Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Announcing the Next Non-fiction Title: The Maska Dramatic Circle by Phyllis Zych Budka

Maska actors in a play Krewniak z Ameryki, 1935

The third book in our series of non-fiction studies of Polish and Polish-American history and culture is dedicated to a group of talented amateurs that formed their own theatrical group in Schenectady, New York, and for a decade made an important contribution to local culture. 

The Maska Dramatic Circle: Polish American Theater
in Schenectady, New York (1933-1942) 
By Phyllis Zych Budka

ISBN 978-0-9963981-4-5 (paperback)

ISBN 978-0-9963981-5-2 (eBook – EPUB format)

The Maska Dramatic Circle took is name from the Polish word for "Mask" and was able to stage over 50 different plays in its years of existence, from 1933 to 1942.

The book, written by Phyllis Zych Budka, the daughter of two prominent Maska members, Sophie Korycinski Zych and Stanley Zych (the authors' parents), the book discusses, in the author's words:

"Maska Dramatic Circle, this unique group of young people, mostly first generation Polish Americans, who contributed so much to the cultural life of their community in Schenectady, New York, between 1933 and 1942.  The Maska members were multitalented, hardworking and full of fun.  Their world was completely bilingual, with plays in Polish, a newsletter in both English and Polish, and newspaper articles in both the local English newspapers as well as the Polish ones." 

Cover of the Maska Buletyn with Stanley Zych, 1938

The volume will include a detailed year by year account of the Maska Dramatic Circle history, with quotes from local community papers, such as the Schenectady Gazette and Gazeta Tygodniowa, and photographs from the scrapbook documenting this unusual artistic story, and family history.

Two versions of the book will be published, a paperback trade, and a ePub electronic book.
The title is expected to appear in April 2016.

Cover of the Maska Buletyn with Sophie Korycinski, 1938

The previous non-fiction titles about Polish and Polish American history are:

  • A Romantic Century in Polish Music - Studies Edited by Maja Trochimczyk: A collection of scholarly essays about the history of Polish music in the 19th and 20th centuries by eminent European music historians: Magdalena Dziadek, Martina Homma, Krzysztof Rottermund, Krzysztof Szatrawski, Maria Zduniak, and the editor, Maja Trochimczyk. The essays discuss such disparate issues as the Wroclaw visits of the violinist, Karol Lipinski, a history of his violins, Henryk Wieniawski's virtuosity, the reception of Wagner in Poland, the career paths and mindsets of Polish women composers of the 19th century, the biography of Feliks Nowowiejski, Ignacy Jan Paderewski's inspiration with the Tatra Mountains and Podhale folklore, and other issues.

  • Across the Atlantic: The Adamowicz Brothers, Polish Aviation Pioneers by Zofia Reklewska-Braun and Kazimierz Braun: During the summer of 1934, two Polish amateur-pilots, Joe (Józef) and Ben (Bolesław) Adamowicz, who immigrated to the US more than twenty years earlier, flew over the Atlantic on a single-engine plane Bellanca. Their trip took them from New York to Warsaw; they were the first Poles to do so. They became instant celebrities, favorites of the journalists, photographers, and the public on both sides of the Atlantic. Alas, their triumph was short-lived, followed by a fall from grace, to imprisonment and bankruptcy. This richly illustrated book brings to life their forgotten story. Written by a historian, journalist and educator Zofia Reklewska-Braun and director, writer, scholar, and author of over 50 books, Dr. Kazimierz Braun, this book was originally published in Poland in 2011.

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