The poor theatre: using the smallest amount of fixed elements to obtain Jerzy Grotowski: Ku teatrowi ubogiemu, „Odra” nr 9, s. 21– the best-known book on Grotowski’s experiments in theatre, published by Odin Teatrets Forlag in August Jerzy Grotowski is noted as the. Towards a Poor. Theatre. Jerzy Grotowski. Edited by Eugenio Barba. Preface by Peter Brook. Routledge. A Theatre Arts Book. New York.
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Jerzy Marian Grotowski Polish pronunciation: During the s, the company began to tour internationally and his work attracted increasing interest. As his work gained wider acclaim and recognition, Grotowski was invited to work in the United States and he left Poland in Although the company he founded in Poland closed a few years later inhe continued to teach and direct productions in Europe and America.
However, Grotowski became increasingly uncomfortable with the adoption and adaptation of his ideas and practices, particularly in the US. So, at what seemed to be the height of his public profile, he left America and moved to Italy where he established the Grotowski Workcenter in in Pontederanear Pisa. At this centre he continued his theatre experimentation and practice and it ;oor here that he continued to direct training and private theatrical events almost in secret for the last twenty years of his life.
Suffering from leukemia and a heart condition, he died in at his home in Pontedera. When the war came inthe strong familial bond that the family shared was severed. His mother was also of great influence, with her strong opinions on unity and community. Grotowski made his directorial debut in with the production Gods of Rain which introduced Grotowski’s bold approach to text, which he continued to develop throughout his career, influencing many subsequent theatre artists.
Later in Grotowski moved to Opole where he was invited by the theatre critic and dramaturg Ludwik Flaszen to serve as Director of the Theatre of 13 Rows. There he began to assemble a kerzy of actors and artistic collaborators which would help him realize his unique vision. It was also there that he began to experiment with approaches to performance training which enabled him to shape the young actors – initially allocated to his provincial theatre – into the transformational artists they eventually became.
Although his methods were often contrasted to Konstantin Stanislavskipor admired Stanslavski as “the first great creator of a method of acting in the jrzy and praised him for asking “all the relevant questions that could be asked about theatrical technique. This last production was the first complete realization of Grotowski’s notion of ‘poor theatre. This conceptualization had particular resonance for the audiences in Opole, as the Auschwitz concentration camp was only sixty miles away.
A film of the production was made with an introduction by Peter Brookwhich constitutes one of the most accessible and concrete records of Grotowski’s work. In Grotowski followed success with success when his theatre premiered “The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus” based on the Elizabethan drama by Christopher Marlowefeaturing Zbigniew Cynkutis in the title role. Foregoing the use of props altogether, Grotowski let the actors’ bodies represent different objects, establishing an intimate dynamic of relation between actors and spectators by seating audience members as the guests at Faust’s last supper, with the action unfolding on and around the table where they were seated.
Debuting inthis production is thought by many to be one of the greatest theatrical works of the 20th century. Ryszard Cieslak’s performance in the title role is considered the apogee of Grotowski’s approach to acting.
In one of his final essays, Grotowski detailed how he worked individually with Cieslak for more than a year to develop the details of the actor’s physical score before combining this central element of the performance with the work of other actors and the context of torture and martyrdom theatrf to the play.
The last professional production from Grotowski as a poro was in Entitled “Apocalypsis Cum Figuris” it is widely admired. Again using text from the Bible, this time combined with contemporary writings from authors such as T. Eliot and Simone Weil, this production was cited by members of the company as an example of a group ‘total act’.
Throughout this process, Grotowski can already be seen abandoning the conventions of traditional theatre, straining at the boundaries of what he later termed Art as presentation. Grotowski revolutionized theatre, and, along with his first apprentice Eugenio Barbaleader and founder of Odin Teatretis considered a father of contemporary gtotowski theatre.
Barba was instrumental in revealing Grotowski to the world outside the iron curtain. He was the editor of the seminal book, Towards a Poor Theatre which Grotowski wrote together with Ludwik Flaszenin which it is declared that theatre should not, because it could not, compete against the overwhelming spectacle of film and should instead focus on the very root of the act of theatre: Theatre – through the actor’s technique, his art in which the living organism strives for higher motives – provides an opportunity for what could be called integration, the discarding of masks, the revealing of the real substance: This opportunity must be treated in a disciplined manner, with a full awareness of the responsibilities it involves.
Here we can see the theatre’s therapeutic function for people in our present day civilization. It is true that the actor accomplishes this act, but he can only do so through an encounter with the spectator – intimately, visibly, not hiding behind a cameraman, wardrobe mistress, stage designer or make-up girl – in direct confrontation with him, and somehow groowski instead of” him.
The actor’s act – discarding half measures, revealing, opening up, emerging jrrzy himself as opposed to closing up – is an invitation to the spectator. This act could be compared to an act of the most deeply rooted, genuine love between two human beings – this is just a comparison since we can only refer to this “emergence from oneself” through analogy.
This act, poir and borderline, we call a total act. In our opinion it epitomizes the actor’s deepest calling. The year marked Grotowski’s debut in the West. It marked the first time many in Britain had been exposed to “Poor Theatre”. It appeared in English the following year, published by Methuen and Co.
Grotowski’s company made its debut in the United States under the auspices of the Brooklyn Academy of Music in the fall of Three productions were presented: In Grotowski published Holiday which outlined a new course of investigation.
He would pursue this ‘Paratheatrical’ phase until This phase is known as the ‘Paratheatrical’ phase of his career because it was an attempt to transcend the separation between performer and spectator.
Grotowski attempted this through the organization of communal rites and simple interactive exchanges that went on sometimes for extended periods, attempting to provoke in poor participants a deconditioning of impulse. The most widely circulated description pokr one of these post-theatrical events a “beehive” is given by Andre GregoryGrotowski’s longtime friend and the American director whose work he most strongly endorsed, in My Dinner With Andre.
Various collaborators who had been important to Grotowski’s work in what he termed his “Theatre of Productions” phase had difficulty following him in these explorations beyond the boundary of conventional theatre. Theatre critics have often exoticized and mystified Grotowski’s work on the basis of these paratheatrical experiments, suggesting that his work should be seen in the lineage of Antonin Artaud a suggestion Grotowski strongly resisted. In this period of his work, Grotowski traveled theaatre through India, Mexico, Haiti and elsewhere, seeking to identify elements of technique in the traditional practices of various cultures that could have a precise and discernible effect on participants.
Always a master strategist, Grotowski made use of his international ties and the relative freedom of travel allowed him to pursue this program of cultural research in order to flee Poland following por imposition of martial law.
He spent time in Haiti and in Rome, where he delivered a series of important lectures on the topic of theatre anthropology at the Sapienza University of Rome in before seeking political asylum in the United States.
His dear friends Andre jezy Mercedes Gregory helped Grotowski to settle in the US, where he taught at Columbia University for one year while attempting to find support for a new program of research.
Unable despite the best efforts of Richard Schechner to secure resources for his projected research in Manhattan, in Grotowski was invited by Professor Robert Cohen to UC Irvinewhere he began a course of work known as ‘Objective Drama’.
This phase of research was characterized by an investigation of the psychophysiological impact of selected songs and other performative tools derived from traditional cultures on participants, focusing specifically on relatively simple techniques that could exert a discernible and predictable impact on the thdatre regardless of her belief structures or culture of origin.
Ritual songs and related performative elements linked to Haitian and other African diaspora traditions tueatre an especially fruitful tool of research. During this time Grotowski continued several important collaborative relationships begun in earlier phases, with Maud Robart, Jairo Cuesta, and Pablo Jimenez taking on significant roles as performers and research leaders in the project.
He also initiated a longstanding creative relationship with American director James Slowiak and discovered the individual to whom he would ultimately pass responsibility for his lifelong research, Thomas Richards, son of legendary North Jeray black director Lloyd Richards. Jerzy Grotowski was among a jeezy group of actors and directors, including Peter Brook and Roy Hartwho sought to explore new forms of popr expression without employing the spoken word.
The means of verbal expression have been considerably enlarged because all means of vocal expression are used, starting from the confused babbling of the very small child and including the most sophisticated oratorical recitation. Inarticulate groans, animal roars, tender folksongs, liturgical chants, dialects, declamation of poetry: The sounds are interwoven in a complex score which brings back fleetingly the memory of all forms of language.
Grotowski and his group of actors became known in particular for their experimental work on the human voice, partially inspired by the work of Roy Hartwho in turn furthered the extended vocal technique initially established by Alfred Wolfsohn.
Alan Seymourspeaking of Grotowski’s production of Faustus noted that the performers’ voices ‘reached from the smallest whisper to an astonishing, almost cavernous tone, an intoned declaiming, of a resonance and power I have not heard from actors before’.
The use of non-verbal voice in these productions was part of Grotowski’s investigation into the use of the actor’s own self as the substance of performance, and his work was founded upon his belief in the ability of a human being to express physically and vocally aspects of the psycheincluding those parts allegedly buried in what Carl Jung called the collective unconsciouswithout recourse to words.
Both Grotowski and Hart compared the desired effect of the rehearsal process upon their actors, and the impact of their performances upon the audience to psychotherapydrawing upon the principles of Carl Jung and Analytical Psychology to explain the principles behind their creativity.
Grotowski said that theatre ‘is a question of a gathering which is subordinated to ritual: To achieve his aims, Grotowski demanded that his actors draw from their psyches images of a collective significance and give them form through the motion of the body and the sound of the voice.
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Grotowski’s ultimate aim was to effect in the actor change and growth, transformation and rebirth in order that the actor, in turn, could precipitate a similar development in the audience. For he believed that they ’embodied myths and images powerful and universal enough to function as archetypeswhich could penetrate beneath the apparently divisive and individual structure of the Western psyche, and evoke a spontaneous, collective, internal response’.
James Roose-Evans states that Grotowski’s theatre ‘speaks directly to the fundamental experience of each person present, to what Jung described as the collective unconscious Grotowski, like Hartdid not consider the dramatic text or script to be primary in this process, but believed that the text ‘becomes theatre only through the actors’ use of it, that is to say, thanks to intonations, to the association of sounds, to the musicality of language’.
Grotowski thus pursued the possibility of creating ‘ideograms’ made up of ‘sounds and gestures’ which ‘evoke associations in the psyche of the audience’. But, for Grotowski, as for Hart, there was, between the psyche’s reservoir of images and the bodily and vocal expression of that imagerya series of inhibitions, resistances and blocks, which his grotoqski exercises set out to remove.
Many of the acting exercises and rehearsal techniques developed theate Grotowski were designed to poro these personal obstacles, which prevented the physical and vocal expression of this imagery, and Grotowski yheatre that such a training process ‘leads to a liberation from complexes in much the same way as psychoanalytic therapy ‘.
InGrotowski was invited by Roberto Bacci of the Thewtre per la Sperimentazione e la Ricerca Teatrale to shift the base of his work to Pontedera, Italy, where he was offered an opportunity to conduct long-term research on performance without the pressure jerzj having to show results until he was ready. Grotowski gladly accepted, taking with him three assistants from Objective Drama research Richards, Jimenez and Slowiak to help in founding his Italian Workcenter.
Robart also led a work-team in Pontedera for several years, after which time funding cuts necessitated downscaling to a single research group, led by Richards. Grotowski characterized the focus of his attention in his final phase of research as “art as a vehicle,” a term coined by Peter Brook.
Grotowski drove Grofowski to take on increasingly greater responsibility and leadership in grotowskki work, until he was not only the primary doer in the practice of Art as Vehicle, but also its primal grotowskki and “director” if such a term can be accurately used of the performance structures created around these Afro-Caribbean vibratory songs, most significantly ‘Downstairs Action’ filmed by Mercedes Gregory in and ‘Action’, on which theagre began in and continues to the present.
Italian actor Mario Biagini, who joined the Workcenter shortly after its founding, also became a central contributor to this research. Although Grotowski died in at the end of a prolonged illness, the research of Art as Vehicle continues at the Pontedera Workcenter, with Richards as Artistic Director and Biagini as Associate Director.
Grotowski’s Will declared the two his “universal heirs,” holders of copyright on the entirety of his textual output and intellectual property. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Harden House,p. The Day That Is Holy,” trans. A Journal grrotowski Performance Studies 17, no. Harden House, pp. From Stanislavski to Peter Brook, 4th edn. Grotowski ed Towards a Poor Theatre.
University of Pennsylvania Press. Writings on Culture and Performance. The Theatre’s New Testament. Archived from the original on Archived copy as title link. Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Director. Retrieved from ” https: