Glasshouses

Author: 
Polak, Doda
Original title: 
Szklane domy
Genere: 
Drama
Characters: 
Adam – forester (32); Jaga – his wife, teacher (30); Cyryl – a historian and intellectualist (40); Ignaś – disabled (32) a local militia commander (40); a platoon leader (20) Time: January - February 1982
Action place: 
a ranger’s house in the forest, Mazury (North East of Poland)

Glasshouses is an intimate drama of a married couple who fell into a state of torpor. Their life is to change under the influence of a stranger‘s visit, who encourages the frustrated couple to speak out their complaints and sorrows which eventually brings their relationship to an end. Cyryl, a representative of political and intellectual opposition hides during the martial law in a ranger’s house in a forest. The hosts, Adam (a ranger) and Jaga (a village teacher of music) put him up very willingly. Cyryl is a nice change in their monotonous and somewhat boring life. The roads around are under deep snow, so vodka’s distillation, reading books and playing chess are the only form of entertainment. Jaga said goodbye to the ideas of bringing the light of knowledge to the village people long ago. She doesn’t like her profession, the village kids and their parents, and remains in a sort of splendid isolation. The only person she doesn’t feel disgust towards is a disabled boy – a talented musician who plays around at wedding parties. Meanwhile, Adam gets drunk on a regular basis accusing his wife of not giving him a child. The tension of danger coming from outside is felt. They are aware of the militia and army searching for Cyryl. The overwhelming frustration bursts out putting the wife and the husband against each other. Jaga becomes Cyryl’s lover ready to run away with him. 

Bored with empty winter days, Cyryl tries to chop the wood. Wounded foot starts to swell. The case is urgent and medical help is needed immediately. A doctor called by Adam brings neither help nor medicine. The more frustrated he is, the more he drinks, finding relief in accusing his wife of all misfortunes. He feels like a failure in comparison with Cyryl who shares the same intellectual level with Jaga. What he says under the influence of alcohol he would not say in a sober state. A suspicion about Jaga and Cyryl’s affair results in raping his wife. In the morning Jaga succeeds in bringing medicine for Cyryl, who feels guilty of breaking the couple’s peace. He still wants to believe that Adam is a noble and good man, so he does not give Jaga any promise or pretext for their future. He calls militia instead and informs them about his place of hiding. Jaga’s forgiveness for Adam is of great importance for him. He wants good spirit and harmony in the community of people who share same ideas for the future of Poland. To his high moral standards Jaga opposes her disbelief in common goodness.