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Prosecutors launch probe into controversial play

An investigation has been launched into a controversial play which has been accused of offending religious feelings and inciting crime following its Polish premiere on Saturday, The Polish Radio reports.

A spokesman for a District Prosecutor’s Office in Warsaw said it would investigate public insults of objects of worship and inciting the public to commit murder in the play by Croatian director Oliver Frljić, called “The Curse”, which has been staged at Warsaw’s Teatr Powszechny.

The probe has been launched following media reports and public broadcasts of parts of the play, the spokesman added.

Oliver Frljić’s “The Curse” – an adaptation of Polish writer Stanisław Wyspiański’s 1899 play of the same name – explores the division of Church and state while also claiming it challenges self-censorship.

Scenes in the play show crosses – Christian religious symbols – used as guns, and insults directed at the late, Polish-born leader of the Church, Pope John Paul II.

It has also been accused of suggesting that an assassination should be carried out on the leader of Poland’s conservative governing party, Jarosław Kaczyński.

The show sparked criticism from politicians and church leaders. About a hundred nationalists gathered in protest outside the Warsaw theatre where it is being staged.

The theatre said that creative liberties are protected under Poland’s constitution, and that the play should be considered as a whole, suggesting that critics of the controversial scenes had taken them out of context.

The play is based on an 1899 drama about a drought in a small country town, which the local church leader said is God’s vengeance for the sins of the villagers.

But the villagers blame the drought on the priest, who has two children and lives with their mother. Wyspiański’s play was considered risqué when it was first performed.

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