A film and theatre actor. Born on the 15th of December 1963 in Ostrowiec Świętokrzyski.
A film and theatre actor. Born on the 15th of December 1963 in Ostrowiec Świętokrzyski.
Mirosław Baka graduated in 1989 from acting at the National Theatre School in Wrocław. In the 1987/1988 theatre season, he performed at the Norwida Theatre in Jelenia Góra. Since 1988 he has been an actor at the Wybrzeże Theatre in Gdańsk.
Still a student, Baka was chosen by Krzysztof Kieślowski to play the main role in Krótki film o zabijaniu / A Short Film about Killing (1987). He played Jacek Lazar in an important harrowing role in Kieslowski's film, a twenty-year-old man kills a taxi driver, is convicted and sentenced to death. Baka portrays his role in an ascetic, economical manner, restrained and at the same time very clearly shows the traits of his character. A degenerate boy from the provinces which, as interpreted by the young actor, becomes deeply human.
Soon after Baka left for Germany, where he played in the low-budget productions, such films by Michael Klier: Überall ist es besser, wo wir nicht sind / The Grass Is Greener Everywhere Else where he portrayed a Polish immigrant (1989) and Ostkreuz (1991) as well as All of Me by Bettin Wilhelm (1989) and Vaterland / Fatherland by Uli Schuppel. In Hungary he starred in Arnyek a Havon / Shadow on the Snow by Atilla Janisch (1991). In 1989, he played in a Polish film, the psychological début feature film by Jacek Skalski Chce mi się wyć / I Want to Yell with the 1980s as an inspiration, two people attempt to find intimacy and understanding through eroticism. Baka plays opposite Dorota Pomykała.
At the same time, Baka acted in the theatre. On stage in Jelenia Góra he played Stepan Trofimovich Verkhovensky in Biesy / The Possessed by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, directed by Krzysztof Rogoż (1988), as Lysander in Śnie nocy letniej / Midsummer Night's Dream by Shakespeare, staged by Waldemar Zawodziński (1988). For the first time at Gdańsk's Wybrzeże Theatre (where Baka is affiliated to this day), the actor played Barabass in Wolnośc dla Barabasza / Freedom for Barabass written by Krzysztof Wójcicki and directed by Andrzej Markowicz (1988). This role, which followed his film persona of Jacek Lazarus, was the beginning of a series of dark roles for the actor. It seems that his characters predestined him for such roles. He often played, especially on screen, tough guys and bullies, and in the theatre murderers and criminals; all characters in one way or another, obsessed with evil. Baka played, among other roles, Ivan Shatov in Fyodor Dostoyevsky's Possessed, staged by Krzysztof Babicki (1992), as the neurotic Dmitri in the another adaptation Dostoevsky's work titled Kilka zdarzeń z życia braci Karamazow / Several Events in the Lives of the Karamazow Brothers directed by Krzysztof Zaleski (1997). Despite his reputation as a dramatic actor, he was also successful in comedic roles, performances directed by Barbara Sass, Tutam by Bogusław Schaeffer (1994) and Się kochamy / Loving Eachother by Murray Schisgal (1994). Baka's acting is characterised by a very good mastery of method, restraint and discretion. His roles, usually full of simplicity, give the impression of deep thought, even when the actor shows strong passions. One of his most important creations was the character of the Boy in Per Olov Enquist's Godzina Kota / The Hour of the Lynx directed by Krzysztof Babicki (1993) a shocking record of a conversation between a female pastor (played by Halina Winiarska) and a mentally ill boy, an inmate of a psychiatric facility.
Aleksandra Ubertowska wrote,
Godzina Kota / The Hour of the Lynx is primarily Mirosław Baka's performance. One watches his creation of the boy - and this is not a hyperbole! - with a lump in one's throat. The role of the boy is a character created based on extreme limits, emotional reactions. (...) Baka (...) created a full and fascinating character on stage. (Gazeta Gdańska 1993, nr 69)
The actor played a number of Shakespearean roles. In 1992, he played Enobarbus in the bard's Antony and Cleopatra a production by Babicki. Four years later he starred as Hamlet in a production directed by Krzysztof Nazar, a surprising interpretation of the Danish prince a cynical character who functions in an equally ruthless world. Janusz R. Kowalczyk noted,
Hamlet performed by Mirosław Baka, proved to be a selfish individual, focusing on himself, cold, calculating, treating evil like a necessary tool to repair the world. Unfortunately, evil cannot be used with impunity (...) In the paroxysms of anger, Hamlet slaps his mother, tosses her across the floor, a fragile Ophelia repeatedly slammed against a wall. Cynicism triumphs when he sends Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to their deaths. His actions remind us more of a modern-day prince of the underworld than a former prince of blood. That Hamlet annoys and irritates. Yet, along with him, the audience experience a drama of failure, per fas et nefas, improving the world.(Rzeczpospolita 1996, No. 263)
At the Gdańsk theatre Krzysztof Nazar returned to Shakespeare, this time with Richard III (2000). Baka's Richard was a consummate, ruthless player who knew his goal well and pulled all the stops to attain it. Recently, he starred in the lead role in Titus Andronicus a play by young director Monika Pęcikiewicz (2006). His role, as well as the play, received mixed reviews. Tomasz Mościcki wrote,
The title character, a great, probably Mirosław Baka's best interpretation in a few years, is a ruthless macho easily and dispassionately ordering the death of an innocent man, so impassively as easily as lighting a cigarette. (Dziennik 2006, nr 60)
Mirosław Baka's performance in the title role of the General of the Roman legions was a failure, noted in turn Roman Pawlowski. The popular film and TV actor stopped working on himself and proved to be helpless in the face of Shakespeare. (Gazeta Wyborcza 2006, nr 149)
At the Wybrzeże Theatre, Baka successfully performed a repertoire of contemporary plays. The productions staged by Krzysztof Babicki were as Joachim Mahlke in Było sobie kiedyś miasto / It Once was a City based on Günter Grass's Cat and Mouse (1994), as Antoni in Kto mówi o czekaniu? / Who Is Talking About Waiting by Paweł Huelle (1995) and as Willy Brandt in Demokracja / Democratics by Michael Frayn (2005). He played the title role in Hanemann by Stefan Chwin directed by Izabella Cywińska (2002), also appearing in Beczka prochu written by Dejan Dukovski and directed by Grażyna Kania (2002), and All Inclusive by Ewelina Pietrowiak (2007). He played Henryk Watton in Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray, unexpectedly taken away from the first director right before the premiere and created by the whole cast together.
The actors, left to themselves, try to save the day using their previous roles. We have an unusual display of last seasons' premieres. Instead of Henryk Watton, the title protagonist of Titus Andronikus, but actually it's only Mirosław Baka who, in a few days, managed to create a multi-layered character - wrote Łukasz Rudziński (Nowa Siła Krytyczna, 06.05.2008).
Lately, Baka's most interesting roles are those created in Anna Augustynowicz's plays - Pieszo / On foot by Sławomir Mrożek (2009) and Doris Lessing's Each his own Wilderness (2011), praised by the critics for the ensemble's amazing work. He also played in plays directed by Adam Nalepa: Stalker based on the work by brothers Strugatsky (2012) and Witches of Salem based on Arthur Miller's The Crucible (2013). In brilliant comedies written by Michele Riml and directed by Krystyna Janda: Seks dla opornych / Sexy Laundry (2012) and Raj dla opornych / Henry and Alice: Into the Wild (2015) he performed once again alongside the great Dorota Kolak. The plays were received very well by the public and have been staged more than a hundred times.
The duo of Kolak and Baka give a display of actors' virtuosity. Their charming ease evoked by the smallest gesture and word (even swearing is lovable, when it's Kolak who swears) makes us feel that noone would be able to play these roles better - praised Anna Kołodziejska ("Teatralia" Nr 6/13.02.12).
Baka's last theatre role up to date is George in Edward Albee's Who's afraid of Virginia Woolf, translated by Jacek Poniedziałek and directed by Grzegorz Wiśniewski (2015).
In the 1990s, Baka starred in a number of smaller roles on screen. He played Śliwa, a district secretary of the Polish Workers' Party in Andrzej Wajda's film about the Warsaw Uprising: Pierścionek z orłem w koronie / The Ring with a Crowned Eagle (1992), Dziurga in Miasto prywatny / Private City by Jacek Skalski (1994), and Corporal Kos in Autoportret z kochanką / Self-Portrait with a Lover (1996). One of his major roles was in the psychological film by Andrzej Barański about a group of four friends, Nad rzeką której nie ma / By the River that is Not There (1991). He played Mały in Gnoje / Bastards based on Biały kruk / White Kruk by Andrzej Stasiuk and directed by Jerzy Zalewski (1995). He also played stockbroker Maks in Amok by Natalia Koryncka-Gruz (1998), as well as in the war drama Demony wojny według Goi / Demons of War by Goi (1998) and action films Reich (2001) by Władysław Pasikowski and Ostatnia misja / The Last Mission, by Wojciech Wójcik (1999). In 2000, Baka worked on another film with Andrzej Wajda, on the TV film Wyrok na Franciszka Kłosa / The Judgement Passed on Franciszek Kłos based on a novel by Stanisław Rembek. Baka perfectly played the role of a simple man, a navy officer, who diligently serves the Nazis but after a while his conscious timidly starts speaking to him.
I do not like to play average characters, people without a specific identity, the actor admitted. I prefer characters who are rooted in concrete reality. Travelling around the world, a man does not become cosmopolitan, because only then does he begin to see the differences between himself and others. (Rzeczpospolita 1998, nr 17)
With Wajda he met again on set of Wałęsa: Man of Hope (2013), where he played the shipyard's director, Klemens Gniech. Throughout, Baka receives propositions from Germany: among others, he acted in Milchwald a film by Christoph Hochhausler (2003). He also played in the independent Polish film Wstyd / Embarrassment by Piotr Matwiejczyk (2006), in Pasikowski's Jack Strong (2014) and in Bartek Prokopowicz's Chemia / Chemo (2015).
Baka has also starred in several television series, mainly thrillers such as Fala zbrodni / Crime Wave (2003), Kryminalni / Criminals (2004) and Pitbull by Patryk Vega (2005). He also acted in the telenovela Radio Romans (1994) and in a legal drama series Prawo Agaty / Agata's Law (2013).
Awards and honours :
- 1988 - Award by the head of Cinematography for creativity in the feature film-making in 1987;
- 1989 - Award by the Gdańsk Society of Friends of Art for his role as Jacek Lazar in Krótki film o zabijaniu / A Short Film About Killin by Krzysztof Kieślowski;
- 1994 - Pegasus Award for his role in the presentation of the Boy in Godzina Kota written by Per Olov Enquist, directed by Krzysztof Babicki at the Teatr Wybrzeże in Gdańsk; award for his role as a boy in the performance Godzina Kota / The Hour of the Lynx written by Per Olov Enquist, directed by Krzysztof Babicki at the Teatr Wybrzeże in Gdańsk at the 29th National Review of Small Form Teatre in Szczecin;
- 1996 - Silver Cross of Merit on the occasion of 50th anniversary of Teatr Wybrzeże;
- 1997 - Gdańsk governor Award for the title role in the staging of Hamlet by Shakespeare at the Krzysztof Nazar Theatre in Gdańsk, award for the title role in the staging of Hamlet by Shakespeare at the Teatr Wybrzeże in Gdańsk during the Shakespeare Festival;
- 1998 - Leon Schiller Award;
- 2001 - Title of Radio Personality of the Year by Radio Gdańsk;
- 2003 - Pomeranian Arts Award - Pomeranian Griffin statue in the theatre category, for his performances in Teatr Wybrzeże;
- 2005 - award for the role as Willy Brandt in the performance Demokracja / Democratics by Michael Frayn, directed by Krzysztof Babicki at Teatr Wybrzeże in Gdańsk for the 5th Contemporary Drama Festival Rzeczywistość przedstawiona in Zabrze;
- 2007 - Award for the title role in the performance of Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus, directed by Monika Pęcikiewicz at the Teatr Wybrzeże in Gdańsk during the 2nd National Competition for Theatrical reenactment of Historical Works of European Literature;
- 2008 - Honorary award for 'helping and promoting Polish independent cinema' at the 6. Multimedia Happy End Optimistic Films Festival in Rzeszów;
- 2014 - Award of the President of the City of Gdańsk on occasion of the 25. anniversary of artistic work;
- 2014 - Silver Medal for Merit to Culture - Gloria Artis;
- 2015 - Neptun Award of the President of the City of Gdańsk.
Author: Monika Mokrzycka-Pokora, June 2007, updated by NMR, August 2016 .