Idealism, Horror, Cynicism Redefining “theatre”


Grotowski’s “Poor Theatre”

±Poor = only consisting of two elements: actors and audience


Grotowski, cont’d.

± Acting: ±Actors sacrifice self to audience through deep personal penetration (“Holy” theatre) ±Body is an “obedient instrument” capable of performing these spiritual acts ±Actors cannot be conscious of their own body while moving/performing; sounds must be made without thought intervening ±Cannot be done half-heartedly, just like therapy; it’s difficult, but worth it ±A goal: collective (ensemble) productions ±A trusting environment is essential ±Training: as early as possible (<14, before psychic formation); at least 8 yrs; ideally amateur


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Grotowski, cont’d.

± Audience: ±should have genuine spiritual needs and the need to self-analyze ±not a theatre to relax in ± Uniqueness of theatre: ±Film/TV cannot replicate the closeness of the living organism or the ecstasy of liveness ±Must “attack the core of the collective subconscious” to tap into experiences we feel in our blood


Theatre Trends, 1960s ±Further stagnation of Broadway and commercialization of off-Broadway ±Birth of “Off-Off-Broadway” movement with theatres such as Ellen Stewart’s Café La MaMa Club and groups like


The Living Theatre (USA/Europe, 40s-present)

± Creation of spouses Julian Beck and Judith Malina ± Influenced by Artaud and Brecht, very confrontational ± ‘60s work removed all barriers with audience, wished to increase audience’s political perceptions ± Important works: ±The Brig (‘63), which re-created the repetitive and senseless routine of a day in a Marine Corps prison ±Mysteries and Smaller Pieces (‘68): eclectic piece treating elements like the pursuit of money and the effects of Napalm


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Pinter’s The Homecoming (1965)

1. What makes Pinter’s dialogue style unique, interesting, and/or difficult for the reader/actor? 2. What about the play’s content could have been groundbreaking and/or revolutionary for the 1960s?


Environmental Theatre (Richard Schechner’s 6 “axioms”:)

1. Considers theatre to be a series of related transactions (performers, audience, elements)— all dynamic and interactive, not fixed and static 2. All the space is used for performance and audience— giving up fixed seating and carefully-defined space


Environmental Theatre (Richard Schechner’s 6 “axioms”:) 3. Theatre-events can take place in a totally transformed space (one we create) or in a “found” space (one we negotiate with) 4. Focus is flexible and variable— embracing multi-focus and local-focus 5. All prod. elements speak in own language 6. Text need be neither starting point nor goal; there may be no text at all


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1960s-70s saw re-emergence of THRUST spaces ARENA spaces (not in vogue since (not in vogue since Medieval Shakespeare’s time) era)


Introduction of the ROCK MUSICAL

Hair! (1968) Jesus Christ Superstar (1970)


The Open Theatre (USA, 1963-73; Joe Chaikin) ± More of a workshop theatre ± Infl. by Grotowski’s “poor theatre”: few physical elements, wearing rehearsal clothes, large open space ± Explored aspects of theatre that distinguish it from film/TV: direct human contact & its constantly changing components ± Drew heavily on “role playing” and “games” theories of human behavior (i.e. that reality constantly shifts as people take on and discard roles in relation to changing context) ± Known for (‘66, Megan Terry), about the horrors of the war 12