The course offers an in-depth studio experience in Jerzy Grotowski's approach to the creation of psychophysical actions outside of the frame of realism. The term psychophysical action was coined by Russian director and pedagogue Konstantin Stanislavsky, who dedicated his life's work to the elaboration of the first Western acting system. Stanislavsky viewed the acting conventions of Romanticism and melodrama as "false," inadequate, and passť. As a proponent of realism, then an emerging theatrical genre, Stanislavsky sought to develop an acting system that would support the creation of "truthful" actions on stage. The late Polish director Jerzy Grotowski continued Stanislavsky's research on the method of psychophysical actions. In response to the theatrical trends of his time, Grotowski's own research aimed at freeing actors from the conventions and materials of realism.
Instead of departing from dramatic literature, students in this course will learn how to create psychophysical actions using points of departure such as personal memory, short stories, poems, visual materials, objects, traditional song, and so forth. The goal is to guide them to create repeatable scores of psychophysical actions; select, extend, and/or omit specific fragments in their score; juxtapose text or song to the physical score; and use objects in a manner that is precise and expressive.
During the second half of the semester, students will learn how to "edit" their scores of psychophysical actions in partner and ensemble work. This portion of the course provides actors with insight into directorial work, a knowledge that gives them greater autonomy in the creative process.