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Theoretical Foundations of Grotowski's Total Act, Via Negativa, and Conjunctio Oppositorum The Journal of Religion and Theatre Vol. 4, No. 2, Fall 2005
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Statement of Principles - Jerzy Grotowski
1933–99, Polish stage director and theatrical theorist. Grotowski was founder and director of the small but influential Polish Laboratory Theatre (1959). He propounded a “poor theatre,” which eliminates all nonessentials, i.e., costumes, sound effects, makeup, sets, lighting, and strictly defined playing area, in an effort to redefine the relation between actors and the audience. Late in his career (1986) he opened the Workcenter in the village of Pontedera, Italy, where his ideas about theater are still explored, actors are trained in his methods, and an abstract song and movement composition called Action is frequently performed. See his Towards a Poor Theatre (tr. 1968); studies by T. Burzynski and Z. Osinski (tr. 1979), T. Richards (1995), and L. Wolford (1996); L. Wolford and R. Schechner, ed., The Grotowski Sourcebook (1997).Towards a Poor Theatre (Theatre Arts (Routledge Paperback)) by Grotowski 978-0878301553
The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. Copyright © 2001-05 Columbia University Press.
- 13. Grotowski's Laboratory Theatre
The Director and the Stage: From Naturalism to Grotowski
Book by Edward Braun; Holmes & Meier, 1982 [questia]
JERZY GROTOWSKI Methodical Exploration (1967) * Twentieth-Century Theatre: A Sourcebook Book by Richard Drain; Routledge, 1995 pp.277-
In our opinion, the conditions essential to the art of acting are the following, and should be made the object of a methodical investigation:a To stimulate a process of self-revelation, going back as far as the subconscious, yet canalizing this stimulus in order to obtain the required reaction,
b To be able to articulate this process, discipline it and convert it into signs. In concrete terms, this means to construct a score whose notes are tiny elements of contact, reactions to the stimuli of the outside world: what we call “give and take”,
c To eliminate from the creative process the resistances and obstacles caused by one’s own organism, both physical and psychic (the two forming a whole).
Jerzy Grotowski (b. 1933), Polish director, founded his Theatre Laboratory in 1959. From research of the kind suggested here, a small number of productions issued, and it was these, first taken outside Poland in 1966, which electrified the theatre world, and established Grotowski in the eyes of many as its new prophet and teacher. The rigorous training and performance disciplines of his actors contrasted decisively with the other major challenge of the time—that of the Living Theatre, who, arriving in Europe in 1964, were attempting to de-inhibit large audiences. Grotowski’s group always played to tiny audiences, and eventually he lost interest in playing to audiences at all. From the early 1970s he began increasingly to pursue his interest in human encounter in other ways, via paratheatrical projects, and has worked since to develop a transcultural Theatre of Sources’. For a full account, see Jennifer Kumiega’s, The Theatre of Grotowski, London, Methuen, 1985. The Theatre Laboratory finally disbanded in 1984.
By 1968 he had written a book, Towards a Poor Theatre, where Grotowski challenged the idea that theatre should compete with TV and film - instead, he believed that it should return to its simple root; an actor in front of spectators. Though the rest of the theatrical experience was important, it was not necessary and by stripping away all that is unnecessary in theatre what is left is a stripped and vulnerable actor. He began to scrap entire sets and costumes, favouring only a plain black set and actors in plain black rehearsal clothes during rehearsals; he wanted to make sure that complete control over the body and voice was achieved through a series of strenuous and rigorous exercises. He did not completely disregard all other elements of theatre; in public performances he used lighting, sets and costume, but he wanted to make sure that the focus was on the actor and not the images - that was a role of cinema.
Achieving a Grotowskian aesthetic means that the actor has engaged both himself and the audience in a revelation that is spiritual and almost psychic; the aim is for everyone to find something from within. The actor has to be highly prepared for his art; he can do this by, rather than learning something, taking away the barriers that might prohibit that. An actor's performance should eliminate his resistance to impulse and psychic process - a true Grotowskian actor acts with complete impulse, making his body react to something as soon as it is thought of. The actor's body must create all that is needed within the play; after this is accomplished, additional props may be used but they should not be necessary. The subject matter should present extreme actions that emerge from powerful artworks, be they classical or modern, that illuminate social taboos such as mass-murder, losing freedom, suicidal depression and so on.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grotowski + http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerzy_Grotowski ***
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