“Where I myself end, there begins
My wantonness ...”
Jerzy Jarocki was The Marriage’s first director, but his production in Gliwice in 1960 had only four performances before it was forbidden by censors.
In 1963, Jorge Lavelli, a student at the time, directs the play in France. This production wins the first prize in the Concours des Jeunes Compagnies.
From January 1964 on, the production played professionally at Paris’s Théâtre Récamier. This represented a chance for the critics and public to discover the little-known Polish author, who had just returned to the Continent after twenty years in Argentina.
Although he was unable to see the production, Witold Gombrowicz followed the debate that centered around it attentively, considering his polemic with Lucien Goldmann, a French intellectual and critic who was very well-known at the time, and who attended the production each night with his students.
Sweden is another country in which Witold Gombrowicz’s work has found prestigious support: Alf Sjöberg and Ingmar Bergman. The former directed The Marriage in 1965, a year after Ivona, Princess of Burgundia; this contributed to Gombrowicz’s renown and his promotion as a candidate for the Nobel Prize in Literature.
From the 1970s, it is on German stages that Gombrowicz is most frequently performed.
The Marriage became part of the repertory of the Comédie Française with Jacques Rosner’s 2001 production.
Witold Gombrowicz was banned in Poland from 1958 on. His theater debuted on Polish stages in 1974, when Rita Gombrowicz authorized its production, all while preserving the work from Communist censorship.
Since then, Witold Gombrowicz has become the most-performed Polish playwright, with The Marriage as his most popular play in Poland.
In 1974 in Warsaw, with a production of The Marriage directed by Jerzy Jarocki at Teatr Dramatyczny, that Gombrowicz’s great career in Polish theater began.
Jerzy Jarocki has directed the greatest number of plays of Gombrowicz’s, of which six have been full-scale productions of The Marriage, and of which many have been productions of fragments of the text with students of Warsaw and Kraków’s theater academies.
Another great name in Polish theater, Jerzy Grzegorzewski, was also fascinated by Gombrowicz’s work. He directed two productions of The Marriage, one at Wrocław’s Teatr Polski in 1976 and one at Warsaw’s Teatr Narodowy in 1998.