"Cleansing the actor" : an appropriated acting methodology utilising the performance theories of Jerzy Grotowski in a South African context - a case study of The Cleansing.
This dissertation focuses on my key research question, “How Grotowski’s performance theories and actor training could be adapted for use in developing my own appropriated acting methodology in post-apartheid South Africa”. I have found that there is a gap in the Grotowskian research field in South Africa for a documented rehearsal process and production that examines how Grotowski’s performance theories/actor training around Poor Theatre (1957-1969), Paratheatre (1970-1975) and Theatre of Sources (1976-1982) can be appropriated and adapted to create a working acting methodology. This documented rehearsal process is provided in this dissertation in the form of two case studies that detail the two phases of my theatre project The Cleansing (2011/2013), providing narratives of what the two productions looked like as well as a detailed analysis of each phases Grotowskian appropriated acting methodology. The Cleansing (2011/2013) is a culmination of my research and knowledge gathered during my university years towards creating a Grotowskian inspired production; the research and rehearsal process conducted during both productions provides valuable information that will aid future scholars in understanding and developing their own acting methodology using the theories of Jerzy Grotowski. I frame these two case studies amongst an analysis of Athol Fugard’s Orestes (1971) and Mbongeni Ngema, Percy Mtwa and Barney Simon’s Woza Albert! (1983) as a means to demonstrate the adaptability of Grotowski’s performance theories/actor training in apartheid South Africa. Then further framing it in post-apartheid South Africa through an analysis of Fana Tshabalala’s Indumba (2013). I conclude by offering insight into the further development of my appropriated acting methodology. I propose the development of further exercises and the evolution of the process, so as to keep it relevant to the times and build a repertoire of exercises that could aid future performers and young theatre makers.
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