In 2015 and 2016 STUDY || ROSA carried out a theatre exploration Feeling the PULSE in Brzezinka, the Grotowski Institute forest location, and in the Theatre Laboratory Space in Wrocław. The exploration was directed by Prof Grzegorz Ziółkowski (Adam Mickiewicz University and STUDY || ROSA), consulted by Prof Paul Allain (School of Arts, University of Kent, UK), and assisted by Maria Bohdziewicz and Maciej Zakrzewski (STUDY || ROSA). Feeling the PULSE was supported by the Grotowski Institute, Wrocław, Poland.

The programme in 2015–16: Feeling the PULSE brochure

The programme in 2016:  Feeling the PULSE 2016

Feeling the PULSE was an international, multilayered exploration which included: Acting Techniques Intensive Seminars STARS, NICHE and SPARK; ATIS SHARINGS; presentations of TAZM Silence of Light and the Wrocław premiere of HEART Silence of Polygon; publication of Dwugłos O CISZY, Teksty OD SERCA and Texts FROM THE HEART by Grzegorz Ziółkowski; meeting Duet ON SILENCE with Dobrochna Ratajczakowa; open dialogue Actor: Artisan – Artist between Paul Allain and Grzegorz Ziółkowski; work on acting miniatures: Veronica’s Double by Andrea Madrid Mora (Catalonia), Emergency Exit by Csongor Köllő (Romania), Abel and Kain by Mohammad Reza Aliakbari and Samaneh Zandinejad (Iran) and sharing them in different variants with the audience; work session Into the Peformer’s Process by Claudio Santana Bórquez (Chile) and consultations for his performative lecture The Persona: the Lucidity of the Performer’s Path and its presentation.

After the twilight of grand narratives, only a few small ones have remained available for us in the niches. Everywhere spectacle, a show with the associated element of drama, has been holding sway. Drama is no more than a game, a shoot ‘em up game, a game of slaughter. Who with whom? Who against whom? Who to whom?… Who under whom?…

We need stories that with the natural rhythm of the tides allow scenarios of behaviour to seep into and install patterns of relationships within us. Drama and games do that too, but differently – through conflict, through bursts of ruptures and reconciliations. Storytelling and tales are like the voices of living grandmothers or grandfathers which whisper homeopathic words directly into the ear of a granddaughter or grandson that have the power to immunize. These voices fade away and we – deafened by the media clamor, often adding to it – hear less and less.

We need stories – as Peter Brook says – but not gossip. The story of a Tazmamart prisoner who survived because he was visited in his cell by an angel or maybe just a sparrow, or the story of a mother in Scorched who was raped by her own son and gave life – in pain and horror – to twins, and then in her will bequeathed them the fight for adulthood – these stories carry inside themselves the seeds of tragedy. The tragedy of responsibility, the tragedy of being in response. A tragedy to be played in the theatre – this anthropological machine that teaches us to see and hear, to speak and understand.

STUDY || ROSA’s hybrid and multilayered undertaking of Feeling the PULSE confronts these issues with practice and thought – with performances, practical seminars, written reflections and living dialogues. All in the hope that a younger generation of gifted and devoted artists will see its own responsibilities more clearly and feel them more tangibly.

Grzegorz Ziółkowski