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conjuctio-opositorum

conjuctio-opositorum

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Published by Jaime Soriano
The Journal of Religion and Theatre is a peer-reviewed online journal. The journal aims to provide descriptive and analytical articles examining the spirituality of
world cultures in all disciplines of the theatre, performance studies in sacred rituals of all cultures, themes of transcendence in text, on stage, in theatre history,
the analysis of dramatic literature, and other topics relating to the relationship between religion and theatre. The journal also aims to facilitate the exchange of knowledge throughout the theatrical community concerning the relationship between theatre and religion and as an academic research resource for the benefit of all interested scholars and artists.
The Journal of Religion and Theatre is a peer-reviewed online journal. The journal aims to provide descriptive and analytical articles examining the spirituality of
world cultures in all disciplines of the theatre, performance studies in sacred rituals of all cultures, themes of transcendence in text, on stage, in theatre history,
the analysis of dramatic literature, and other topics relating to the relationship between religion and theatre. The journal also aims to facilitate the exchange of knowledge throughout the theatrical community concerning the relationship between theatre and religion and as an academic research resource for the benefit of all interested scholars and artists.

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Published by: Jaime Soriano on Aug 19, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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08/18/2010

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http://www.rtjournal.org
Published by the Religion and Theatre Focus Group of theAssociation for Theatre in Higher Education
The Journal of Religion and Theatre
is a peer-reviewed online journal. The journalaims to provide descriptive and analytical articles examining the spirituality of world cultures in all disciplines of the theatre, performance studies in sacredrituals of all cultures, themes of transcendence in text, on stage, in theatre history,the analysis of dramatic literature, and other topics relating to the relationship between religion and theatre. The journal also aims to facilitate the exchange of knowledge throughout the theatrical community concerning the relationship between theatre and religion and as an academic research resource for the benefitof all interested scholars and artists.All rights reserved. Each author retains the copyright of his or her article.Acquiring an article in this pdf format may be used for research purposes only.No other type of reproduction by any process or technique may be made withoutthe formal, written consent of the author.
Submission Guidelines
 
Submit your article in Microsoft Word 1998 format via the internet
 
Include a separate title page with the title of the article, your name, address, e-mail address, and phonenumber, with a 70 to 100 word abstract and a 25 to 50 word biography
 
Do not type your name on any page of the article
 
MLA style endnotes -- Appendix A.1. (Do not use parenthetical references in the body of the paper/ list of works cited.)
 
E-Mail the article and title page via an attachment in Microsoft Word 1998 to Debra Bruch: dlbruch -at-mtu.edu. (Please replace the -at- with @.)
 
Or send by regular post with the article on a zip disk, Mac format, in Microsoft Word to:Debra Bruch, Ph.D.General Editor,
The Journal of Religion and Theatre
Department of Fine ArtsMichigan Technological University1400 Townsend DriveHoughton, MI 49931
 
DEADLINE: May 1st of each year
 
The Journal of Religion and Theatre,
Vol. 4, No. 2, Fall 2005http://www.rtjournal.orgThis Article: http://www.rtjournal.org/vol_4/no_2/lavy.htmlCopyright 2005 by Jennifer LavyPDF File Page #175
Theoretical Foundations of Grotowski's
Total Act, Via Negativa,
and
Conjunctio Oppositorum
Written by
Jennifer Lavy
The only communication that has true value is communication that is an enhancement tothe other person.
Martin Buber
Grotowski's mentality is such that it attaches itself to creative ideas which he in turn usesas instruments of personal investigation. The logic implicit within them is then pushed tothe extreme. It is not a question of influence but of a kind of transmission. The torch istaken up once again but not as a relic, to be extinguished with reverence or be placed undera globe, nor like a sacred flame to be piously preserved, rather a flame capable of lighting anew hearth.
Raymonde TemkineThe three theoretical concepts most central to Poor Theatre as this aesthetic wasdeveloped by Jerzy Grotowski and the Polish Laboratory Theatre in the early 1960s are
conjunctio oppositorum, via negativa,
and
total act
. Although these are terms of art specific to PoorTheatre, they represent a reformulation of ideas which have been in circulation, in some cases,for centuries. Even as a young man, Grotowski had wide-ranging interests and a passion forphilosophical thought. While he did occasionally write theory or philosophy, he was first andforemost a theatre artist seeking solutions to the real theatrical challenges he encountered. Manyof the major questions Grotowski asked are the same ones asked by scores of people before him:What do truth and authenticity in acting and performance mean? What is the actor-spectatorrelationship? What constitutes the greatest manifestation of the actor's craft, and how might wework to achieve it? Why do we create theatre—what is its function within community? Hisanswers to these questions defined his Poor Theatre. In this essay, I propose not only to enhanceour understanding of Poor Theatre's key concepts but also to gesture towards their practicalapplication in Polish Laboratory Theatre work. I will develop these concepts by drawing uponthe theories of Patanjali and his
 yoga sutras,
Nagarjuna and the Hindu concept of 
sunyata
 , Zeamiand his treatises on the art of Japanese Noh drama, Denis Diderot, Martin Buber, Victor Turner,Niels Bohr, and Grotowski himself. However, before turning to that task, I will provide a brief 
 
The Journal of Religion and Theatre,
Vol. 4, No. 2, Fall 2005http://www.rtjournal.orgThis Article: http://www.rtjournal.org/vol_4/no_2/lavy.htmlCopyright 2005 by Jennifer LavyPDF File Page #176
overview of the theorists not selected for this study to demonstrate the potential scale of acomprehensive investigation.Grotowski borrowed from often contradictory philosophical systems which, in additionto those already mentioned, included structuralism, psychoanalysis ("Not about psychology inrelation to character but rather how,
involuntarily,
to draw out certain characteristics andpersonal energies in order to colour the scenic action"
1
), and Marxism. During his universitystudy at Moscow's GITIS, he set out to become the world's foremost expert on KonstantinStanislavski so that he could begin his own practical theatre research at the place whereStanislavski had left off. He also became fascinated with the theories of Meyerhold after readingthe complete mise-en-scene documentation for
The Inspector General
. But of the Russiandirectors, the one most influential for Grotowski was probably Evgeny Vakhtangov, whosework extended Stanislavski's theories of physical action. Grotowski studied with YuriZavadsky ,a former actor with Vakhtangov and Stanislavski—and read Vakhtangov's essays.Because these directors and their theories are regularly invoked in studies about Grotowski, Iwill not take them up further at this time.Antonin Artaud is often cited as having influenced Grotowski's theories, and althoughthere are some similarities between their visions, it has already been established that Grotowskidid not learn about Artaud or his writings until after the notions of 
conjunctio oppositorum, vianegativa,
and
total act
were already developed (see Temkine and Barba). Similarities to Artaudare coincidental and are more likely the influence of the Polish theoretician-playwright S.I.Witkiewicz's (Witkacy) influence on Grotowski. Witkiewicz had formulated theoriescomparable to Artaud's but had done so nearly two decades earlier.
2
As early as 1963, Eugenio Barba, who spent 1961-64 in Opole as Grotowski's apprentice,was writing about the work there as an "anthropological expedition" into the "reservoir of hereditary experiences that science designates sometimes as 'primitive thought' (Lévi-Strauss),sometimes as 'archetypes' (Jung), 'collective representations' (Durkheim), 'categories of theimagination' (Mauss and Hubert), or even as 'elementary thoughts' (Bastian)."
3
I believe these 
1
Eugenio Barba,
Land of Ashes and Diamonds: My Apprenticeship in Poland,
trans. Judy Barba (Wales UK: Black Mountain Press, Center for Performance Research, 1999) 56.2Raymonde Temkine,
Grotowski
(New York: Avon, 1972) 145.3Temkine 78.

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