schulz's Sanatorium under the hourglass / Sanatorium pod klepsydrą, directed by Jan Peszek at the Juliusz Słowacki Theatre in Krakow. In 1996, Jerzy Grzegorzewski invited her to play the part of Malgoska in Molier's Don Juan; since that time, she has been associated with Warsaw's Studio Theatre. She still works with Jerzy Grzegorzewski in his productions at the National Theatre, which have included Stanisław Wyspiański's November Night / Noc listopadowa (1997), Witold Gombrowicz's Wedding / Wesele (1998). She played the leading role in the Studio Theatre's 1997 production of Gombrowicz's Ivona, Princess of Burgundia / Iwona, ksiezniczka Burgunda, directed by Ewa Bulhak, and appeared in Zbigniew Brzoza's production of Antigone by Sophocles (1998). Reviewers praised her "pure nonsense/serious" performance in Danilo Charms's Bam, directed by Oskar Korsunovas at the Studio Theatre (1998).
This young actress has hinted at the unusual acting talents. Her role in Korsunovas's production is a true concert for acting talent. Maria Peszek internalized Charms' entire poetics and she herself embodied this poetry, killing her audience with a strange laugh every few minutes, like a cartoon character.
- Piotr Gruszczyński in Tygodnik Powszechny, no. 29, 19 July 1998
She also got very good reviews for her performance as Simoninia in Ramon del Valle-Inclan's God's Words, directed by Piotr Tomaszuk at Warsaw's Rozmaitości Theatre (1998). Although hers was not a leading role, it was nevertheless important to the production.
The marvelous thing about this role is that Maria Peszek does not act at all. She does acts, but her acting emerges organically from the situation, from her body and words, and that's why we do not interpret this role as a an instance of acting virtuosity, but as reality (...). In a play, which has its high and low points, we swing between images of the Spanish poor and a morality play, Maria Peszek's Simonia is the most reliable role.
- Roman Pawłowski, Gazeta Wyborcza, no. 292, 14 December 1998.
The fairy tale for adults - Winnie, based on Alan Alexander Milne's Winnie The Pooh, directed by Piotr Cieplak at the Studio Theatre (1999) received mix reviews from the critics, but this time, too, Maria Peszek's performance was very well received. Janusz P. Kowalczyk wrote:
In my opinion, whoever hit on the idea of casting Maria Peszek as Winnie the Pooh deserves an Oscar, she is a winner in that role from the moment she appears on stage. She has won over her audience as Winnie the Pooh, even though her incarnation is very different than the Pooh of the book's illustrations by Ernest H. Shepard, or in Disney's later adaptation. Peszek's interpretation of the teddy bear's personality is very credible.
- Rzeczpospolita, no. 253, 28 October 1999
As an actress, Maria Peszek never shied away from new challenges and artistic experiments. In Helmut Kajzar's production of Orca act / Akt Orki, directed by Piotr Lachmann at the Poza Videotheatre, she played alongside Jolanta Lothe-Lachmann and her father Jan Peszek in this multimedia performance. At the 21st Review of Theatrical Songs in Wroclaw, she played the role of Gelsomina from the Fellini's La Strada in the song I'm the wind, I'm a storm by Mateusz Pospieszalski and Rafal Dziwisz. Her performance as the Fat Angel in Peter Turrini's Love in Madagascar, directed by Zbigniew Brzoza at the Studio Theatre (2000), was also very close to the mood and conventions of Fellini's films. The actress has played in several plays produced by Polish Television. One of them was the role of Olga in Marius von Mayerburg's play Fire Face / Feuergesicht, directed by Piotr Łazarkiewicz (2000).
Maria Peszek is a two-time winner at the Dwa Teatry / Two Theatres Festival in Sopot. In 2001, she received an award for her performance in Marriage, directed by Jerzy Stuhr, and three years later the jury praised her appearance in Martwa Królewna/ Dead Princess. She also starred in the film adaptation of Wiedźmin, based on the stories of Andrzej Sapkowski.
In 2005, Maria Peszek released her debut album Miasto Mania. It was very well-received both by critics and the audience. Several months after its premiere, the album achieved platinum certification. The music was composed by Voo Voo leader Wojciech Waglewski and his sons Fisz and Emade. Miasto Mania was also the soundtrack to a multimedia performance under the same title, which premiered in the Fabryka Trzciny venue in Warsaw.
As the authors claim, it is a metropolitan album with a contemporary sound. On a musical level, it is a collection of simple, almost minimalistic songs that have quite a dark lineage. The input of the elder Waglewski makes the songs dominated by jazz harmonies, and when the sons take over the baton, the music pulsates with reggae and dub.
Bartosz Staszczyszyn, who considers it one of the most important albums of the year 2005, wrote in Tygodnik Powszechny:
In Maria Peszek’s songs Warsaw appears as (…) a city reverberating with life, thoroughly modern, a city-person. A historic city, which glitters with the brightness of today’s day.(…) Peszek spreads out before us an image of incomplete life, too fast, too desultory, a life which is, however, not deprived of melancholy. The latter emanates from lyrics co-authored by Maria Peszek and Piotr Lachmann. Under the guise of lightness and banality they disclose the truth about people, the anatomy of longing and loneliness written in cipher.
The album also became the subject of scientific analysis included in the publication by Katarzyna Kułakowska Miasto płci, Dyskurs miłosny Marii Peszek/ City of Gender. Maria Peszek’s Discourse of Love.
In 2008, the artist released her second album Maria Awaria (literal translation – Mary Failure) produced by Andrzej Smolik. Peszek admitted that was difficult to determine the character of this album in terms of musical nomenclature. Her main objective was to effectively express emotions.
Her third album certified the originality of her musical path. It also caused a sensation due to the media hype surrounding the artist’s openness regarding her mental condition and her struggle with depression, which she commented on in a number of press interviews.
Jesus Maria Peszek, released in 2012, is the artist’s most intimate album. It was produced by Michał Król, a musician known from performing with the band 15 minut projekt.
It is gloomy, depressing, and miserable. But not hysterical. Peszek does not sing out of the depths of her depression, you sense that she has overcome the crisis. She had gone to pieces, but she has integrated them anew, and now she talks about herself like a meticulous chronicler recalling the raging extreme emotions which she experienced not so ago.
- wrote Robert Sankowski in Gazeta Wyborcza, adding that:
From the opening song of the album Ludzie psy/People Dogs, it is really rough. Musically, because this album is a terrific mix of economical, sometimes violent, sometimes soothingly beautiful, but always surprisingly catchy alternative electronic and rock sounds streaked with the climate of cabaret.
- 1999 - Second Prize for acting at 29th Kalisz Theatre Meetings for the role of Simonini in Słowa boże/ God’s Words by Ramon del Valle-Incl at the Rozmaitości Theatre in Warsaw
- 2000 - Second prize at the competition, ZASP’s Statuette and Audience Award at 21st Review of Songs Performed by Actors in Wrocław
- 2001, 2004 - awards at Dwa Teatry/ Two Theatres Festival of Radio and Television in Sopot
Source: Gazeta Wyborcza, Rzeczpospolita, updated November 2014