|Madame Helena Modjeska|
Life on the 19th century theatrical circuit, before the days of the motion picture and television, was strenuous and demanding. Bozenta accompanied Modjeska as she and her acting company traveled for nine grueling months each year by railroad, steamship, and horse-drawn vehicle. She played not only in the great theatres of New York and London, but also in the makeshift halls and "opera houses" of rural America.
Although she never lost her Polish accent, Modjeska became America's most distinguished Shakespearean actress of the 1880's and 1890's. She played twelve Shakespearean parts in this country in addition to other classic and contemporary roles. In 1883 she appeared in America's first professional appearance of Ibsen's "A Doll's House." She was admired for her high artistic ideas and for her positive influence upon the American theatre of her day. Throughout her American career, Modjeska made periodic return voyages to her native Poland for theatrical tours and visits with friends and family. The old city theatre in Krakow is now named in her honor. A current exhibit in the theatre museum celebrates her career and the 150th anniversary of her birth in Krakow.
From 1888 until 1909, Helena Modjeska was a
much-loved pioneer resident of Orange County, California. After her death,
the north peak of Saddleback Mountain was named Modjeska Peak. The portion
of Santiago Canyon in which she and her husband lived is now called Modjeska
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