There’s a Polish-Dutch saying, stating that the body can travel by different means of transport, but the soul prefers the horse. Well, if this is so, then Ambassador Schep’s soul must have been travelling on a crippled, asthmatic pony with a bad sense of direction in order to get back to Amsterdam. Yes, getting used to west-Olandian life has been quite the challenge after these ten days of institutional information, dwarfs, Tartar, bodily expressions, art, Polish language, piwo, unreadable faces and bearded men. We could say Wrocław was brilliant yet confusing.
Let’s zoom in on one aspect of it all: the bearded men. Our delegation has had inner and outer conversations with Jerzy Grotowski and Mr. Dürer:

Mr. Grotowski

From reading his own writings and watching his interviews at the Grotowski Institute, our ambassador thought this was going to be an easy one. Grotowski was an excellent writer and speaker, so what could go wrong? Well, in many video’s there was nothing to see, but people behaving asif they where seriously mentally impaired. What on earth did this have to do with him writing about getting back to the essence of theatre? What was happening here? It was only after watching Ryszard Cieślak teaching two youngsters for two hours that it came to notice that Grotowski’s work wasn’t about moving in an unconventional style, but that these people were looking for ways to un-block their bodies.

Mr. Grotowski having a talk with Margaret Croydon in 1969.

Mr. Grotowski having a talk with Margaret Croydon in 1969.

Without getting too theoretical IOOTCP would like to take the time here to get into this a bit further. Grotowski considered the body to have a memory. Not just a kinetic one as in still knowing how to ride the bike after decades of walking, but also a memory of pain, illness, of expressions, love, excitement and relating to spaces. Through training the actors would create the freedom for their bodies to express these personal and yet universal feelings and memories. These would be recognosed by the audience, because they have had similar bodily experiences in their lives. And this would get the audience touch with a deeper sense of what life is about.
So, how would this work? Can bodies communicate? Our Ambassador suspects it might have to do with this:


see also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Body_transfer_illusion

Later on in his work, Grotowski kind of dropped his emphasis on theatre and and on the actor. He started looking for other ways to communicate with his audience. This will be to much to zoom in on here, but our Ambassadors will tell you more about it during our Cultural Afternoon in february. (yes, this truly is a cliffhanger!)

Here’s a picture of our ambassador with the ‘artistically challenging’ statue of Mr. Grotowski in Opole.

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Mr. Dürer
On the day of her arrival, Ambassador Schep received an e-mail by Mr. Dürer in reaction to the mailart-project last september. It was already the next day that they sat down on top of a round museum, filled with contemporary art. Togheter they discussed art, mail art, music, travelling, tea and life. It was absolutely inspirational. And it turned out Mr. Dürer actually used to know Mr. Grotowski and Mr.Cieślak at the time. In front of art, our Ambassador and Mr. Dürer made a selfy/ussie/we-y. To hopefully be continued..

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Now Ambassador Schep will proceed to stand on the lookout for her soul-on-pony. If you happen see them passing by, please direct them to the city of Amsterdam.

Love,
your Ambassadors

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