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Towards a Poor Theatre

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Originally published in 1968, Jerzy Grotowski's groundbreaking book is available once again. As a record of Grotowski's theatrical experiments, this book is an invaluable resource to students and theater practioners alike.


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Originally published in 1968, Jerzy Grotowski's groundbreaking book is available once again. As a record of Grotowski's theatrical experiments, this book is an invaluable resource to students and theater practioners alike.

30 review for Towards a Poor Theatre

  1. 5 out of 5

    Paulina

    'So always avoid banality. That is, avoid illustrating the author's words and remarks. If you want to create a true masterpiece you must always avoid beautiful lies: the truths on the calender under each date you find a proverb or saying such as: "He who is good to others will be happy." But this is not true. It is a lie. The spectator, perhaps, is content. The spectator likes easy truths. But we are not there to please or pander to the spectator. We are here to tell the truth.'

  2. 5 out of 5

    Morgan

    In 1950s Poland, Grototwski pioneered the idea of a theatre laboratory as a place where theatre happens through a process of experimentation. This book reveals his experiments as a crux between what we see in contemporary theatre and the rich traditions of theatrical forms from all over the world. From the standpoint of the über-globalized 21st century reader, these experiments may seem less than novelcontemporary theatre and the yoga class happening down the street have a lot in common with In 1950s Poland, Grototwski pioneered the idea of a theatre laboratory as a place where theatre happens through a process of experimentation. This book reveals his experiments as a crux between what we see in contemporary theatre and the rich traditions of theatrical forms from all over the world. From the standpoint of the über-globalized 21st century reader, these experiments may seem less than novel—contemporary theatre and the yoga class happening down the street have a lot in common with what's going on in this book. But given the setting of Grotowski's work (post-war, Eastern Bloc Poland) the title of this book clues us in on the tools that he had. Whereas Brecht sensationalized the concept of "poor theatre" in his Threepenny Opera, Grotowski & Co. lived it. We're talking towards a poor theatre—who could spare the three pennies to even see it? Lucky for me my roomie had this book. Now I have three pennies to spend at the theater.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kaysy Ostrom

    This book had many beautiful pearls of wisdom for anyone interested in theatre. Grotowski is an inspiration for anyone who believes in theatre just as an artform in general. I believe every aspiring actor should read Grotowski's ten things: the final chapter of this book. However, if you are not into theatre you will.not.enjoy.this. there were some chapters I skimmed over because it was just lists of exercises that Grotowski did and no matter how interesting a list can be, I don't want to read a This book had many beautiful pearls of wisdom for anyone interested in theatre. Grotowski is an inspiration for anyone who believes in theatre just as an artform in general. I believe every aspiring actor should read Grotowski's ten things: the final chapter of this book. However, if you are not into theatre you will.not.enjoy.this. there were some chapters I skimmed over because it was just lists of exercises that Grotowski did and no matter how interesting a list can be, I don't want to read a book of lists. this is the first of many Grotowski books I have to read for my research paper. Luckily, I find him interesting. Unluckily, I don't really understand everything he talks about. Hopefully, this paper will turn out well. Until then, here comes more Grotowski reading!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Abraham

    Really gets down to thinking about theater and acting in holistic (why is that not spelled with a 'w'?) way. Its critiques of theater, and the piecemeal opulence of the modern, egocentric, and overdone theater hit the mark entirely. Anybody involved in theater should read this.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Adam Lauver

    The publicotropist in me just got smashed in the face by a Grotowski-shaped brick. God DAMN.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jon Catherwood-Ginn

    Outstanding read! Over time, Grotowski has developed this almost mythological mystique as an experimental theatre artist; consequently, many view his theories and techniques with dubiousness and reserve. "Sure, it worked for the Teatr Labortorium, but how the hell can I apply this stuff to my production of 'Guys and Dolls?'" True, what Grot. and Co. developed through their remarkably empirical studies of the actor's craft are largely unrepeatable. Well, the productions, that is. But it seems that Outstanding read! Over time, Grotowski has developed this almost mythological mystique as an experimental theatre artist; consequently, many view his theories and techniques with dubiousness and reserve. "Sure, it worked for the Teatr Labortorium, but how the hell can I apply this stuff to my production of 'Guys and Dolls?'" True, what Grot. and Co. developed through their remarkably empirical studies of the actor's craft are largely unrepeatable. Well, the productions, that is. But it seems that Grot's intention isn't to provide the means to recreate such works as "Akropolis" and "Constant Prince"--Grot's aesthetic is his own. If anything, "Towards and Poor Theatre" provides three things: a. Theory -- impassioned words on the actor's necessary societal role (actor as shaman, conduit for cross-cultural mythologies, etc.) and Theatre's unique attributes as an aesthetic form and the advantages found therein. b. Exercises -- well-detailed guides to unleashing the actor's voice through resonators and association games, poses and movement-etudes to develop the actor's physical dexterity and strength, etc. c. Production Notes -- "backstage" guides to the work behind some of Grot's most famous productions ("Akropolis," "Dr. Faustus," etc.) While I loved the essays for their savage sincerity and consideration of the actor's art throughout history, I found the "exercises" section pretty dry. I mean, how many times can you read about the "effectiveness" of a game in which actors run around pretending to be tigers? I don't doubt that these exercises are tried-and-true; it seems that Grot. did a lot to cut-down on the inevitable laugh-factor by instituting rigid rehearsal rules (absolute silence, moratorium on talking about others' work, etc.). In offering actors a incomparably personalized method--grounded in, above all else, discipline--Grotowski has produced a timeless source of inspiration and practical means to improving the sincerity of performance. If you haven't yet, grab this book!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Phillip

    I read this book en suite with Artaud's Theatre and Its Double and Brook's The Empty Space, all of which share certain theories of the purpose and goals of theatre. But of the three, this is by far my favorite. I think that what I liked most about Grotowski's book is the exactitude of his work compared to Brook and especially Artaud--one of the things I especially disliked about Artaud was that, in Grotowski's words, when Artaud "moves from description to theory however, he starts explaining I read this book en suite with Artaud's Theatre and Its Double and Brook's The Empty Space, all of which share certain theories of the purpose and goals of theatre. But of the three, this is by far my favorite. I think that what I liked most about Grotowski's book is the exactitude of his work compared to Brook and especially Artaud--one of the things I especially disliked about Artaud was that, in Grotowski's words, when Artaud "moves from description to theory however, he starts explaining magic by magic, cosmic trance by cosmic trance" (89). In a way there may be a purpose to this abstract description, but I found Grotowski's much more exact and scientific descriptions clearer and more useful. For Grotowski the entire purpose of his work was a (semi-)scientific examination of how the actor's art works. This goal contributes to a style where he lays out the goals of his methodology as clearly as possible, though he does sometimes still fall back into abstracts.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Alex Lee

    Interesting book. Here, Grotowski and company would have actors pull out parts of themselves, to call about aspects of who they are to express emotion rather than relying on props or other more expensive cues. This kind of pure expression of what theater is an articulation of the cut of what theater is; the exhibition of pure expression. I'm not very familiar with the genealogy of theater but this seems to be a kind of method in which we tool ourselves for automative action -- a very modernist Interesting book. Here, Grotowski and company would have actors pull out parts of themselves, to call about aspects of who they are to express emotion rather than relying on props or other more expensive cues. This kind of pure expression of what theater is an articulation of the cut of what theater is; the exhibition of pure expression. I'm not very familiar with the genealogy of theater but this seems to be a kind of method in which we tool ourselves for automative action -- a very modernist view that would have to occur from modernist purity. This is a very rational approach to theater.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Vanessa

    Grotowski's vision was of a bare bones theater - little in the way of costume, set, makeup or lighting - everything coming from the actor, with a great deal of participation from and interaction with the audience. If you have ever seen the film "My Dinner With Andre", there is a part where Andre describes taking part in one of Grotowski's theater experiences, which had a profound effect on him. While Grotowski's Poor Theatre may seem dated now it was revolutionary stuff at the time. A good read Grotowski's vision was of a bare bones theater - little in the way of costume, set, makeup or lighting - everything coming from the actor, with a great deal of participation from and interaction with the audience. If you have ever seen the film "My Dinner With Andre", there is a part where Andre describes taking part in one of Grotowski's theater experiences, which had a profound effect on him. While Grotowski's Poor Theatre may seem dated now it was revolutionary stuff at the time. A good read for drama students or anyone interested in theater theory/history.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Scott

    "I am the tiger...not you...I am going to eat you..." from the "Tiger Exercise" (177). I'm reading around this text, thrilled at much of what I find. I'm lazing in the chapter in which Grotowski teaches pupils how to use the seven different voice resonators in their body. So far I can only feel the chest, nasal, and occipital resonators at work. And it makes Emily look at me like I'm crazy because I'm humming and grunting around the apartment.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Llew

    Essential topic, but so much theatrical writing is pseudo-philosophy that it makes the reading a slog. Brock's Empty Space covers the topic in a much better way.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jon Chater

    Excellent and interesting. The whole roles of the actor and playwrights are changed. An inspirational book.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Christina knox

    this is one of the greatest books ever written.

  14. 5 out of 5

    David

    rereading -- towards a poor poetics? -- the power of post...?

  15. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    I've never had any personal experience with Grotowski's technique, but this book gave me as much of an understanding as one can have without actually doing it.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Eleni

    If you have any interest in theatre, especially physical theatre, this is your bible. This is one of those iconic books that changed theatre forever.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Gracie

    Jerzy Grotowski developed techniques for actors in the late '60's. He's a classic tortured artist philosopher. The real deal.

  18. 5 out of 5

    gieb

    Dulu pernah punya terjemahannya: Menuju Teater Miskin. Tapi sekarang entah di mana. Mau cari lagi. Ada info?

  19. 5 out of 5

    Fluffy Singler

    I don't necessarily think Grotowski's method is for me, but I really like some of his ideas and was very edified by reading this.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Padron

    i miss this.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ojo Taylor

    Strip it down to its bare elements.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Casey Crane

    I keep going back and looking through the quotes Ive written down by Grotowski that best summarize his work; but there are too many gems of wisdom. Ive realized from reading this book how infinite ALL people are- but artists (specifically actors) are the ones who willingly and truthfully pursue their unknown. Art is a ripening, an evolution, an uplifting which enables us to emerge from darkness into a blaze of light. Us artists are bad asssssssss I keep going back and looking through the quotes I’ve written down by Grotowski that best summarize his work; but there are too many gems of wisdom. I’ve realized from reading this book how infinite ALL people are- but artists (specifically actors) are the ones who willingly and truthfully pursue their unknown. “Art is a ripening, an evolution, an uplifting which enables us to emerge from darkness into a blaze of light.” Us artists are bad asssssssss

  23. 5 out of 5

    Pao Zapata

    Qué es teatro ? El teatro no es más que la relación entre un actor y un espectador. Grotowski, analiza la relación entre escena-público, muestra que el arte de la actuación consiste en desnudarse, liberarse de máscaras. Realmente no se necesita de ninguno artificio (maquillaje, vestuario) el actor utiliza sólo su cuerpo mostrando así su verdad interior. ¿Qué es teatro ? El teatro no es más que la relación entre un actor y un espectador. Grotowski, analiza la relación entre escena-público, muestra que el arte de la actuación consiste en desnudarse, liberarse de máscaras. Realmente no se necesita de ninguno artificio (maquillaje, vestuario) el actor utiliza sólo su cuerpo mostrando así su verdad interior.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Mohammad Ebrahimi

    من بهجای اینکه ببینم چی میگه اونجاها که داره خاطره تعریف میکنه یا یه نقل قول میگه رو بیشتر حال میکنم. ینی کاری ندارم تخصصی داره راجع به چی حرف میزنه. اون بخش تحلیلش از روی حرفای بقیه و زندگی رو دوس دارم. خیلی هم کمه این بخشا ولی خب لذتبخش. من به‌جای این‌که ببینم چی میگه اون‌جاها که داره خاطره تعریف می‌کنه یا یه نقل قول میگه رو بیشتر حال می‌کنم. ینی کاری ندارم تخصصی داره راجع به چی حرف می‌زنه. اون بخش تحلیلش از روی حرفای بقیه و زندگی رو دوس دارم. خیلی هم کمه این بخشا ولی خب لذت‌بخش.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Courtney

    Read for class.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ali

    یرژی گروتوفسکی لهستانی یکی از کارگردانان پیشرو تیاتر مدرن جهان است که با مکتب تیاتری اش به نام "تیاتر بی چیز" از دهه ی شصت قرن بیستم مشهور شد. از مشهورترین کارهای تیاتری گروتوفسکی و گروه کارگاهی اش در قرن گذشته "آکروپولیس" بر مبنای متون بر گرفته از کتاب مقدس است که بر روی صحنه ای نه چندان دور از اردوگاه آشویتس اجرا شد. "شکونتالا" بر اساس متنی از کالیداسا "اورفه" اثر ژان کوکتو "سوگنامه ی دکتر فاوستوس" بر مبنای نمایش نامه ی کرستوفر مارلو و اجرایی استثنایی که در آن تماشاگران در شام خداحافظی فاوستوس یرژی گروتوفسکی لهستانی، یکی از کارگردانان پیشرو تیاتر مدرن جهان است که با مکتب تیاتری اش به نام "تیاتر بی چیز"، از دهه ی شصت قرن بیستم مشهور شد. از مشهورترین کارهای تیاتری گروتوفسکی و گروه کارگاهی اش در قرن گذشته، "آکروپولیس" بر مبنای متون بر گرفته از کتاب مقدس است که بر روی صحنه ای نه چندان دور از اردوگاه آشویتس اجرا شد. "شکونتالا" بر اساس متنی از کالیداسا، "اورفه" اثر ژان کوکتو، "سوگنامه ی دکتر فاوستوس" بر مبنای نمایش نامه ی کرستوفر مارلو و اجرایی استثنایی، که در آن تماشاگران در شام خداحافظی فاوستوس، با بازیگران سر یک میز می نشستند، و بالاخره نمایش نامه ی "همیشه شاهزاده" با بازی "ریچارد چیشلاک"، هنرپیشه ی مشهور گروه، در بسیاری از شهرهای جهان اجرا شد، و از آن به عنوان یکی از بزرگ ترین اجراهای تیاتری قرن بیستم یاد می شود. "همیشه شاهزاده" یک اجرا هم در یکی از جشن های هنر شیراز، و اجرایی هم در باغ فردوس تهران داشت. نظریه ی گروتوفسکی در تیاتر، بر اساس نظریه ی "تیاتر بیومکانیک" از "مه یر هولد" بنا شده. در این نظریه اندام بازیگر بجای دکور، موسیقی و بسیاری عوامل تیاتری حتی نور و دیالوگ، بیانگر روح متن است. به عبارتی نمایش یک اثر تا حد ممکن با حرکات بدنی بازیگر. نظریه ی گروتوفسکی که در واقع نقطه ی پایانی بود بر اجراهای کلاسیک تیاتر، هم چنان در کارگاهی به نام "اودن تیاتر" در جنوب دانمارک، و توسط یکی از شاگردان مشهور گروتوفسکی به نام "اوژنی باربا" تدریس می شود و بسیاری از بزرگان تیاتر امروز جهان، دوره ای از بدن سازی و فراگرفتن اصول آن بر روی صحنه را در این کارگاه آموزش دیده اند.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Alexei

    Re-read this prompted by a feeling of kinship with Abramovic. Still find his complete lack of imagination downright infuriating, his eisegesis of Artaud, though I feel fortunate for his dedication to his craft, or at least his having been afforded the privilege of being able to exercise it. Next stop: multi-media semi-intuitive inter-subjective narrativistic experiential structuralism.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Karen Ceja

    Más que un libro para teatro, es una filosofía para aprender a liberar bloqueos y concebirnos como una totalidad unida a otras frecuencias. Muy interesante para quienes tienen algo que ver con las artes. Amplía la visión de las técnicas e interpretaciones en todo lo que hacemos para "encontrar lo contradictorio dentro de nosotros" y liberarnos de máscaras cotidianas, como lo menciona textual :)

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kari Barclay

    This book changed the way I think about theatre. In language ranging from the poetic to the scientific, Grotowski describes the artist's role in society and the importance of the actor-audience connection.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Paul Kelman

    A must read for every theatre professional and anyone interested in becoming an Actor or other theatre professional.

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