Grotowski’s Empty Room: A Challenge to the Theatre by Paul Allain (editor) Seagull Books, September 2009
Jerzy Grotowski (1933–99), considered one of the
most important and influential theatre practitioners of the 20th century, was a
Polish stage director, theatrical theorist, and founder and director of the famous
Polish Laboratory Theatre. Most of Grotowski’s theater-making took place in
this and similar small theaters and studio spaces, and as a result one of his
central fascinations was the actor’s work within the context of an empty room.
The essays in Grotowski's Empty Room analyze how Grotowski’s
explorations in the theater continue to challenge dramatists and directors.
The contributors to this volume reflect with special insight
on how theater scholars and practitioners can further Grotowski’s work and how
his legacy will be developed in the theater. Among the contributors are Leszek
Kolankiewicz and Zbigniew Osinski, his close collaborators; Marco de Marinis,
Franco Ruffini, and Fernando Taviani, scholars who have followed Grotowski’s
works from the 14 years he spent in Italy; and Swedish filmmaker and writer
Marianne Ahrne and director Eugenio Barba, who reveal the strong impression
Grotowski left on all those who met him and express the challenge of those who
must now work in the empty rooms he has left behind.
Paul Allain is Professor of Theatre and Performance at the University of Kent,
collaborated with the Centre for Theatre Practices “Gardzienice” from 1989 to
1993 and published the book Gardzienice: Polish Theatre in Transition (1997).
He co-edited the Cambridge Companion to Chekhov (2000) and his book The
Art of Stillness: The Theatre Practice of Tadashi Suzuki was published by Methuen
(2002) and Palgrave Macmillan, USA
(2003). Routledge published his Companion to Theatre and Performance,
co-written with Jen Harvie, in early 2006.
Allain was a member of the documentation team for and a partner in the EU
funded project 'Tracing Roads Across' with the Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowski
and Thomas Richards, 2003-2006, and he is currently researching the legacy of
Grotowski’s work through the AHRC-funded British Grotowski Project, which will
culminate in an international conference and a series of publications in 2009.
He has recently received an “Outstanding Services to Polish Culture" Badge
of Honor from the Polish Minister of Culture and National Heritage. He is also
collaborating with the MoscowArtTheatreSchool on a two-year