Cover image for An acrobat of the heart : a physical approach to acting inspired by the work of Jerzy Grotowski
An acrobat of the heart : a physical approach to acting inspired by the work of Jerzy Grotowski
Wangh, Stephen.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Vintage Books, [2000]

Physical Description:
xli, 334 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN2071.M6 W36 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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"The actor will do, in public, what is considered impossible." When the renowned Polish director Jerzy Grotowski began his 1967 American workshop with these words, his students were stunned. But within four weeks they themselves had experienced the "impossible."

In An Acrobat of the Heart , teacher-director-playwright Stephen Wangh reveals how Jerzy Grotowski's physical exercises can open a pathway to the actor's inner creativity. Drawing on Grotowski's insights and on the work of Stanislavski, Uta Hagen, and others, Wangh bridges the gap between rigorous physical training and practical scene and character technique. Wangh's students give candid descriptions of their struggles and breakthroughs, demonstrating how to transform these remarkable lessons into a personal journey of artistic growth. Courageous and compelling, An Acrobat of the Heart is an invaluable resource for actors, directors, and teachers alike.

Author Notes

Stephen Wangh has taught acting in Europe, Boston, and New York, where he is currently Master Teacher at the experimental Theater Wing at New York University.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

In October 1967, Wangh, an esteemed master teacher of acting in the United States and Europe, took part in an event that was to become historically significant in the development of modern theater in this country: famed Polish director Jerzy Grotowski's first American workshop, a four-week-long instructional lab at New York University. The philosophical tenets and dynamic physical exercises that constitute the Grotowski experience form the base of Wangh's treatise and workbook for actors. His goal is to help actors break the physical/emotional construct that invariably leads to disconnection in performance. Drawing upon Kristin Linklater's vocal work and Viola Spolin's improvisational expertise, this book represents an important step toward a unified acting theory, developing Grotowski's emphasis on the psychophysical direction in actingDa wonderful but seemingly ambivalent inside-out/outside-in combination that depends upon the equally contradictory controlled spontaneity found in his exercises, "Les Exercises Corporels" and "Les Exercises Plastiques." (These are fully delineated here.) Throughout, especially meaningful concepts, exercises, and statements are bold-faced. Certainly this season's finest text for actors, this important work is for all acting collections.DBarry X. Miller, Austin P.L., TX (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.