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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

The actor’s deepest calling

Theatre – through the actor’s technique, his art in which the living organism strives for higher motives – provides an opportunity for what could be called integration, the discarding of masks, the revealing of the real substance: a totality of physical and mental reactions.

This opportunity must be treated in a disciplined manner, with a full awareness of the responsibilities it involves. Here we can see the theatre’s therapeutic function for people in our present day civilization. It is true that the actor accomplishes this act, but he can only do so through an encounter with the spectator – intimately, visibly, not hiding behind a cameraman, wardrobe mistress, stage designer or make-up girl – in direct confrontation with him, and somehow instead ofhim.

The actor’s act – discarding half measures, revealing, opening up, emerging from himself as opposed to closing up – is an invitation to the spectator. This act could be compared to an act of the most deeply rooted, genuine love between two human beings – this is just a comparison since we can only refer to this emergence from oneself through analogy. This act, paradoxical and borderline, we call a total act. In our opinion it epitomizes the actor’s deepest calling.
Jerzy Grotowski
Towards a Poor Theatre, 1968

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