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Week 3

The Influence of Jerzy Grotowski

We’ll start this week looking at Poland – a country that became part of the Soviet Bloc. Theatre post-War was, according to Olga Śmiechowicz:

In 1949, pursuant to directives from Moscow, Socialist realism was
introduced in Poland as an official trend compulsory in all fields of art.
What is interesting is the fact that the main task of Socialist realism was
defined as presenting a reality which did not exist. It was the reality to
which (according to party ideologists) the entire society should aspire.

Smiechowicz, Olga. Polish Theatre after the Fall of Communism: Dionysus Since  ’89. Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publisher, 2018.

And yet, within Communist Poland, Jerzy Grotowski formed the Theatre Lab experimented with new approaches to theatre that would prove influential worldwide. In this Crash Course Theater History video you’ll learn a bit about his work as well as Augusto Boal who we will talk more about at another point.

Read an excerpt from Towards a Poor Theatre which can be found in Chapter 37 (p. 301-306) in Theatre and Performance Design. Routledge, 2010.

Listen to a brief interview with Grotowski

The following are examples from a training session held with members of Grotowski’s Theatre Lab in Denmark in 1972.

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