New Polish theatre article: post-Grotowski in Wrocław

I have a new article online now in Biweekly.pl. It’s about the 2012 Summer Seminars at the Grotowski Institute and Teatr Pieśn Kozła (Song of the Goat Theatre)’s new piece, “Songs of Lear” (Pieśni Leara).

Late September in Wrocław. The old tree in the courtyard of the White Stork Synagogue still has its leaves, but they are turning brown. I’m back in town for the second year of the Summer Seminars, a series of English-language lectures on performance organised by the Open University of Research of the Grotowski Institute. O.U.R. director and Jagiellonian University Professor Dariusz Kosiński will be delivering one week of the lectures. His focus this year is the maverick theatre director Jerzy Grotowski (1933-1999) himself.

Grotowski’s “poor theatre” ideology called for performances without unnecessary trappings; in his later work, some of those trappings included the audience and the theatre itself. In the beginning, he reimagined Polish dramas in conjunction with recent history, such as Wyspiański’s Akropolis set in a concentration camp, through almost nothing but the actors’ bodies. His performers were his instruments, and he manipulated them, through rigorous training and prolonged ensemble work, to his – and their – fame. Later in life, Grotowski’s self-proclaimed departure from theatre and his turn towards ritualistic explorations of song and movement only increased his mystique.

You can read the whole thing here.