Jerzy Grotowski's poor theater is an experimental idea which affects performers to go back to theatrical origins using the voice and body as the key production. Just like many avant-garde painters he strived to distance themself from the standard theatre conventions through other influences. Grotowski's main theatrical idea was depicted by the theatrical devices used throughout performance, such as lights, sound, sets, halloween costume and makeup; just how which theatre is portrayed on level was to contend with cinema and tv set which was perceived as Rich Theater. Grotowski argued that if theatre "can't be richer than the movie theater, then let it be while". (Grotowski, 1968, p. 41) Stripping the level of most its specialized and aesthetic parts leaves just the professional and the audience; this creates a more emphasised performance for the audience as almost all their left to watch is the performance its self applied. Throughout this essay, I am learning about how 'poor theatre' has impacted modern day theatre practice.
Grotowski became an enormous influence towards Peter Brook and through working together and learning about new exercises Brook learned steps to make "poverty an ideal" (Brook, 1996, p. 72) he noticed firsthand just how his methods works with actors:
"To verbalise is to complicate and even to ruin exercises that are clear and simple when suggested by way of a gesture and when executed by your brain and body as you. " (Brook, Grotowski, 1968, p. 13)
Grotowski believed that the professional should be totally aware of his own body making full use of gestures and cosmetic expressions, and the use of costume, makeup and sound is just a cover up covering what an professional can really produce. To help expand an actor's technique requires Intense physical training which Grotowski focused more on the body and expanding natural resonators. His exercises received very little instruction for an professional to interpret them in their own way. In modern day practice we can easily see how Grotowski's physical ideas of performance has already established its influence. Physical theatre communities such as DV8 has had a major impact through Grotowski's methods. Lloyd Newson who is the creator of DV8 describes physical theatre as a Grotowski based term:
"DV8 were one of the first teams in Britain to call their work physical theatre, which really is a Grotowski-based term" (Giannachi, and Luckhurst, 1999, p. 109)
Many physical theater groups work without money, in order to create their own surroundings and props with their own bodies, equally as Grotowski strived his stars to focus on a bare stage, physical theatre could be observed as a concept of poor theater.
Another of Grotowski's techniques of poor theater was the consciousness between the professional and audience romance, believing that theatre can exist minus the set, costume etc. but it cannot can be found without an audience. Grotowski required the actors to experiment with the way the audience are recognized:
"The stars can play among the spectators. . . the stars may build structures among the spectatorsthe actors may play among the list of spectators and dismiss them, looking through them. The spectators may be segregated from the stars -" (Grotowski, 1968, p. 20)
He experimented with the space, condition, and size of the audience trying to find a both a religious and spacial understanding for the audiences relationship with the celebrities. Most importantly this Grotowski presumed that an actor audience romantic relationship was essential, his methods and ideas of the relationship is now able to be perceived as environmental theatre. (Slowiak and Cuesta, 2007, p. 12) However Grotowski thought the goal of the performance can recognize the audiences involvement of the performance. Aswell as Grotowski, there are other professionals such as Brecht and Artaud whose influence was to break down the fourth wall; in modern day practice more theatrical organizations experiment with this. Organizations such as Thetre de Complicite and kneehigh started out to form through the eighties who established their performances with no fourth wall structure and full audience involvement.
One of Grotowski's major affects was Artaud, they both got ideas of how theatre should be depicted with symbolism, eastern theatrical and ritualistic senses. Grotowski used many oriental techniques throughout his exercises and workshops to be able to bring out the best of body activity:
"Also particularly revitalizing to me will be the training techniques of oriental theater" (Grotowski, 1968, p. 16)
His most undetermined pragmatic approach to eastern physicality was yoga which he used as the building blocks for his physical exercises. However he became significantly sceptical about the use of yoga throughout theatre and alternatively than overlook the yoga motions he designed them. In more modern day practices yoga is utilized between physical theatre organizations. DV8 in specific use yoga using Grotowski's exploration, where he insisted that the disposition after yoga is the one that sets you under leftovers; which generally damages the passion for manifestation:
"Grotowski called it 'an interior rest, an inexpressive equilibrium, a great recovery which ends all actions. '" (Callery, 2001, p. 27)
DV8's examination was also that yoga provided a new energy, but also that other physical activity such as aerobics also provided a different energy. They therefore learned their own means of physical exercise in order to find new potentials. (Callery, 2001, p. 27)
In summary, many modern-day theatrical groups and tactics all use forms of Grotowski's practices. Categories without money tend to form the dark box stripped theater in order to set-up poor theatre focusing mainly on body and cosmetic expressions. Physical theater companies also use the bare level in order to build their own props and landscape through body language and activity. Also the spectator and acting professional relationship can be seen through many of today's performances as well as other professionals work. Grotowski's physicality and experimental exercises can be seen through modern-day practice, but can only be portrayed through an actor's own discovery.