Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Thoughts on Grotowski

Instant message from Paris - July 24, 2003

i had some thoughts in the middle of the night in my sleep, so i got up and wrote them down

i thought of the work of grotowki, what did he find at the end of his death?

grotowski opened the new branch i can not find the better word now, not a new genre, it could be still the theater genre, but different branch

i think that it is the work, it is the character of the work, the reason why they are careful to open it up, not because it is sacred or in process, that is what the work requires,

i have been thinking of the korean traditinal singing a lot

in korean, we learn the traditional songs by orally, only oral passing is accepted, still now, nobody can change it, it is nation's agreement through the tradition

any country that has this oral passing tradition will not surprise by it,

but, songs can be passed orally because it is songs, but how about theater? how can we pass? and what to pass?

theater is instant art work in the form, there can not be existed the theater tradition, never ever, only we can read or watch through films about it, but there is no way to pass the theater work, is it really? is there any way to pass the theater tradition? or not?

passing the theater tradition,,, this was the big key for grotowski in the time when he was dieing with his sickness,

grotowski thought a lot, passing the theater work, but how? and what?

stanislavski, where is his work? who has passed in stanislavski work?

now what we have is the books

that is why so many interpretations can exist of his work, because now, nobody saw his work

we can say theoratically of his tradition in theater, but it is very light, rarely done well,

so, grotowski thought how to pass the theater work (or whatever we, he call his work) pass in practical way, in practical way was the key for grotowski, that is why he did not spend much time to write books at the end of his life,

he spent his most of the time to work with richards, because of the practical work that is what grotowski wanted,

like now, not many people saw constance price, acropolis con fugurim, so we have only the myth or gossip of those work, there is no real tradition of grotowski theater work

and i watched constance prince throught the film, was still good, but so, how i can do it now then?

even you watched those works, but how can you do it?

that was the big question for grotowski,

the article that i asked you, grotowski last writing in the magazine, he wrote it in the article

that is why i asked you to find it, i thought that maybe grotowski wrote some hint what he found how to do, if he had found at that time;

but anyway,

so, the songs and dances can be passed on through people

the oral tradition can exist in the songs and dances, but how about the theater? richard caislak would ask us to do what he did? or we copy the constance price as possible as we can? is it passing the theater work?

in theater, it is not possible

passing the work by oral, in practical way, it does not work in theater genre,

all what i am talking about is what i have thought, raymon, i really do not know what grotowski had questioned,, all what i am saying to you is all my qestions, ok? do not misunderstand please,

but in the arts, there should be some way of passing the work, must be, otherwise the work will be the beginning and starting all the time,

and that happens in theater in reality very often,

theater company has done the same mistake over and over again, very slow improvement in theater genre

so, how about songs and dances with action? if theater is a total art in the form as we say it,

and if the action can be carried by songs and dances or movements, then theater might have a hope to pass the tradition,

then we do not have to study stanislavski; the work of century ago, we can go to the next step, if,,, if theater tradition can be passed,, if there is a way to do it,,

now we had grotowski who tried to go to the next step from stanislavski,

but nobody knows who is going to the next step after him,

who is going to find how to do the theater work such as the constance prince again,

maybe a few centuries later,,

so, he wanted to find how and what to pass in the genre of theater

he studied the songs and dances which we call as the tradition work

how the korean traditional songs can pass down centuries and centuries and still now, it does not die,


why people want to learn those old songs in present time and why people want to watch those old songs which they know every story already again and again?

in korea, we have only 5 songs if i divide them in big, but one song runs for hours and hours,

but we know all the stories and sometimes we know some parts of melodies, and why we still want them?

so, maybe the songs and dances can give me what it has, what is the power undieing,,

that is what grotowski studied in those countries where he stayed for a long time before his death

richards said that not all the traditional songs can be used

it has to be free from the limited regional area, so, if the song has too much ethnic and regional restrict,,,, it must be free from it,

and the second, the song must function as a tool for inner action and not all the traditional songs can do bring the inner action,

this two things are the very important hint to understand the work

if the song has pretty wide effect regionally (grotowski does not mean the geographical region, more cultural and the life style or force or tradition, that kind of division, richards talked about it in his book details)

and can carry the tradition(or power of life, the message to human beings,,,)

then the inner action can occur,

that is the very important point where grotowski work goes towards theater in genre rather than staying in the songs and dances,

so, his last work is the under the genre, theater,

but the korean traditional songs, it is the under the genre, music (or singing)

we do not call it as a theater, some people has rooted back the korean traditional songs are the beginning of the theater though, but still itself is the singing genre

so, in order to understand the work of grotowski, the inner action is the key, at least to me,

because i know the traditional songs and dances in my culture, but not the theater, or inner action which makes it as the grotowski work essence

whatever the tradition brings us, if we could understand it, its power of life, its message for human beings, its development philosophically for human beings,

then we could use the songs and dances to bring those essence in the present time, and the inner action occurs which is individulaly different, but there is songs and dances so, we still could pass down the work, this is revolutionary,

this is revolutionary in the genre of theater, while we learn the songs and dances, we do not stop there because we go to theater not singing or dancing,

in order to go to the theater, the inner action is required and the work is meant for it,

inner action, this is the big key,

even though it is different individually so, we can not pass down what i did to other people,

but not the inner action, we pass down the songs and dances that will bring the inner action to the individuals who are learning those songs and dances,

that is why grotowski was very careful to select the songs,

he had to find the right songs which means that will work for doers at that time such as richards or mario

but after his death, they are still select the songs very carefully and sometimes composed by them, as long as they understand the process, they could add the missing part from the ancient songs

and those ancient songs that have been aliving and passing down for almost humans history,

can be cought by the doers because the songs must have something to have been passing down so long time, it must have something,

so, here the concept of time can be presented,

richards said that this work is really depending on the time how much you have done, so it can not be the same with the work of mario and the new person who just got in,

that is the same in korean traditional songs, the person who has done for entire their life or for 10 years and the new person who started just now, you cannot compare, that is very wide spread agreement when we listen to the songs, we understand the songs depending on the time of doer

this time is very important to me,

because in the normal theater , we accept only the talent or new face very much than the time, and also some actors who have done acting during entire their life and still bad,,

the time does not work all the time with the normal theater

but the korean songs and richards work (as he said) time is very respected and which should be,

of course some times, more talented or gifted person can do very well as a beginning, but to learn the songs and dances, the talent is not enough, and in korea, we do not consider the traditional songs and dances just for a few years, it is about at least for 10 years,

we talk about one person's life

and so many similarities exist in between richards work and korean traditional work

also, differences exist between them because ones are songs and dances, the other is theater,

and also at this moment, my question of witness can arise,

i shared with you before,

because the singers and dancers in korea, they are doing for themselves, but they are very aware of audience, and we agree that the singers and dancers can meet the audiences also for the doers time to time,

and the audience receives so many things, how can i say? why korean people go to listen to the traditional songs again and again if the work is only for the doers, my answer could be no, at this moment,

the audience or witness can recieve some very srong, that is why people still go to see and listen, maybe some life forces, or some traditional existence as educational way in the arts . . . i am not sure, but when i went to those shows, i did not go there just for doers, also for myself,

the korean traditional way of learning, it is isolated very much, they go to the forest or the country side and practise, practice and practise, and then coming to the town to share or to show what they have done, and town people immediately know how much improved their work or still stay in the same level maybe because of some worldly problems for the doer that does not make the doer concentrate

on his work or . . .

so, to me, grotowski work at the end of his life,

it is revolutionary because he has examined the way to pass theater work in the practical way

and there are the songs and dances to pass down to but richards said that he has learned the inner action only from grotowski in his book and in the symposium,

and that is the key, the inner action, that is what grotowski has found at the end of his life and passed to richards

the inner action makes grotowski work as essence because it is the under the theater work, and because it is the tradition bringing,

the second one is very important to me, the tradition bringing, we can be free from the self-indulgent, and really was,

if i do something just because of my own personal problem, then it is really dangerous to fall in to the self - indulgent, we are human being, theater is dealing with the humans problem, it is very delicate issue; is it a character or is it an actor? i think that this question has been asked for centuries,

but with carrying the tradition can solve this problem very clearly and in very cool way to me

that is not one's personal any more then, with the tradition, it gets more than that, it goes deeper and very safe for the doers, they can go almost any direction, and still it carries the tradition, it does not lose its dignity, openness, right distance,,,

that could be the merits of tradition

but to me, the tradition was the negative when i worked in korea as i told you before

i felt that i was trapped in the tradition, whatever i do has been done before, that is quite disturbing and made me crazy,,

whatever i do has been done before,,, this could be the merits, but i did not know the inner action that time, so i just simply learned the songs and dances, so i learned very shallow level as just copying level, that was why i felt of the trap, if i tried to learn what the traditional songs could carry to me, then i could grow a lot, but i was not grotowski

even though i feel that something happens in side of me during work, i do not know what to do with it, richards said that not manipulating,,

in practical way, i could not have a clue,

not manipulating is the start and the end,

that is my understanding as theoratically, but how to do in practical way,,,

he said that he has resisted to shape what doer was doing, resisted to manipulate, resist, resist, and resist, when i went to see their work in pontedera, before the second work, the twin, it is what he said to us,

but i do not know what that means in practical way

i learned the differences between controlling and guide from katherine' workshop,

controlling could mean manipulating? i am asking to myself, that is the big question to me now, how to work with the inner action or something happpens in side of me, how to work,,, what to do as a doer and what to do as a director

these are my thought last night suddenly middle of my sleep

when i thought of this last night, i was quite excited with my new discovery of grotowski work,,, i could not sleep well after that with too much excitement . . .

Ae Ran Jeong