Jerzy Grotowski Poor Theatre

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“We are seeking to define what is distinctly theatre, what separates this activity from other categories of performance and spectacle… our productions are detailed investigations of the actor-audience relationship.” Jerzy Grotowski Jerzy Grotowski (1933-1999) was a Polish innovative theatre director and theorist who has been a significant influence to theatre today. He was a significant innovator in the development of experimental, avant-garde theatre. Grotowski demands that theatre must actively seek out how it’s different from other forms of performance, such as television and film. He was influenced strongly by the work of other theatre director’s such as Constantin Stanislavski, Bertolt Brecht and Vsevolod Meyerhold. This essay will…show more content…
Grotowski encouraged his actors to understand the importance of the nature of portraying a role, and the relationship between the actor and the audience. The Laboratory Theatre took part in Grotowski’s concept of ‘Poor Theatre’. Poor theatre refers to a form of theatre which aims to achieve the essence of theatre, it eliminates all the distractions of theatre such as make up, costumes, lighting or sound effects to present a form of performance which is completely stripped down to its core. It is a performance style which strips itself of the excesses of theatre while emphasising and focusing more on the skill of the actor. The term ‘poor’ refers to this styles lack of theatrical props and excess. Grotowski attempts to distance theatrical elements from the performance. It is through laying theatre bare that he believes the performance can become deeply and intensely human. Poor Theatre is a non-commercial theatre, not many of Grotowski’s works from this period actually reached performance and those which did were performed before a small audience and often only once. In nineteen seventy-five Grotowski ceased all public performances after he became uncomfortable with the adaptations of his theory and…show more content…
He has an interest in myths and traditions, and wrote that through blasphemy we would be able ‘to cross our frontiers, exceed our limitations, fill our emptiness – fulfil ourselves.’ He implies that the actor and all to do with theatre must reject society’s traditions and clichés, to blaspheme. For Grotowski, blasphemy is when someone challenges the traditions and clichés of a society, which can be both cultural and religious, and tears them down. The example he provides for this is if a theatre company were to put on a performance based on American soldiers which was directed under Grotowski’s approach. The most commonly known image/myth of the American soldier is the hero, the protector of society. However the actual reality associated with the American soldier is much more complex, while the myth has grown from a seed of truth, there have been reports of brutality and rape among the soldier community. Grotowski believed that through the revealing of the other side/reality of the myth the actor provokes a response, and this revealing he refers to as
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