chapter  15
8 Pages

Asian Theatre and Grotowski

Donald Richie
ByTHEATRE

Though Grotowski's Laboratory Theatre actually owes little to Asian theatres, one is nonetheless surprised by its apparent resemblance to those of India, China, Japan. Surprised, that is, until one realizes that Grotowski, deliberately refining theatre to its two salient parts - actor and spectator - has, at the same time, returned to ritual theatre. Although Grotowski has listed some influences-of the Indian Kathakali, of the Peking Opera, of the Noh, on his work, more important than any such is that in seeking to define what is distinctively theatre, what separates this activity from other categories of performance and spectacle, he and his actors have rediscovered ritual theatre for the West. It was, of course, never lost in the East. The aims of the Polish Laboratory and the classic theatres of Asia are consequently the same.