An essay we find so important we have been making it available since we first published it in 2001. A must read.
In 1963 President John F. Kennedy reminded us with these words:
“I see little of more importance to the future of our country and our civilization than full recognition of the place of our artists. If art is to nourish the roots of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him…Art is not a form of propaganda, it is a form of truth…Art establishes the basic human truths which must serve as the touchstones of our judgment.”
I LIKE BEING A PLAYWRIGHT, which is fortunate, since that’s one of the few things that I can do with any competence. And it is nice to be able to pass your life doing that which you feel that you might be doing with some competence, and possibly, possibly even communicating with a few people. Because the function of the arts, is it not, absolute communication – to put us in greater contact with ourselves and with each other, to question our values, to question the status quo, to make us rethink that which we believe we believe.
On two evenings, November 8 and 9 of 1977, Jerzy Grotowski held a conference in Portland, Oregon on the Lewis and Clark campus. During those two evenings, a Tuesday and Wednesday respectively, he answered questions from the audience. The first session began at eight in the evening and ended at two in the morning. The second session began at eight but at midnight Grotowski began individual interviews with people who were interested in going to Poland that year for a longer paratheatrical event there. This record is of the conference prior to the interviews.
We assemble in the lovely Elebash Hall of the CUNY Graduate Center this cool June Monday to celebrate, analyze, synthesize, rhapsodize about, and contend with the art and the legacy of the individuals who came together out of hope and vision and the need to make a new kind of American theatre. As one commentator says: this was “the last time the avant garde merged with Broadway theatre.” We have come together to parse that statement and celebrate the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Group Theatre.
There are many secrets to life. Being artistic and creative allows us to tap into the unseen powers of the universe. As artists of any kind we tap into a way of being that allows us to reach outside of the confines of the three-dimensional world. Artists somehow know how to shift their perceptions, their way of feeling inside of their body, and adapt a wavelike sensation inside of them to tap into that other inspirational world.
Every time I walk out onto the stage I surrender more and more of myself – trusting and swimming in the freedom of the moment with a deeper consciousness. I tap into the energies of my soul, knowing I’ve come to breathe with those in the audience. Quieting my mind I share with greater clarity and sincerity in the eternal moment.