Despite its international influence, Polish theatre remains a mystery to many Westerners. This volume attempts to fill in various gaps in English-language scholarship by offering a historical and critical analysis of two of the most influential works of Polish theatre: Jerzy Grotowski's 'Akropolis' and Tadeusz Kantor's 'Dead Class'. By examining each director's representation of Auschwitz, this study provides a new understanding of how translating national trauma through the prism of performance can alter and deflect the meaning and reception of theatrical works, both inside and outside their cultural and historical context.Although theatre scholars have now gained familiarity with 'Akropolis' and 'Dead Class', there remains little understanding of the complex web of cultural meanings and significations that went into their making - they remain broadly but not deeply known. Grotowski and Kantor both sought to respond to the trauma of the Holocaust, albeit through drastically different aesthetics, and this study develops a comparative critical language through which one can simultaneously engage Grotowski and Kantor in a way that makes their differences evocative of a broader conversation about theatre and meaning. Ultimately, this volume invites and engages with many questions: how is theatrical meaning codified outside its cultural context? How is it codified within its cultural context? What affects the reception of a theatrical work? And, above all, how does theatre 'make meaning'?
Post-traumatic Theatre of Grotowski and Kantor
History and Holocaust in 'Akropolis' and 'Dead Class'