Jerzy Grotowski on the notion of poor theatre
The Polish director Jerzy Grotowski defines his theory of "poor theatre": the Theatre that values the body of the actor and its relation with the spectator and does away with costumes, decor and music. The interview is punctuated with extracts from a rehearsal of the show Evangile.
Jerzy Grotowski (1933-1999), producer, teacher and the Polish Theatre director. He trained as an actor in Krakow in the early 1950s before studying production. In 1962 in Opole, the Theatre of 13 Rows that he had managed with Ludwig Flaszen since 1959 became the Laboratory Theatre and moved to Wroclaw in 1965.
He developed the concept of "poor theatre", where the play and actor's technique, inherited from Stanislavski, focused on costumes, decors and lighting. The relationship between player and spectator, which is alternately invited to dine inDoctor Faustus(based on Marlowe in 1963), or to bear witness toThe Constant Prince's ordeal (based on Caderon in 1965), always holding a central role. The actor's research is based on body work that aims to rid themselves of automatic reactions in order to get to the character's essence within themselves.
From 1970, Grotowski abandoned production to concentrate on researching and showing his art throughout the world. In 1986 in Pontedera, Italy, he created a experimental centre which still bears his name to this day.