Mrożek, Sławomir (slävôˈmēr mərôˈzhĕk) [key], 1930–2013, Polish dramatist and short-story writer. While working as a journalist and cartoonist for a Kraków newspaper, Mrożek began to write short stories, which were often satirical and macabre and marked by extreme brevity. His first collection, Słon (1957, tr. The Elephant, 1967) was an immediate success. In the late 1950s he abandoned journalism to write plays, the first of which, Policja [the police] (1958), was followed by eight short dramas. After leaving the Polish Communist party in 1963, Mrożek lived in Italy (1963–68), France (1968–89), and Mexico (1989–97). He later moved back to Poland, but spent his last years in France. His first full-length play and still his best-known work, Tango (1964, tr. 1968), continues to be performed throughout Europe. Mrożek's sharply comic plays, which mock the social and political life in Communist-ruled Eastern Europe belong to the Theater of the Absurd and create their effects through illusion, political and historic references, distortion, and parody.
See his Six Plays (tr. 1967), Vatzlav (tr. 1972), Three Plays (tr. 1981), The Emigrants (tr. 1984), and Alpha (tr. 1984); D. Gerould, ed., The Mrożek Reader (2004).