Polish stage designer, painter, stage and managing director of puppet theatres. Member of Cracow’s Teatr Niezależny Tadeusza Kantora (Tadeusz Kantor Independent Theatre) during World War II, Ali Bunsch appeared in 1944 as an actor in Powrót Odysa (Return of Ulysses) by Stanisław Wyspiański. After the war he attended the Studio Teatralne (Theatrical Studio) at the Stary Teatr in Cracow (Kraków) and the Academy of Fine Arts where he studied painting and scenography, graduating in 1952. He launched his career with the Groteska theatre in Cracow in 1945 where he served as its stage designer from 1947 to 1948.
Working with Władysław Jarema, Ali Bunsch learned theatre art and, working under the artistic direction of Henryk Ryl at the Arlekin theatre in Lodz (Łódź) as art chairman (1949-1951), he learned the diverse crafts of puppetry. He headed Miniatura in Gdansk (Gdańsk, 1952-1961), which under his leadership became one of the most interesting puppet theatres in Poland. He went on to work with the majority of Polish puppet theatres, particularly with the puppet theatres of Słupsk, Wałbrzych, Warsaw’s Guliwer, and the actors’ theatre of Gdansk and the lyric theatre of Gdynia.
Ali Bunsch’s most notable achievements in the theatre as stage designer were: Henryk Ryl’s Sambo i lew (Sambo and the Lion, 1950); Bo w Mazurze taka dusza (For the Plucky Spirit of the Mazurian, 1962); Jan Ośnica’s Złoty klucz (The Golden Key, 1965); Ludomir Róźycki’s Pan Twardowski (1968); Słowo o wyprawie Igora (The Speech of Igor’s Expedition, 1973); and Lucjan Rydel’s Betlejem polskie (A Polish Bethlehem, 1981).
Ali Bunsch produced over one hundred and seventy stage designs for puppet theatres and more than one hundred for actors’ theatres. His sets for the puppet stage demonstrate his broad interests in tradition and folklore, in historic and national themes, and for the creation of the theatre space he often referred to the architectural design of the szopka (the Nativity scene). Ali Bunsch’s puppets, predominantly rod puppets, are notable for their simplicity of design, the integration of form and the rich colouring of the costumes inspired by folk art or period costumes.
- Sych, H. Ali Bunsch. Dokumentacja działalności [Ali Bunsch. Documentation of His Work]. Vol. 30 of “Lalkarze. Materiały do biografii” series. Ed. M. Waszkiel. Łódź, 2001 (with a bibliography).