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Janusz Glowacki (1938 - 2017)

Corbis via Getty / Alessandra Benedetti

Janusz Glowacki (1938 - 2017)

Janusz Glowacki, the renowned Polish-born U.S. playwright and screenwriter whose “Antigone in New York” won a 1998 critics award, died Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, according to multiple news sources. He was 78.

In 1987, Time magazine hailed Glowacki’s “Hunting Cockroaches” as the best play of the year.

He received nearly two dozen awards for his literary works.


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Born Sept. 13, 1938, he was educated at the University of Warsaw. He started writing satirical short stories about cultural and social life in Poland during the 1960s and 1970s. He immigrated to New York City in 1981 after Poland’s communist government imposed martial law.

In 1994, his play “Antigone in New York” was nominated for the Charles MacArthur Award for outstanding new play. Four years later, it won a critics award when it was staged at a theater in Paris.

The play depicts the lives of homeless people, immigrants in New York’s Tompkins Square Park, a place that he told the Warsaw Voice was a “very cruel, disappointing, awful microcosm of the world because it’s a Puerto Rican alley, Polish alley, Ukrainian, Jamaican, Cuban. I spent a lot of nights and days in this park. Some were funny, some were nightmarish. I drank and talked with them, became friends.”
He also described the play as an emotional “love story actually.”

Glowacki penned the screenplay for Andrzej Wajda’s 1969 film “Hunting Flies” and co-wrote the screenplay for “The Cruise,” a favorite Polish movie that came out in 1970.

Glowacki is survived by his wife, the actress Olena Leonenko-Glowacka, whom he married in 2015, and his daughter, Zuza Glowacka. His first marriage, to Ewa Zadrzynska, Zuza's mother, ended in divorce; she also survives him.

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