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Jerzy Grotowski

Updated: Aug 25, 2023

9 years ago, Jerzy Grochowski was born; he is perhaps the most outstanding Polish theatre theorist whose approaches and innovations have significantly influenced today's perspectives on world drama.

Inspired by Japanese Noh Theatre, Grochowski was renowned for his performative approach to theatrical art, challenging traditional notions of playwriting and performance while blurring the boundaries between actors and audiences. In his theatre, often referred to as the "poor theatre," the focal point of each performance was consistently the actor, with the body serving as the paramount prop, at times even the sole one.

He made his debut with Eugene Ionesco's "Chairs" in 1957 and soon after established the "Laboratory Theatre" in the city of Opole, where he further experimented with his theatrical concepts. He swiftly gained international renown and subsequently received invitations to the United States. However, after a period of time, he began to feel uncomfortable and chose to depart from America, relocating to Italy, where he founded the Grotowski Workcenter in 1985 in Pontedera, near Pisa. He continued his work in Italy, often staging theatrical performances in secrecy. In 1999, he passed away due to leukemia and heart disease.

To this day, he remains the foremost eminent theatrical theorist, with hardly any drama textbook in the world omitting mention of his work and ideas.

Here is an example of a Grotowski performance from his Laboratory Theatre:

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