Listen to a conversation between a student and a theater professor.
Hi, Professor Jones.
Hey, didn't I see you at the performance of Crimes of the Heart last night?
Yeah... actually my roommate had a small part in it.
Really? I was impressed with the performance- there sure are some talented people here!
What did you think?
[was not impressed with the play or the acting performances] You know, Beth Henley's an OK playwright; she's written some decent stuff, but... it was a little too traditional, a little too ordinary... especially considering the research I'm doing.
Oh, what's that?
On the Polish theater director Jerzy Grotowski.
Grotowski, yeah, that's a little out of the mainstream,pretty experimental.
That's what I wanted to talk to you about. I had a question about our essay and presentation.
Yeah, some of these ideas, uh, Grotowski's ideas, are really hard to understand,they're very abstract,philosophical-and,well, I thought the class would get more out of it if I acted out some of it to demonstrate.
Interesting idea,and what happens to the essay?
Well, I'll do the best I can with that, but supplement it with the performance-you know, bring it to life.
All right... but what exactly are we talking about here?
Grotowski, as I'm sure you know, had several phases in his career.
Right. Well, I'm mainly interested in his idea from the late 1960s... Poor theater, you know, a reaction against a lot of props, lights, fancy costumes, and all that...so, it'd be good for the classroom.
I wouldn't need anything special.
Yes. I'm sure a lot of your classmates are unfamiliar with Grotowski- this would be good for them.
Right, and this leads... I think there's overlap between his Poor theater phase and another phase of his,when he was concerned with the relationship between performers and the audience.
I also want to read more and write about that.
You know, I saw a performance several years ago...it really threw me for a loop.
You know, you're used to just watching a play, sitting back...but this performance, borrowing Grotowski's principles, was really confrontational-a little uncomfortable.
The actors looked right in our eyes, even moved us around, involved us in the action.
Yeah, I hope I can do the same when I perform for the class.
I'm a bit worried, since the acting is so physical, that there's so much physical preparation involved.
Well, some actors spend their whole lives working on this...so don't expect to get very far in a few weeks...but I'm sure you can bring a couple of points across.
And, if you need some extra class time, let me know.
No, I think I can fit it into the regular time for the presentation.
OK. I think this'll provide for some good discussion about these ideas, and other aspects of the audience and their relationship to theatrical productions.