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Polish play investigated for blasphemy, inciting violence

Associated Press logo Associated Press 2/22/2017
A person enters the ticket office of the Teatr Powszechny, a theater company, in Warsaw, Poland, Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017. Prosecutors opened an investigation Wednesday into a new play that alludes to murdering the country's most powerful politician and has sexual scenes involving the cross and an image of the late Polish pope, St. John Paul II. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski) © The Associated Press A person enters the ticket office of the Teatr Powszechny, a theater company, in Warsaw, Poland, Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017. Prosecutors opened an investigation Wednesday into a new play that alludes to murdering the country's most powerful politician and has sexual scenes involving the cross and an image of the late Polish pope, St. John Paul II. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Prosecutors in Poland are investigating a new theater production that alludes to murdering the country's most powerful politician and has sexual scenes involving the cross and an image of the late Polish pope, St. John Paul II.

Prosecutors said Wednesday they opened the investigation to determine if the play, "The Curse," offends religious feelings and acts as an incitement to murder. Those are crimes that can be punished with prison terms of two and three years, respectively.

The play, directed by Croatian director Oliver Frljic, debuted Saturday at Warsaw's Teatr Powszechny.

The politician named in the production is Law and Justice party Chairman Jaroslaw Kaczynski.

The Polish Bishops' Conference calls the play blasphemous and says the scenes involving the cross and John Paul II are "extremely painful" to people in predominantly Catholic Poland.

The theater warns in its synopsis of the play that it is satirical and includes sex and violence. The theater authorities say it does not advocate violence and that anyone who implies that is taking the scenes out of context.

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