Acrobat of the Heart: A Physical Approach to Acting Inspired by the Work of Jerzy Grotowski

Overview

A Vintage Original

"The actor will do, in public, what is considered impossible." When the renowned Polish director Jerzy Grotowski began his 1967 American workshop with these words, his students were stunned. But within four weeks they themselves had experienced the "impossible."

In An Acrobat of the Heart, teacher-director-playwright Stephen Wangh reveals how Jerzy Grotowski's physical exercises can open a pathway to the actor's inner creativity. Drawing on Grotowski's ...

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Acrobat of the Heart: A Physical Approach to Acting Inspired by the Work of Jerzy Grotowski

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Overview

A Vintage Original

"The actor will do, in public, what is considered impossible." When the renowned Polish director Jerzy Grotowski began his 1967 American workshop with these words, his students were stunned. But within four weeks they themselves had experienced the "impossible."

In An Acrobat of the Heart, teacher-director-playwright Stephen Wangh reveals how Jerzy Grotowski's physical exercises can open a pathway to the actor's inner creativity. Drawing on Grotowski's insights and on the work of Stanislavski, Uta Hagen, and others, Wangh bridges the gap between rigorous physical training and practical scene and character technique. Wangh's students give candid descriptions of their struggles and breakthroughs, demonstrating how to transform these remarkable lessons into a personal journey of artistic growth. Courageous and compelling, An Acrobat of the Heart is an invaluable resource for actors, directors, and teachers alike.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Stephen Wangh is a wonderful acting teacher--. He has distilled his life's study of the actor's body in the creative act into a practical journey for the reader--. Best of all, the book is a useful guide for an actor's daily work in the studio."--Anne Bogart, director

"An indispensable book for anyone studying modern theater--. Stephen Wangh is a master teacher."--Mois├ęs Kaufman, playwright

Library Journal
In October 1967, Wangh, an esteemed master teacher of acting in the United States and Europe, took part in an event that was to become historically significant in the development of modern theater in this country: famed Polish director Jerzy Grotowski's first American workshop, a four-week-long instructional lab at New York University. The philosophical tenets and dynamic physical exercises that constitute the Grotowski experience form the base of Wangh's treatise and workbook for actors. His goal is to help actors break the physical/emotional construct that invariably leads to disconnection in performance. Drawing upon Kristin Linklater's vocal work and Viola Spolin's improvisational expertise, this book represents an important step toward a unified acting theory, developing Grotowski's emphasis on the psychophysical direction in acting--a wonderful but seemingly ambivalent inside-out/outside-in combination that depends upon the equally contradictory controlled spontaneity found in his exercises, "Les Exercises Corporels" and "Les Exercises Plastiques." (These are fully delineated here.) Throughout, especially meaningful concepts, exercises, and statements are bold-faced. Certainly this season's finest text for actors, this important work is for all acting collections.--Barry X. Miller, Austin P.L., TX Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375706721
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/19/2000
  • Series: Vintage Original Series
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 350,337
  • Product dimensions: 5.19 (w) x 7.99 (h) x 0.78 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephen Wangh has taught acting in Europe, Boston, and New York, where he is currently Master Teacher at the Experimental Theatre Wing at New York University.
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 21, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Brilliant, beautiful, intelligent, highly-regarded

    I studied with Steve Wangh at the Experimental Theatre Wing at New York University, and loved every single solitary second I was in class with him. This book profoundly illuminates the exercises and lessons we learned, first-hand, while in his class. I go back to this book two or three times a year for additional inspiration, coaching, and exaltation. I highly recommend it to any actor with a love and appreciation for physically-based acting as well as anyone looking to gain a more practical, profound, and truthful path to conveying a character with brilliance and clarity.

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