Originating with Jerzy Grotowski
, and the Polish Laboratory Theatre
in the 60's
, it advocated the reliance on the actor
, and the actor's skill
alone. It was a great influence on the Living Theatre
, Peak Theatre
at York University
, Act One
(led by Yanci Bukovic, and Herman Euticalcircle) , and others through to the present.
Grotowski and his acting exercises colaborator, Ryzard Cieslak, (with whom I worked at a Laboratory Theatre in Hamilton) passed beyond the need to use physical masks, to being able to control the musculature of their faces. Great physical feats were the norm for this troupe, thought this was not the goal.
In Towards a Poor Theatre, Growtowski describes a time when they were so proficient, he ordered a six month stop to exercises, so they could develop resistences again. For it as the act of breaking through the resistence that brought illumination to the work. He describes this as an actual physical glow to the work, not just an internal experience for the actor.
Yet, this resistence must be worked at, and through. Like good dancing shoes that are best neither at the slippery end, nor at the sticky end, but somewhere in the middle.
One of their legendary performance was Dr. Faustus, whose principle actor talked with animals, and provided their voices which his most astonishing one.