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Christopher Vened Szwaja
Christopher was born in Poland in 1952. He began his
professional theater career at the age of 20 working as a dancer in the Wrocław
In 1974-81, he was a mime working for the Wroclaw Pantomime Theater -
the world famous avant-garde theater founded and directed by Henryk
He performed leading roles there, often cast
in the parts of gods, monsters, and lovers. The dual role of Guest-Dionysus
in the production of Arriving Tomorrow brought him stardom. He also distinguished
himself in the roles of Medium in the production of The Menagerie of Empress
Filisa, Monster in the production of Mr. Twardowski, Paris and Homunculus
in the production of Dr. Faust, Satyr in the production of Hercules
and Hebe, and Galahad in the production of King Arthur and the Knights
of the Round Table.
Christopher regularly toured internationally with the
Wroclaw Pantomime Theater and participated in the most prestigious
theater festivals in the world.
In 1977, he was awarded the Brown Spire in Wroclaw for
the best performer.
While on tour in Germany, Christopher defected to the West when Martial Law
was declared in Poland on December 13, 1981.
He stayed in West Berlin for about two and a half years
where he worked as a movement instructor. His classes had a considerable
following. Students were coming to attend them from all over Europe.
He also choreographed performances in Transformtheater.
In 1983, he founded Impulse – Movement Theater,
whose members were his students, and produced Sechs Uhr Morgan, a choreodrama
inspired by Kafka’s story The Metamorphosis, in Kreuzberger Tanzfabrik.
In April 1984, he permanently immigrated to the United
States. He settled in Los Angeles, where he taught in acting studios
and choreographed performances in various theaters.
In 1985, Christopher was awarded the Los Angeles
Drama-Logue’s Critic’s Award for outstanding achievement in Theater
for choreography in the production of Voyage to Arcturus at the Odyssey
A few years later, in 1989, Christopher moved to Seattle and became the cofounder
and the director of Drama Studio in Seattle. There he focused on teaching
and exploring acting techniques. He taught Character Study, Scene Work,
and Movement for Actors classes. He also directed Private View By Vaclaw
Havel, and The Maids by Genet.
In 1994, Christopher returned to Los Angeles and taught
acting in UCLA and various other schools around the country.
In 2000, Christopher’s book In Character:
An Actor’s Workbook for Character Development was published by Heinemann.
In 2002, Christopher wrote his first biographical short story The Knife
in a Curiosity Shop Window (4,697 words.) He keeps writing short stories
In 2003, Christopher was the movement director for the production of Faust
at the Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles.
In the fall of 2007, Christopher directed Dracula at the North Coast Repertory
Theatre in Solana Beach.
In the end of 2009, Christopher finished writing the screenplay Gilgamesh,
which is based on the Sumerian epic of the same title.
In 2010, Christopher wrote a biographical play, An Interview with Myself.
Its first public reading/performance is scheduled for March 2012 in Seattle.
In the fall of 2011, Christopher was a speaker at a theatrical symposim
in Poland about Henryk Tomaszewski's Wrocław Pantomime Theatre. His 25 pages
biographical essay My First Pantomime that he presented at the symposium was published in the prestigious literary monthly Odra in March
In the fall of 2012, Christopher’s Theatrical Memoir: An Interview with Myself Part IV was published in the academic journal The Polish Review under the title Playing Dionysus.
In December 27, 2013, HUMAN IDENTITY A One Man Show Written and Performed by Christopher Vened opened at Co Ho Theater, Portland, Oregon.
In Januray 5, 2014, HUMAN IDENTITY A One Man Show Written and Performed by Christopher Vened premiered at The Lounge Theatres, Los Angeles.
Work in Progress:
Collection of short stories
A film production of Gilgamesh
A biographic play An Interview with Myself