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The Living Room

Admission: 25 PLN
Contact: sekretariat@grotowski-institute.art.pl
Tel. 71 34 45 320
All tickets booked in advance must be collected from our Office in Przejście Żelaźnicze by the date and time agreed at the time of booking.

The Living Room, an opus in the domain of Art as Vehicle, takes us home, to a place in which we welcome another. By starting from this fundamental action that can take place in a living room, we enter an investigation into how the potentialities of performance craft can both enrich and be enriched by daily inter-personal relations and realities. How can our room come alive? How can one be with another in such way that the quotidian slides seamlessly into the non-quotidian? Here the witness has a chance to shed his anonymity, being an individual, a guest. Within our meeting a performative event unfolds, structured and precise, a living stream of actions based on work with songs of tradition, as well as texts exploring what it takes to awaken ourselves faced to ourselves, the other, and the world.

 

Director Thomas Richards
Performers Antonin Chambon, Benoit Chevelle, Bradley High, Guilherme Kirchheim, Jessica Losilla-Hébrail, Sara Montoya, Tara Ostiguy, Cécile Richards, Thomas Richards
Premiere 2009, Pontedera, Italy
Running time approx. 90 minutes

 

The audience coming to The Living Room are kindly encouraged to bring something to eat or drink to share with others during the evening.

 

 

Thomas Richards (BA, Yale University; MA, University of Bologna; PhD, University of Paris 8) is Artistic Director of the research of Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowski and Thomas Richards. He began his apprenticeship with Grotowski in 1985, and their work together developed until Grotowski’s passing away in 1999. Richards worked as Grotowski’s assistant, but soon he became the leader of one of the work teams, and then Grotowski’s ‘essential collaborator’. Eventually, he became Director of the Research Program on Performing Arts, conducted at the Workcenter in the domain of Art as Vehicle. He was the main creator and doer of the performative opus within the Workcenter Art as Vehicle research entitled Downstairs Action (filmed by Mercedes Gregory in 1989), as well as the creator and main doer of Action, and the creator and a doer of The Letter, the initial stage of which was called The Twin: An Action in Creation. He co-directed One Breath LeftOne Breath Left: Dies IræDies Iræ and Dies Iræ: The Preposterous Theatrum Interioris Show – created at the Workcenter as part of the project The Bridge: Developing Theatre Arts. Richards was also the Artistic Director of the Workcenter’s projects: Tracing Roads Across (2003–2006, funded under the EU’s Culture 2000 programme) and Horizons (2007–2009, Wrocław), a Workcenter project which culminated in the Zero Budget Festival (2009), organised under Richard’s direction. Since 2008 Richards has led a new team at the Workcenter, the Focused Research Team in Art as Vehicle. He presently directs and conducts work on the opuses: The Living Room, L’heure fugitive (the Workcenter’s first piece entirely in French) and a new creation based on texts of Dostoevsky, provisonally entitled The Underground: A Response to Dostoevsky, which will premiere at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August 2016. He is the author of At Work with Grotowski on Physical ActionsThe Edge-Point of Performance and Heart of Practice: Within the Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowski and Thomas Richards.

The Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowski (named since 1996 the Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowski and Thomas Richards) was founded in 1986 in Pontedera, Italy, at the initiative of Jerzy Grotowski, the Centro per la Sperimentazione e la Ricerca Teatrale (now Fondazione Pontedera Teatro) and the University of California, Irvine, in collaboration with Peter Brook (Centre International de Créations Théatrales), as a creative institute of permanent education for adult artists. At the Workcenter throughout the last thirteen years of his life, Grotowski developed a line of performance research known as Art as Vehicle, in which, as in certain old traditions, the focus on art goes together with an approach that emphasises the interiority of the human being, and which he continued until his death in 1999. Within this creative investigation, he worked very closely with Thomas Richards whom he called his ‘essential collaborator’. During these thirteen years of intense practical work, Grotowski transmitted to Richards the fruit of his lifetime research, what he referred to as ‘the inner aspect of the work’.

Grotowski entrusted Richards and Mario Biagini, a key member of the Workcenter team since its beginnings, as the sole legatees of his estate, which includes his entire body of written work. Since 1999, acting as the Workcenter’s Artistic Director and Associate Director, respectively, Richards and Biagini continue to develop the Workcenter’s line of performance research.

Since 2007/2008 the Workcenter has hosted two teams: the Focused Research Team in Art as Vehicle, directed by Thomas Richards, and Open Program, directed by Mario Biagini. 20 artists of 10 different nationalities are engaged in the activities of the Workcenter, which articulate in a systematic research on performing arts. The Workcenter dedicates itself to the professional growth of its artists, and concentrated efforts are made in order that the team members uncover and develop their unique creative potentialities. Grotowski never wished to make of his research a dogmatised practice, rather he emphasised the need for development. At the Workcenter new discoveries arise from continuous practice, and the investigation is enriched by a living link between generations, which is sustained by growth and distillation of practical knowledge. Today, the Workcenter operates within the National Theatre – Fondazione Teatro della Toscana.

More information: www.theworkcenter.org

The Focused Research Team in Art as Vehicle, which commenced at the Workcenter in February 2008 under the direction of Thomas Richards, continues research in the domain of Art as Vehicle, a praxis that from the Workcenter’s beginning has been based on the creation of lines of actions structured with and around ancient traditional songs. The basis of Art as Vehicle is the investigation into the way in which the performing arts can be a tool for the transformation of the artist’s perception and presence, a means of awakening subtle aspects of experience through work on structured streams of action and song. It is a long-term research that requires of each person involved a disciplined and devoted work, with the intention of coming in contact with one’s innermost sources, to move with them towards what Grotowski and Richards have called a ‘transformation of energy’. Art as Vehicle is therefore a field in which the performing artist works on the rich potential of experiencing what the present moment contains. The Focused Research Team in Art as Vehicle is currently explores the way in which performative actions born within this realm of practice can exist within creations that embrace diverse approaches to theatre and that engage the perception of outside observers in diverse manners.

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