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By Stephen Wangh

"The actor will do, in public, what's thought of impossible." whilst the popular Polish director Jerzy Grotowski begun his 1967 American workshop with those phrases, his scholars have been surprised. yet inside 4 weeks they themselves had skilled the "impossible."

In An Acrobat of the Heart, teacher-director-playwright Stephen Wangh unearths how Jerzy Grotowski's actual workouts can open a pathway to the actor's internal creativity. Drawing on Grotowski's insights and at the paintings of Stanislavski, Uta Hagen, and others, Wangh bridges the distance among rigorous actual education and functional scene and personality strategy. Wangh's scholars supply candid descriptions in their struggles and breakthroughs, demonstrating easy methods to rework those notable classes right into a own trip of creative progress. brave and compelling, An Acrobat of the Heart is a useful source for actors, administrators, and academics alike.

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Additional resources for An Acrobat of the Heart. A Physical Approach to Acting Inspired by the Work of Jerzy Grotowski

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In 1970, at the height of his international fame, he stunned the theater world by declaring, “We live in a post-theatre age. What is coming is not a new wave of theatre, but something that will take the place occupied by it” [Burzynski, p. 101]. So saying, Grotowski turned to the creation of “holidays,” para-theatrical rural retreats in which he invited nonactors to experience the “active culture” of the artist. ” For this experiential research, Grotowski invited shamans and teachers of ritual from all over the world to lead his students in a quest for “those elements of the ancient rituals of various world cultures which have a precise and therefore objective impact on participants” [Wolford, p.

63]. The problem with Delsarte’s method was that it tried to prescribe a fixed vocabulary of movements for each human emotion, as if emotional expression could be codified in a gestural dictionary. And although Delsarte’s system worked for some (notably the American actor Steele MacKay), it led others into stereotyped and melodramatic gesticulation, devoid of the very “heart” that Delsarte had sought to restore. It was just such empty, “external” acting that Konstantin Stanislavski witnessed as a young man on the Russian stage, and that he himself adopted when he began acting.

The enigmatic man in the blue suit, they said, was Jerzy Grotowski, the famous Polish director. The younger man was Ryszard Ciesślak, the leading actor of Grotowski’s Polish Laboratory Theatre. And we students should feel honored that we were to be in Grotowski’s first American workshop. After the introductions, the dignitaries left (though Schechner remained to observe the workshop), and Grotowski began to speak to us. He spoke in French with quiet intensity, his words translated by a woman who sat by his side.

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