Segments in this Video

Jerzy Grotowski: Interview: Introduction: Part One (01:19)


James Macandrew explains that the Brooklyn Academy of Music, in collaboration with Madame Ninon Karlweiss, brought the Polish Laboratory Theater to the United States. One critic calls the company a "theater of witness." Margaret Croyden will interview Grotowski on this episode of "Camera Three."

Classifying a Style of Theater (05:09)

Grotowski does not strive to be different, modern, or avant-garde, but to confront his own life experiences. Other theaters try to gain subscribers and play for a larger audience. The Polish Laboratory Theater is more akin to writers, painters, and poets who only strive to find understanding in one's own life.

"Poor Theater" (04:23)

Grotowski renounced music, lights, a traditional stage, film effects, and mechanical effects in order to confront the actor's own experience. Total theater or rich theater destroys what is creative within the human being.

Ignoring the Playwright (06:41)

The Polish Laboratory Theater borrows stories from classical works but does not adhere to the plot or text. Grotowski explains that he uses author's texts to recreate the piece drawing upon the actor's own experience. His productions are a companion piece to the original text, answering its questions.

Tone of Productions (03:50)

The Polish Laboratory Theater used to stage only happy productions. In "Apocalypsis Cum Figurus" the company began with the theme of Auschwitz and explored human or historical experiences. Grotowski explains that there is a certain freedom or liberation to being completely unveiled on stage.

"Apocalypsis Cum Figurus" (03:31)

Grotowski feels that Christ driving the merchants out of the temple is a happy scene and serves as a pretext to the play's message. The Polish Laboratory Theater admires Dostoyevsky for his exploration of human nature. The production confronts the problems of daily life.

Religion and Theater (03:07)

There are no religious company members in the Polish Laboratory Theater, but the actors grew up in certain religious and national traditions. Grotowski explains that Thomas Mann was not a believer, but created "Doctor Faustus," which includes Christian symbolism. James Macandrew summarizes the episode. (Credits)

Jerzy Grotowski: Interview: Introduction: Part Two (08:22)

James Macandrew discusses that the Brooklyn Academy of Music, in collaboration with Madame Ninon Karlweiss, brought the Polish Laboratory Theater to the United States. Grotowski explains that his style of directing differs from choreography because it does not have fixed set of movements and variations. A critic would notice large differences in performance if he watched one of his productions ten times.

A Masochist for Body Training Technique (03:38)

Grotowski detests watching his disciples train actors. His form of training demands that individuals really work, and not imitate work. After actors start to adjust to the exercises that the Polish Laboratory Theater requires, they are no longer tired.

Vocal Training (05:29)

Grotowski believes that his exercises help confront and eliminate obstacles that block an actor from becoming liberated. There are no exercises that are strictly vocal, plastic, or physical, but a combination. Training becomes personalized after an actor realizes where his resistance lies.

Limiting the Audience (04:13)

The rehearsal room in Wroclaw comprises certain dimensions and can only accommodate a few audience members. The audience in Wroclaw purchases their tickets months in advance— Grotowski concedes it is more difficult in America. People will find a way to attend if they are interested in the same kind of life experience.

"The American Actor is Infantile" (04:10)

Grotowski explains he is not prejudiced against Americans because he is impertinent towards actors of all nationalities— all actors are infantile in some way. Within each culture, certain stereotypes and social masks dominate society. No one can tell another how to create.

Theater Patterned after Grotowski's in America (01:59)

Grotowski believes it possible that his style of theater could flourish in America. Croyden thanks the Polish Laboratory Theater for coming to America to perform. Macandrew summarizes the episode.

Credits: Jerzy Grotowski: Interview (00:36)

Credits: Jerzy Grotowski: Interview

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Jerzy Grotowski: Interview

DVD (Chaptered) Price: $129.95
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In this interview with Jerzy Grotowski, director of the Polish Laboratory Theater, Grotowski discusses his life and his views about theater.

Length: 57 minutes

Item#: BVL124257

ISBN: 978-1-63521-868-8

Copyright date: ©1973

Closed Captioned

Performance Rights

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Not available to Home Video customers.