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The Upper Room

The play is based on the Gospel; the main hero is apostle Thomas, in Christian tradition called the "doubting". The drama takes place in the upper room, where the apostles concealed themselves after the crucifixion of Christ. In the course of the play, which in any case is rather uneventful, the shattered, terrified, fugitive disciples of Christ examine their situation, trying to understand why their idea, so close to victory just a moment ago, failed so miserably. Of course, the conversation is not lacking in bitter reproaches, mutual accusations, suspicions of betrayal, provocation, etc. (..) But then Mary Magdalene brings the news of the Resurrection. This is the dramatic climax of the play, giving rise to an intellectual dispute of the zealous believers, waiting for the return of their Lord, with the doubting apostle Thomas. (...)

The Upper Room was an analysis of a situation after disaster. (...) The Wajda production emphasized the topical immediacy of the drama withouth forfeiting its religious character. The performance took place in the ruins of a church, then under reconstruction. (...)

The Upper Room was not a play which would provoke the director to stage fireworks. It was a modest performance, in the theatrical sense, but very significant for the social and political awareness in Poland. Its impact was made even stronger owing to well-known actors, who took part in it, for example Krystyna Janda (...), Daniel Olbrychski, Jerzy Zelnik, Olgierd Lukaszewicz, Krzysztof Kolberger.

Maciej Karpinski,
"The Theatre of Andrzej Wajda", Warszawa 1991, p.145-147.

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