THEATRE | How does the way of making theatre change after World War II

Theatrical research in Europe, in the 60s and 70s of the twentieth century, brought back the body work of the actor. As a result, the training was born, preparatory to the arrangement of the show. The laboratory gradually gets more and more important for the final staging, which is only the last part of a much longer journey. The show is only a portion of the work, not the most important.

The artistic contaminations

The theatre, in its experimentation, allows itself to be contaminated by other art forms, especially oriental ones such as yoga, meditation and martial arts, from which it borrows the spiritual philosophy and the harmony of creation.

The actor works on his inner balance and eliminate the scenery, to get to the character’s essence within himself. More and more often the director chooses to set up the work by getting rid as much as possible of all the ornaments and supports: what it remains only the actor who can find a sort of relationship with the spectators.

The Poor Theatre of Grotowski

The Polish director Grotowski pursued this philosophy and called it “Poor Theatre”: the staging was reduced to a minimum, to shift the focus on the preparation of the actors, who went through a rigid physical and vocal training to enhance their expressive skills.

The fundamental moment for Grotowski, in fact, was not the show, but the rehearsals, during which a close relationship was established between the director and the actor.

The Odin Teatret by Eugenio Barba

Eugenio Barba is an Italian director and was a pupil of the master Grotowski. In 1964 he founded Odin Teatret, a multicultural theatre company, in Oslo, Norway.
Crucial point of the group’s research is the depth of the actor’s work through training. The preparation laboratory can last for years and cannot be bound to the tight deadlines of the production of shows.

For the first time in their work, the pedagogical approach appears, through which the actors prepare themselves by comparing themselves. They are pushed by the director to acquire the most suitable means of expression for themselves. Personal study is fostered, drawing on different cultures and performative traditions. The company and the director make numerous trips to inform themselves, in order to enrich their cultural and artistic experience, coming into contact with other styles and techniques.
The training  finally becomes a tool for personal growth, to coach an actor prepared and responsive to every incentive provided by the text and the director. The latter gives input, but the research is entirely of the actor, free to convey, in the laboratory phase, real emotions.