directed by Jerzy Grotowski
Friday, December 10, 2004 - Sunday, December 19, 2004
Friday, Dec. 10 at 7 PM
Jan Hus Presbyterian Church
351 east 74th Street at First Avenue
Sunday, Dec. 19 at 7 PM
The Cathedral of Saint John the Divine
Amsterdam Avenue and 112th Street
New York, NY
Tickets: $10 suggested donation; doors open 15 minutes prior to the presentation
The Polish Cultural Institute is pleased to call attention to a local though multi-national theatrical initiative having deep roots in the traditions of contemporary Polish theatre in general and especially in the work of Jerzy Grotowski and the Polish Theatre Laboratory.
Thanks to a Kosciuszko Foundation grant in 1977, Matt Mitler, originally trained in Humanistic Psychology (studying with R.D. Laing and Carl Rogers), spent most of one year getting hands-on exposure to the varied work of Ryszard Schechner, Tadeusz Lomnicki, Jozef Szajna, Tadeusz Kantor, and Krakow's Teatr Stu. Invited by Piotr Skrzynecki, Mitler and another young partner from New York were a sell-out hit at the Piwnica pod Baranami. The deepest impression of all came from his work with Jerzy Grotowski and a two-week paratheatrical workshop with Grotowski's lead performer, Ryszard Cieslak. Following the Kosciuszko Foundation tour Mitler stayed on for one semester teaching non-verbal theatre at Warsaw University's Institute of Psychology.
He has since then designed and directed more than 50 theatrical productions in the U.S. and Europe, with work presented at major international festivals, including Festival Mondial du Theatre and The Theatre of Nations. His 1995 film "Cracking Up" garnered many awards, including Best Film at the Venice International Film Festival Critic's Week, and People's Choice at the New York Underground Film Festival. He is also profiled in "Working on the Inside: The Spiritual Life Through the Eyes of Actors" by Retta Blaney.
Mitler founded DZIECI in 1997 (DJEH-chee, the Polish word for "children") as an international experimental theatre ensemble dedicated to a search for the "sacred" through the medium of theatre. DZIECI aims to vigilantly uphold Stanislavski's maxim: "We must love not ourselves in art, but art in ourselves." Towards this aim, the ensemble balances its work on performance with work of service through creative and therapeutic interaction with patients in a variety of institutional settings, which have included, among many others, Rockland Psychiatric Hospital and Cabrini Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation. DZIECI believes that by helping others, a profound healing effect is generated that not only serves the patient, but strengthens the ensemble's work. Artistic Director Matt Mitler sees in his choice of the name "Dzieci" a reflection of Grotowski's belief in the importance of the idea of "transmission", as well as a reflection of the ensemble's approach to "the play" as childlike in its openness, freshness, trust, and total commitment to "play".
In FOOL'S MASS, dedicated to Grotowski, a group of medieval village idiots are forced to enact the mass on their own because of the sudden death of their beloved pastor, who had given them shelter and taught them to sing. Buffoonery and comic audience participation are combined with sacred hymns and chants from the 8th through the 17th centuries in a work that travels from the ridiculous to the sublime.
For more information on DZIECI visit www.dziecitheatre.org
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