Puppets and live performers enact an enigmatic tale of early World War II in "King Executioner," the newest creation of Czechoslovak-American Marionette Theatre (http://www.czechmarionettes.org) written and directed by Vit Horejš. The play is loosely based on "When you are a King, You will be an Executioner" ("A Jak Krolem a Jak Katem Bedzies," 1968) by the Polish magical realist novelist Tadeusz Nowak (1930-1991).
The novel, which has never been published in English, is an allegorical tale of Polish peasant life in the early days of World War II. The book unfolds like a 20th century folk tale, narrating a farm boy's bumpy journey to manhood. The boy goes to fight with the partisans after the German invasion and his patriotic duty compels him to kill two neighbors he's known all his life. As he faces decisions about life and death for others, his story becomes a parable on the complex truths of existence and dignity.