How does Woza Albert! reflect Grotowski's philosophy of "poor theater"?

The form of the play is in keeping with Grotowski's idea of poor theater. It is more like a series of vignettes than a traditional play. The actors have several roles each, and there are no set changes or props at all.

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In content, form, and production, Woza Albert! is closely aligned with the principles and practices that Jerzy Grotowski laid out as constituting "poor theater." Working primarily in his native Poland in the 1960s–1970s, he published his philosophy in Towards a Poor Theater in 1968. Grotowski moved to the United States...

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In content, form, and production, Woza Albert! is closely aligned with the principles and practices that Jerzy Grotowski laid out as constituting "poor theater." Working primarily in his native Poland in the 1960s–1970s, he published his philosophy in Towards a Poor Theater in 1968. Grotowski moved to the United States in the early 1980s and later to Italy. Grotowski insisted that theater should arise organically from the concerns of the people and treat important social issues.

In performing the plays as well, he rejected the artifice, formality, and ostentation of traditional theaters. Drawing on the ideas of Bertolt Brecht, he also favored eliminating the "fourth wall" of proscenium theater that separated audience and performer. Grotowski advocated having theater performances in every kind of space and for little or no admission fees. His method focused on intensive actor training, with the actors working in ensembles, and opposed promoting individuals as stars.

The main premise of Woza Albert! is that Jesus Christ returns to earth as a black African man in South Africa under apartheid. By imagining various public reactions to this second coming, the playwrights explores injustices of that oppressive system and emphasizes the diverse facets of popular resistance.

Rather than a single actor playing one role and a group of others taking individual roles, all parts are played by only two actors. The series of scenes (rather than the traditional division into acts) take place in diverse locations and incorporate characters, such as Fidel Castro, who are not involved in the central action. In the staging, the bare set and minimum props correspond to poor theater premises.

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