Song of the Goat Theater
CHRONICLES: A LAMENTATION
West Coast Debut
Wednesday, October 12, 2005 - Sunday, October 16, 2005
Wed.-Sat. at 8pm
Sun. at 2pm & 7pm
Freud Playhouse, UCLA
Los Angeles, CA
Tickets: $35, 28, ($15 UCLA students), Tel: 310.825.2101
"Fiery journey back to the roots of theatre" - Marta Steiner, Theatre
Teatr Piesn Kozla - the Theater of the Song of the Goat - is a relatively recent offspring of the venerable avant-garde theater group, Gardzienice. It was founded in 1997 by Grzegorz Bral and Anna Zubrzycki, two disciples of Wlodzimierz Staniewski, the founder of Gardzienice, and key collaborators of his for many years. Staniewski, in turn, was a disciple of the legendary Jerzy Grotowski and a veteran of his Theater Laboratory. Like Gardzienice, the Song of the Goat develops its unique theatrical pieces from painstaking research into the music, dance, and rites of provincial places and ancient times. As with Grotowski, the work is also based on intensive ensemble work on voice and body movement, the collective creation of performance pieces, and the conducting of workshops for young and old.
The group's name was also the title of its first performance: "The Song of the Goat". The phrase is the literal meaning of the ancient Greek word for tragedy. Their performance, based on thorough research, was inspired by Euripides' The Bacchae and the music and dance of the Balkan folk tradition and the ancient Greek chorea, from an era of formal unity which saw the actor as someone equally capable of expression through song, dance, rhythm, movement, gesture, and the spoken word - i.e., a "polyphonic" actor. The Polish avant-garde theater of movement thus finds its contemporary inspiration in the ancient religious origins of theater. And the workshops offered by the actors of Song of the Goat lead through exercises in Coordination, Harmony, Polyphony, Rhythm, Dramaturgy, and Acrobatics to the development of a "singing body" - the body as melodic and rhythmical vibration.
The Song of the Goat's second collectively created performance is Chronicles - A Lamentation. It evolved through the group's two years of research into the varied traditions of lamentation, and is based in particular on the polyphonic lamentations they found in Albania, particularly along the Greek border. As they describe it, "These lamentations were sung during both funerals and weddings, during all kinds of events - everything was a lamentation. Moreover, these laments contained a very interesting division of voices. The names of these different voices opened up a surprising space for our theatre work. They were called: the voice that weaves (or perches), the voice that cuts, the voice that takes, and the drone (the voice that gives). For us, there was an immediate association with the structure of Greek tragedy. Is it possible that a tradition has survived which was itself the inspiration for Greek tragedy? This was our question." And then: "During our search for lamentation we touched on something which could be called the "physiology" of singing. If we assume that one of the functions of lament is to cleanse through weeping, it seems that lamentations are an extraordinarily cleansing tool."
The Song of the Goat troupe's performances and workshops have taken them throughout Europe and to the Far East . Their actor training methods are offered as an undergraduate course of the Theatre School at England's Manchester Metropolitan University , where graduate-level Theatre Studies offers an M.A. program in acting under Grzegorz Bral and Anna Zubrzycki, the practical part of which is conducted at the Song of the Goat's center in Wroclaw, Poland .
In October 2004 the troupe will participate in an international symposium in Aarhus, Denmark, called The Theatre That Dances, with lectures, demonstrations, and performances along with Théâtre du Mouvement from France, Augusto Omolú from Brazil, and Granhoej Dans and Odin Teatret from Denmark.
Since the group's founding in 1997, Bral and Zubrycki have annually organized soup kitchens for the homeless and hungry in Lublin and Wroclaw , serving 100-150 meals a day for the 4 months of winter.
For comprehensive information on Teatr Piesn Kozla in both Polish and English, visit www.piesnkozla.art.pl
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