Thomas Richards and Mario Biagini of
The Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowsky and Thomas Richards

It’s difficult to describe in a few words the extent of the influence that the ideas and work of Jerzy Grotowsky have had on me through a variety of incredible channels. Two of these channels are Thomas Richards and Mario Biagini, whom were primary contributors to Grotowsky’s research while he was alive and have continued to spearhead the work of the Workcenter in Pontedera since Grotowsky’s passing in 1999, and with whom I’ve had the privilege of studying on a number of rare and cherished occasions.

For those who don’t know, Jerzy Grotowsky was a Polish theater director, one of the great innovators of experimental theater as we know it today, and the progenitor of the “theatre laboratory” and “poor theatre” concepts. To dispel the abstractness of these concepts, let me tell you why I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.

First of all, I am deeply indebted to Grotowsky and to all of his students and disciples who through their work have helped me understand what it means to approach my own work with the rigor and care implied in the establishment of a Laboratory engaged in an ongoing research, and to dedicate myself to investigating the far reaching resonance and implications in the work of aligning body, mind and emotion. And second, for teaching me what it means to be truly wealthy by stripping away externalities and finding riches in actions rather than objects.

I have learned more about presence from working in this lineage than any other approach, and I’ve gained more insight into the complexity and beauty of aligning body, mind and emotion than any other school.

The Workcenter has two groups, The Focused Research Team in Art as a Vehicle and the Open Program, directed by Richards and Biagini respectively. In recent years they’ve been touring and sharing their work more frequently through both performances and workshops, although visits to the US are still relatively infrequent. In any case, I highly recommend seeing and learning more about their work at any opportunity.

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