Word up! Iranian actor spreads word of one of Poland's theatrical greats with first ever translations into Persian

This is the first time works by Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz (pictured) have been translated into Persian. Public domain

Plays by Polish writer Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz have been translated into Persian for the first time – by an actor who found time to work on the project while in home quarantine.

Commonly known as Witkacy, he was born in Warsaw in 1885, the son of painter.

In addition to his work as a writer, he became known for his plays, poems, art works, photography and writings on philosophy and art theory.

Iranian stage actor and director Ali Shams found time to work on the translations while in quarantine due to the coronavirus epidemic.Ali Shams

He died on 18 September 1939, committing suicide when he heard that the Soviet Union had attacked Poland the previous day.

Witkacy’s legacy has lived on through his visual and written works, which have been translated into many languages.

Now his plays have been translated into Persian by Iranian stage actor and director Ali Shams, who found time to work on the translations while in quarantine due to the coronavirus epidemic, which has spread globally since the start of the year.

Shams has translated three plays by the Polish writer including his 1919 piece “The Pragmatists”.encyklopediateatru.pl

According to Shams, this is the first time works by Witkacy have been translated into Persian.

“It is quite a big surprise for me that no book or article by this influential theatrical figure of the 20th Century has been published in the country,” he said, referring to Iran.

“Fortunately, I had this chance to work on the books during the home quarantine,” he added.

In addition to his work as a writer, Witkiewicz became known for his plays, poems, art works, photography and writings on philosophy and art theory.Public domain

Shams translated three plays by the Polish writer: “The Pragmatists” (1919), “Country House” (1921) and “The New Deliverance” (1920), which were completed shortly after Poland regained independence in 1918 after World War I.

He translated the plays into Persian from the Italian versions, rather than from the original Polish.

According to Shams, the works can help readers learn more about Witkacy, as well as about 20th Century theatre more generally. 

Witkiewicz died on 18 September 1939, committing suicide when he heard that the Soviet Union had attacked Poland the previous day.Public domain

His plan is to have the three plays published as a single book.

For readers in Iran who might not be familiar with the Polish writer’s life and work, he will introduce Witkacy in an article in the book’s introduction.