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November Night

photo: Wojciech Plewinski

The stage was crowded with uniformed young men. The distribution of arms which followed was part military drill and part final farewell. To the beat of a drum the young cadets started marching downstage, straight at the audience, led by Wysocki with a raised sword. High above them floated the golden helmet and aegis of Pallas Athene (...) Ostensibly this pathos would seem a highly dangerous thing; a stage performance relating only to the emotions runs the risk of slipping into obvious banalities - but, in my opinion, this is not the case of Noc listopadowa. And not only because the developing drama, especially the Belweder scenes, involving the characters of Konstanty and Ksiezna Lowicka, brought substantial food for thought; but also because the noble grandeur of the scenes at the Cadet's School (...), while recreating an actual vision of the November Insurrection, were also a metaphor of any national uprising born of pure intentions - and doomed to painful confrontation with the reality of large-scale politics and historical necessity. (...) The tragedy of Maciek Chelmicki's generation was shown by Wajda by extremely ascetic filmmaking, while the tragedy of similar young men in 1831 was presented by means of opulent theatre and almost operatic music. But the tragedy remained the same.

Maciej Karpinski,
"The Theatre of Andrzej Wajda", Warszawa 1980, p.53-54.

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