Grotowski - an attempt to retreat

Director: Tomasz Rodowicz
Music: Tomasz Krzyżanowski
Choreography: CHOREA
Stage design: Paweł Korbus, Tomasz Rodowicz
Light and sound: Tomasz Krukowski
Cast: Joanna Chmielecka, Julia Jakubowska, Małgorzata Lipczyńska, Janusz Adam Biedrzycki, Piotr Grabowski, Paweł Korbus, Tomasz Rodowicz
Premiere: 13.08.2010, 20.08.2010, Retroperspectives Festival, Art Factory in Lodz

 This project is both exciting and risky: ‘Jerzy Grotowski – the greatest revolutionary of the 20th century theatre’. I am coming back to Grotowski after so many years partly as a result of my protest against what has been done to this person and partly because I feel I owe him something – as a human being, but most of all as an artist. Having seen his Apocalypsis cum figuris in 1974, I decided I have to do theatre – with no possibility of retreat. Today I feel I need to confront his practical achievements, his thoughts related to the theatre, man and religion. I do not want to achieve it through more recollections, conferences or seminars but through the practical experience of people who want to deal with theatre and need to know if they are somehow related to him or not. Is this a closed door or maybe there is a scratch, a mark, anxiety, taint and heritage to be confronted in order to see if you are worth it or if you should stand up to it and reject it?

I started working on this project with people who, because of their age, had no contact with Grotowski, his para-theatrical and theatrical practice, the ‘art as a vehicle’ period, his actors or anyone who worked with him. What they knew about him is just as much as an average young person does – almost nothing. In most cases, they kept their distance. It was more of a moderate interest than fascination. For them, this man, who turned the world theatre upside down, was a strange, historical and archived cultural figure. It was a perfect starting point. Those people were ready, without any ideology or bias, to start checking who or what he was for them. Each actor/performer tried finding an answer to a question which was important to them, e.g. how does Grotowski’s image of an actor relate to the pro-egocentric education provided by modern theatre schools? Can you ‘refer’ to Grotowski while looking for your own personal identity? To what extent are his rules valid in a mental asylum? Can you create theatre/performance without wanting to be an actor? Most probably, any other group of people would ask different questions.

Through this project, I would like to find out if there is anything in his heritage which is meaningful for these young people. If that is the case, it must be confronted with their thinking about themselves, life, theatre and art, and they will face it themselves. My role is only to walk among them and tell them if I believe or not. Sometimes, I will add something, but I will not exaggerate, I promise.

Tomasz Rodowicz

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