"Modjeska! The Artist's Dream"
Written and performed by Ewa Boryczko
Ewa Boryczko is a native of Krakow, Poland. In 1990, after graduating from the Lyceum in Krakow, she came to study English in Chicago’s Truman College. She continued her education at Wright College, where she received her Associate of Art Degree. From 1992-1997, she worked as a model for Arlene Wilson Talent agency.
In 1998 she entered the acting program at Chicago’s Columbia College and in 2002 graduated with honors. While still in college, she collaborated with Oobleck Theater, writing and producing her short play entitled “Moth”.
From 1997-2004, she performed at local theaters in Chicago, working with Hermit Productions, Prop Theater, Chicago’s Cultural Center and Ping Chong Company from New York.
From 2000-2007, she wrote and directed several children’s plays and worked with over 400 kids and teenagers. In Chicago she helped establish a Youth Program, “Stop Violence” in collaboration with Polish-American Association. Currently she shares her time between Poland and the United States working in theater, commercials and modeling.
It all started in Chicago, in 1998, with a book “Memories and Impressions” the autobiography of Helena Modjeska, which I found at a local thrift store. Being from Poland, I of course heard of Helena Modjeska (Modrzejewska), but could not really tell much about this remarkable actress…So I read the book.
What an eye opener it was!
Helena Modjeska came to America in 1876 at the age 37, not knowing the English language. Within the first two years she conquered the American stage. With 250 roles and thousands of performances over the years, she was the unprecedented queen of the World’s Theater, setting high standards for many on stage as well as off stage. She always embraced freedom and showed compassion towards those in need.
Helena Modjeska inspired me so much that I made a promise to one day tell her amazing story.
A few years passed by…
Finally, in November of 2008, I visited Arden - Helena Modjeska’s Historical House in Santiago Canyon, California and four months later, on April 18th 2009, I presented there a short solo performance entitled “Helena”. This intimate performance was held in the gardens of Arden and marked the 100th anniversary of Helena Modjeska’s Death.
There I also met Kris Cieply, a long time enthusiast of the actress. For years he has been preserving her memory by collecting much of her memorabilia (pictures, reviews, books, publications, paintings, her personal objects, etc) and sponsored research on this subject.
We decided to join forces and a few months later the play “Modjeska! The Artist’s Dream” was born.
David Miezal photos