Grotowski’s Bridge Made of Memory
Considered one of the most influential theatre practitioners of the twentieth century, Polish director Jerzy Grotowski revolutionized contemporary theatre in multiple ways. Perhaps best known for his notion of ‘poor theatre’, Grotowski went beyond the confines of conventional theatre to systematically explore the possibilities of the human being in a performative context. In Grotowski’s Bridge Made of Memory, Dominika Laster analyses core aspects of Grotowski’s work such as body-memory, vigilance, witnessing, verticality and transmission, arguing that these performance praxes involve a deliberate blurring of the boundaries of the self and other.
This comprehensive study traces key thematic threads across Grotowski’s research, examining lesser-known aspects of his work such as performance compositions structured around African and Afro-Caribbean traditional songs and ritual movement as well as textual material from the Christian Gnostic tradition. As an active process of research and questioning conducted through the ‘body-being’ of the performer, Grotowski’s work represents a practical realization of the often highly theoretical and abstract discussions of one of the field’s main preoccupations: embodied practice as a way of knowing.
‘Offers a sustained critical analysis of key concepts in Jerzy Grotowski’s praxis and rhetoric that spans the entirety of his (and his successors’) work, one informed by close critical study; an impressive number of first-person interviews conducted in Polish, French, and English; and a nuanced understanding of Polish linguistic and cultural contexts.’ —The Drama Review
‘Grotowski's Bridge Made of Memory is well-researched, thoughtful, and engaging; it provides additional insights into the work and is a valuable addition to the literature.’ —Theater Journal
‘Dominika Laster provides a comprehensive analysis and lucid synthesis of several periods of Grotowski’s work around the theme of memory in the performer’s craft, which is ultimately seen as the “work on oneself.”’ —Modern Drama
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