Jerzy Grotowski.

Essay by amydocherty87College, UndergraduateA+, September 2005

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Jerzy Grotowski was born in Rzeszow, Poland on August 11, 1933. In 1955, he graduated from the High Theatrical School in Cracow with a degree in acting. Soon after graduation, he went to study directing at Lunacharsky Institute of Theatrical Arts in Moscow. During his stay in Moscow (until 1956) he learned about new trends in theatre pioneered by leading Russian figures such as Stanislavski, Meyerhold and Tairov. After returning home to Poland, Grotowski took over the post of director in a local theatre, but in 1965, after moving to Wroclaw, he established and led a theatrical company - Laboratorium - which was in itself very innovative and an overwhelming influence of Grotowski's personality and future work.

His work in Laboratorium produced the Grotowski Technique, a method of education and training for actors. The technique has been explained as:

"A series of river-like movements that connect the actor to his body as a continuum of organic gesture, and how this roadmap of extended aliveness translates into text, and elicits an even deeper sense of truth and believability" and that "Understanding as a technique that "all the information is in the body" is invaluable for the actor to know".

It consisted of many exercises that emphasized control of body and voice. Grotowski revolutionised theatre.

He was a revolutionary in theatre because he caused a rethink of what theatre actually was and its purpose in contemporary culture. One of his central ideas was the notion of the 'poor' theatre. By this he meant a theatre in which the fundamental concern was the work of the actor with the audience, not the sets, costumes, lighting or special effects. In his view these were just 'trappings' and, while they may enhance the experience of theatre, he believed they were unnecessary to the meaning that...