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Towards a Burning Method: how might the contemporary performer build on the legacy of Grotowski's Total Act?

Stawman-Tuka, Magdalena (2023) Towards a Burning Method: how might the contemporary performer build on the legacy of Grotowski's Total Act? Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent,. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.101596) (KAR id:101596)


Towards a Burning Method is a practical-theoretical investigation in the context of the contemporary theatre practice of Jerzy Grotowski's ideas, particularly the Total Act from the Theatre of Productions period. The study employs a practice of confrontation with Grotowski's ideas rather than identification, and text and practice are inseparable, interpenetrating each other. The method of confrontation (which is one of Grotowski's ideas) means, in the context of my research, a dialogue which through its dynamics creates a performative situation, stimulates the deepening of knowledge, and seeks its own answers. The resulting performance Burning Method - Four Lectures on Conditional Love is also integral to the theoretical reflections, both representing and containing Grotowski's ideas and my response to them. Other practical activities include video notes of process, classes with students and workshops. Oneof the important results of the research is to broaden the understanding of what performance is, what kind of forms it takes in relation to the Total Act.

The thesis consists of four chapters. Chapter One introduces the cultural-historical context of the emergence of the Total Act, while the following chapters are a guide to understanding the Act in practice. The final chapter is entirely devoted to my practical activities through a dialogue on contemporary performance, its lineage of origin and projective reflections for the future. A reference point or dialogue partner on contemporary theatre is mainly Grotowski's book Towards a Poor Theatre but also Artaud's The Theatre and its Double. The research has helped me

understand what performance work might result from thecontinuation of a distinctly masculine Polish Romantic tradition, and what new possibilities emerge from my perspective as a female performer and theatre-maker. In reading Grotowski (and confronting it in practice) I discover the potential for creative freedom, with the rigour of attention to the execution of ideas. At the same time, working with video projections I verify my thinking about the performer's body and space by finding another dimension of expression in the image in relation

to the audience. I also believe that actor training from this tradition has no temporal, cultural or other limitations as its essence is the search for the living impulse in the performer's body.

Summing up the research is an opening for further explorations revealing the potential and currency of Grotowski's ideas for today.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Allain, Paul
Thesis advisor: Varakis, Angeliki
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.101596
Uncontrolled keywords: Grotowski, Total Act, Polish theatre, acting craft, contemporary performance
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of Arts
SWORD Depositor: System Moodle
Depositing User: System Moodle
Date Deposited: 08 Jun 2023 10:10 UTC
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2023 08:43 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Stawman-Tuka, Magdalena.

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