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20 Pages

INTRODUCTION

The long and multifaceted creative journey of stage director and performance researcher Jerzy Grotowski stands out as one of the most original and eccentric careers in the annals of theatre history. Beginning his professional work in 1959 as artistic director of a sparsely subsidized theatre in the small Polish city of Opole, Grotowski rose to international prominence within ten years, and was hailed as one of the most influential figures in twentieth-century theatre.' An early pioneer in the field of environmental theatre, Grotowski's contributions to contemporary performance include a reconceptualization of the physical basis of the actor's art and an emphasis on the performer's obligation to daily training, as well as the exploration and refinement of a performance technique rooted in the principles of Stanislavsky's Method of Physical Actions.' The group Grotowski founded, the Teatr Laboratorium, developed in a distinctive performance style that emphasized the encounter between actor and spectator as the core of the theatrical exchange, stripping away extraneous elements of costume and scenery in order to focus on the actor's ability to create transformation by means of her/his art alone (Grotowski 1968).