An Acrobat of the Heart. A Physical Approach to Acting by Stephen Wangh

By Stephen Wangh

"The actor will do, in public, what's thought of impossible." while the well known Polish director Jerzy Grotowski all started his 1967 American workshop with those phrases, his scholars have been shocked. yet inside of 4 weeks they themselves had skilled the "impossible."

In An Acrobat of the Heart, teacher-director-playwright Stephen Wangh unearths how Jerzy Grotowski's actual workouts can open a pathway to the actor's internal creativity. Drawing on Grotowski's insights and at the paintings of Stanislavski, Uta Hagen, and others, Wangh bridges the distance among rigorous actual education and sensible scene and personality method. Wangh's scholars provide candid descriptions in their struggles and breakthroughs, demonstrating the right way to remodel those striking classes right into a own trip of creative development. brave and compelling, An Acrobat of the Heart is a useful source for actors, administrators, and academics alike.

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Additional resources for An Acrobat of the Heart. A Physical Approach to Acting Inspired by the Work of Jerzy Grotowski

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Flaszen, pp. 305, 316] Grotowski was also worried that others might misinterpret his work. He perceived that those who studied with him frequently became enthralled by the physicality of the work and lost sight of the deeper acting values. During a workshop in Denmark in 1968 Grotowski was heard to complain: [The] American work was too mechanical, the creative work depended too much on techniques foreign to American sensibility. [Grotowski] criticised all the groups present for using his exercises without the images to support them, reducing them to acrobatics, to zero.

Some people who have worked together in the past chat with their old friends, but most of the students in this class are strangers to each other and sit silently, waiting for the class to start. When I enter the classroom, the guitarist finishes his phrase with a flourish and puts his instrument away. I sit down on the floor and call the group together in a circle. This is a “transfer track” class, for students who have spent the past two years studying at other acting studios and have chosen to transfer into the Experimental Theatre Wing.

3 BRIDGING THE GAP Today, in the year 2000, Grotowski’s directorial legacy is still very much alive. His innovations have spawned thousands of experiments in textual deconstruction and environmental theater. Yet his remarkable actor-training work has made only minor inroads upon more traditional acting techniques. A few teachers, including Zygmunt Molik of the original Polish Laboratory Theatre, continue to give workshops in physical acting, but in spite of its transformative power, Grotowski’s approach to actor training has not proliferated.

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