Aniela Korzeniowska

The road from pre-World War II Polish Galicia to Inverness. Reinventing oneself as presented in The Tailor of Inverness by Matthew Zajac

The issue I would like to address here is how the brutalities and ideologies of war so very often lead to a shedding of identity and a re-inventing of oneself in a new world.

The play The Tailor of Inverness (2008) and then the auto/biographical book of the same title (2013) by Matthew Zajac bring home to us the complexities of identity and to what lengths people sometimes go to reject their origins and events from the past, re-inventing themselves in the process. Going one step further and looking more closely at the true, albeit still incomplete, story of one war survivor’s journey from the atrocities of war in Eastern Poland (now Ukraine) to Scotland – Inverness to be exact – we can see how the rejection of one life and past can result in the next generation’s overpowering desire to unearth this lost knowledge.

Wanting to know one’s origins and the resulting findings can be – and very often are – extremely painful, but it is this search for his own identity that led the Scottish-Polish-Ukrainian actor Matthew Zajac to dig as far as he possibly could into the life of his father, Mateusz Zając, the tailor of Inverness.

Aniela Korzeniowska, University of Warsaw, Poland