Acting Tip #6: Why Grotowski?

People always ask me why, after years of studying and 15 years as a successful Method coach, I decided to go this route.  Well, let me tell you a little story.

I was booking very little when I was studying with Lee Strasberg in the 1970s.  I had a great resume, was working at the Institute, and meeting very influential ShowBizzers every day, to boot.  I snagged an audition with one of the top Casting Directors at the time just because I was sitting behind Lee’s desk and introduced her when she spoke at our Monday evening forum.  She got me my very first big job.

But, clearly, something was missing. I had no idea what.  Then I joined a children’s theatre and was fortunate enough to spend an entire summer training there with someone who grotowski 21 Acting Tip #6: Why Grotowski?worked with Jerzy Grotowski.  Grotowski was then a little-known theatre director.  But buzz was building that he had created an amazing way to train actors and that the productions in his tiny theatre in Poland were some of the most exciting of the 20th Century.

We spent a grueling summer doing one-shoulder stands, leaping over three people, and doing these weird physical and vocal exercises.  As I did when I first started studying Method, I had no clue about how this madness had anything to do with acting.

But then a strange thing happened!  I booked EIGHT sitcom pilots in the next six months.  Obviously, whatever was missing had shown up like gangbusters!  And the only things I had changed were the children’s theatre and the Grotowski work.

So, when I decided to go another way with my teaching a few years ago, incorporating this work into what I already taught seemed the logical next step.  After all the training I’ve had, and I’ve studied with most of the greats, it seemed the fastest, most complete way to train the actor.