TRACING GROTOWSKI’S PATH
Year of Grotowski in New YorkPRESENTED BY THE POLISH CULTURAL INSTITUTE in NEW YORK
AND THE PERFORMANCE STUDIES DEPARTMENT,
TISCH SCHOOL OF THE ARTS, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY
Curator: Richard Schechner, NYU University Professor, TDR Editor
Associate Curator: Dominika Bennacer, NYU
Project Coordinator: Agata Grenda, Polish Cultural Institute
FEBRUARY 6 – JULY 13, 2009
Tracing Grotowski’s Path: Year of Grotowski in New York celebrates the work and legacy of world-renowned Polish theatre director Jerzy Grotowski.
Considered one of the most important and influential theatre practitioners of the 20th century, Grotowski revolutionized contemporary theatre in a number of ways. Beginning in 1959 with his early experiments and productions in the Polish town of Opole and subsequently with the Polish Laboratory Theatre in Wroclaw, Grotowski changed the way Western theatre practitioners and performance theorists conceive of the audience/actor relationship, theatre staging, and the craft of acting. This phase of his theatrical work, also called “poor theatre,” was the basis for one of the most influential theatre books of the 20th century: Towards a Poor Theatre (1968). After abandoning the “theatre of productions,” Grotowski continued to push the boundaries of conventional theatre, first in his paratheatrical work, and later in his performance research, which took him to India, Mexico, Haiti, and elsewhere, in search of the traditional performance practices of various cultures (Theatre of Sources, 1976-82). This work led Grotowski to his identification of particular abiding elements of ritual traditions (Objective Drama, 1983-86). In the final phase of his work Grotowski explored the far reaches of the performance continuum, which he traced from “Art as presentation” toward what has been called “Art as Vehicle.”
UNESCO has designated 2009 as “The Year of Grotowski” – 50 years after the founding of the Polish Laboratory Theatre and 10 after the death of the world-renowned Polish theatre director, master teacher, and, for many, a spiritual leader. In New York, we are particularly honored to have Prof. Richard Schechner, a true luminary and expert on Grotowski, agree to serve as curator of this multi-faceted celebration. Tracing Grotowski’s Path: Year of Grotowski in New York is the first in-depth and extensive presentation in the U.S. of the innovations and influence of Jerzy Grotowski in all the phases of his long artistic career. This broad spectrum of work is being presented through a variety of lectures, panels, films, and workshops organized by the Polish Cultural Institute in New York and the Performance Studies Department at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. It brings together some of the most important performance practitioners working in theatre today. These include early Grotowski collaborators, former Polish Laboratory Theatre actors, as well as theatre and performance scholars and historians from all around the world. By attending to aspects of Grotowski’s work usually overlooked or misrepresented, it will contribute to popular and scholarly discourses on one of the greatest artists and innovators of the 20th century.
Director, Polish Cultural Institute in New York