Hostname: page-component-588bc86c8c-ddvfj Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2023-11-30T13:42:12.871Z Has data issue: false Feature Flags: { "corePageComponentGetUserInfoFromSharedSession": true, "coreDisableEcommerce": false, "useRatesEcommerce": true } hasContentIssue false

Embodied Memory: Body-Memory in the Performance Research of Jerzy Grotowski

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  31 August 2012


In this article Dominika Laster examines the embodied-memory work undertaken by the Polish theatre director and performance researcher Jerzy Grotowski. While Grotowski approached work with memory – which in his practice necessarily implied body-memory – in a variety of ways, it was often as a mode of inquiry. For Grotowski, there were at least two different types of memory work, which emerge in two distinct phases of his research. The first was the use of body-memory undertaken during the Theatre of Production phase. Here, the work with body-memory was used as a tool in the actor's process of self-penetration and opening, serving as an instrument in the rediscovery of impulses and intentions of a past moment. This process of rediscovery is integral to the freeing of creativity and tapping into the obstructed internal resources of the actor. Another use of memory work, which became articulated in the phase of Grotowski's research known as Art as Vehicle, is that which facilitates the rediscovery of essence. Grotowski's practice of ‘active remembering’ functioned as a tool in the search for one's essence, understood as the most intimate, pre-cultural aspect of the self, which precedes difference and is at once the most singular and universal aspect of being. Dominika Laster is a Lecturer in Theatre. Her book A Bridge Made of Memory: Embodied Memory, Witnessing, and Transmission in the Grotowski Work and her edition of Loose Screws: Nine New Plays from Poland, are forthcoming from Seagull Press (distributed globally by the University of Chicago Press).

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2012

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)