Personal note –
Throughout my practice as a choreographer in dramatic theatre, working mainly with the ensembles of institutional theaters in German speaking area, I encountered often problems with the essential understanding concerning the role of the body as part of professional work of an actor. As a choreographer in text-based theatre projects, I often have to justify my position as a creative team member and gain actor’s trust as someone who operates through body and not words.
Expressive physical work as an artistic interpretation - although an integral part of acting studies - is still rarely accepted as an immanent part of the directing process in the theatre tradition of German speaking areas. With my background in the dance world, working in between the poles of text and body, I strongly felt as an alien in the institutional dramatic theatre. Contrary to the experiences in Germany stand the work processes in Poland. The amount and matter of physical expression were natural and to a big extent self-evident. That might be because of the impact of Grotowskis´ and Kantors approach to theatre whose late traces are still embodied in polish theatre and theatre education.
Despite these difficulties, the work I have developed in the last 10 years, especially in cooperation with the theatre director Wojtek Klemm, had involved an extreme and comprehensive physicality and body-conditional work on stage. The work ranged between purely choreographed moments where the actors follow a certain movement score (rather known and accepted as ‘choreographic work’), a coherent movement language of the Characters, which would be carried on as a kind of a physical thread during the performance (which can be probably referred to as Embodiment, in the classical sense of understanding of this term), and last but not least, an even more abstract work of staging text through physical und movement-based presence (this being the classical sense of performance art).
The beginning is always the same: the research of a movement material starts with the individual work of the actor in accordance to his or her physical abilities and creativity. The tension between the ‘natural’ body of the actor – within its limitation, incompetence and flaws, but also its skills, talents and abilities – and his individual way of expressing himself is what I am interested in: I work with the span between given body conditions and expressivity. The spectrum of means of physical expression evolves into a physical language and is specific to each single work developed with a specific ensemble of actors.
The text is given, the narration too, but the physical expression is a space for interpretation. And the possibilities of expression are immense. In my work I have been searching for a coherent and organic play resulting in genuineness in the artistic expression of the actor without it being artificial or stiff. I strive to find an organic transcendence between text and body on stage.