chapter  12
Lisa Wolford: GROTOWSKI’S VISION OF THE ACTOR: THE SEARCH FOR CONTACT
ByLisa Wolford
Pages 16

JE R Z Y G R O T OW S K I I S A R G UA B LY one of the most influential figuresin the development of experimental theatre and actor training techniques over the past thirty years. Whilst only a relatively small number of people had the opportunity to witness the productions of the Laboratory Theatre or to undergo extended apprenticeship with Grotowski or the actors of his company, the techniques of performance training that these artists helped to develop have been widely disseminated through print sources as well as through workshops, productions and classroom teaching. ‘Unfortunately’, as Peter Brook observes, ‘this ultra-rapid diffusion has not always gone through qualified people, and around the name of Grotowski – like a rolling stone – have come to attach themselves, to graft themselves, all kinds of confusions, excrescences and misunderstandings’ (in Schechner and Wolford 1997: 379). In a somewhat more acerbic tone, Thomas Richards relates that he is

aware that many people have experienced ‘Grotowski workshops’ conducted by someone who studied with Grotowski in a session of five days, for example, twenty-five years ago. Such ‘instructors’, of course, often pass on grave errors and misunderstandings. Grotowski’s research might be mistakenly construed as something wild and structureless, where people throw themselves on the floor, scream a lot, and have pseudo-cathartic experiences. Grotowski’s connection to tradition, and his link to Stanislavski, run the risk of being completely forgotten or not taken into account.