Our class

  • Scene: Youth (14+)
  • Duration: 145 min (w/ break)
  • Premiere: 30.04.2014
  • Age: 14+

Directed by: Vladimir Milchin
Author: Tadeusz Slobodjanek

THE PLAY: A group of students, Jews and Catholics, reveal their ambitions: one wants to be a firefighter, another a movie star, one a pilot, another a doctor. They are learning the alphabet. Poland, 1925. As children grow, their country is torn apart by foreign armies, first the Soviet and then the Nazi. As nationalism spreads unstoppably, internal injustices deepen; friends surrender to each other; violence escalates. Anti-Semitism erupts in a series of rapes, murders, tortures, to culminate in a mass pogrom, an unusual and monstrous act that resonates to this day. Almost all local Jews were killed, burned in a barn or killed in the town square. Only a few manage to survive. Violence does not stop with the end of the war. Clearing up with the past begins, but it is an impossible task. The author confronts his country's participation in the atrocities of the last century and follows his classmates through time - through weddings, parades, births, deaths, emigrations and reconciliations. Our class, published by Slobodjanek in 2009, is a poignant story of complicated Polish-Jewish relations in the 20th century, of collective shame, of truth that no one needs, and of a history that cannot be judged, reconstructed, nor can it be explained.

The play was nominated for the prestigious Nike Polish Literary Prize for 2010, and the European Theater Convention ranks it among the best contemporary European drama texts written in 2009 and 2010.

THE AUTHOR: Tadeusz Slobodjanek is a playwright, director and theater critic. He was born on April 26, 1955 in Jeniseisk, Siberia, but soon after his birth, his family returned to Poland and settled in Bialystok. He completed his theatrical studies at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow. As a theater critic, he published his reviews, under the pseudonym Jan Konjepolski, in the Krakow bi-weekly magazine Student and in the weekly Politika. He debuted as a playwright in 1980 at the Puppet Theater in Bialystok. Since 2010, Slobodjanek has been working as the director / director of the Warsaw Theater in Warsaw, where Our Class was directed by Andrzej Spisak. In May 2012, he was appointed director of the Gustav Holobek Drama Theater. Since 2001 Slobodjanek has been employed as a lecturer at the Reporting Laboratory of the Department of Journalism at the University of Warsaw.

MUSIC: Marjan Nekjak wrote the music for the songs "For the Orphans / Mariana" and "Star of Solitude", which ends the play. The play begins with the song "Childhood Years" by Mordechai Gebirtich, a poet and composer killed by the Nazis in the Krakow ghetto in 1942. The instrumental "Tango of Death" was performed by the camp orchestra at the Nazi Janovski concentration camp in Ukraine. The musical score of the play is composed of contemporary Kletzmer music by several performers. In the break between the first and second part we hear the song Jedwabne by Gary Lucas, a descendant of Rabbi Abram Pijarkaz. Gary Lucas's entire mother's family was killed in Jedwabne.

POGROM: A large outbreak of mass violence against minority religious, ethnic or social groups. It usually implies incitement and control by the central government, or, at the very least, passivity of the local government. The term came into widespread use after the riots of 1881 and 1882 in the Russian Empire. Although the standard Russian bureaucratic term for mass riots was besporyadki, due to the occasional use of the word pogrom to describe the events of 1881 and 1882, it became popular in the West. It is noted in the Oxford English Dictionary that it was first used in the London Times on March 17, 1882 ("That the pogroms [Jewish rebellions] must stop ..."), defining the word as "an organized massacre in Russia for the destruction or extermination of "any group or class: originally, and especially, applied to those who targeted the Jews." The use of the term pogrom to describe any attack on Jews throughout history obscures the great variation in the scale, nature, motivation, and intent of such violence at different times.The position of Jews as religious, social, or political "others" makes them a suitable target for violence in Eastern Europe during periods of political unrest and social unrest. The Cossack uprising against Polish rule in Ukraine in 1648, for example, identified Jews as religious aliens and as agents of the Polish feudal system. In the 19th and 20th centuries, pogroms occurred in the Polish border areas with Austria, Germany, and, in particular, the Russian Empire, where a complex social, political, and economic matrix complicated interethnic relations.

The pogrom in Jedwabne that our class is talking about happened in June 1941. According to Polish authorities, 340 Jews were killed, and unofficial figures put the number at 1,600. The last pogrom in Poland took place after the war in Kielce in 1946. residents, between 38 and 42 Jews were killed.

Stage design

Krste Dzidrov

Costume design

Marija Pupuchevska


Marjan Necak


FaLang translation system by Faboba

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