Film Screenings and Dialogue with Polish Laboratory Theatre Actors

Thursday, November 8, 2012 – 7:00 PM 
One of Jerzy Grotowski’s major theatrical productions, Akropolis transports the action of Wyspiański’s drama from Wawel Hill to Auschwitz.
Followed by a discussion with the actors moderated by Marc Robinson (Professor of English and Theatre Studies)
Friday, November 9, 2012 – 7:00 PM
Based on Calderón de la Barca’s play, The Constant Prince features Ryszard Cieślak in the role that came to be known as the embodiment of Grotowski’s notion of the ‘holy actor.’
Followed by a discussion with the actors moderated by Paige McGinley (Assistant Professor of Theater Studies, American Studies, and African American Studies)
DAVENPORT AUDITORIUM,  248 York Street, New Haven
Events are Free but seating is limited
RSVP here
Saturday, November 10, 2012 – 10AM – 2 PM
Workshop with Mieczysław Janowski and Andrzej Paluchiewicz, Actors of the Polish Laboratory Theatre
220 York Street, Ballroom  — Email Dominika Laster for more information:

Mieczysław Janowski worked in the Laboratory Theatre for eight years, playing in the theatre’s core productions, including Faust, Akropolis, and The Constant Prince.  After the Laboratory Theatre’s dissolution in 1984, Janowski continued acting in the Dramatic Theatre in Wałbrzych and the Wspołczesny Theatre in Wrocław.  Janowski’s acting was not limited to the theatre; from 1962 to 1986 he appeared in over 85 feature films.  In 1999, the President of Poland awarded Janowski with the Golden Order of Merit for his entire artistic oeuvre.

Andrzej Paluchiewicz worked with Jerzy Grotowski from 1966 to 1976.  He was an actor in the Laboratory Theatre and took part in the paratheatrical activities, which followed the Theatre of Productions phase.  Paluchiewicz was also the ensemble’s resident photographer. He is the author of some of the most iconic images of Grotowski’s productions.


This program is presented by Interdisciplinary Performance Studies at Yale (IPSY) and the Theatre Studies program at Yale University. The events are part of the Poland-U.S. Campus Arts Project, a program of the Adam Mickiewicz Institute in Warsaw, Poland.



November 13 – Lynda Paul – Las Vegas and Virtual Tourism: Sonic Shaping of Simulated Worlds

In 1998, anthropologist Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett noted that, “Increasingly, [tourists] travel to actual destinations to experience virtual places.” Over a decade has passed since Kirshenblatt-Gimblett demonstrated this phenomenon in Destination Culture: Tourisms, Museums, and Heritage, but the observation remains pertinent today: physically real locations—such as Las Vegas, Macau, and Disneyland—serve increasingly as the material grounds upon which virtual tourist experiences are carefully constructed. In such places, visitors from afar travel physically to one location in order to be immersed in sights and sounds that simulate other places and times. In the case of Las Vegas, the visual dimensions of such simulations (architectural replicas, etc.) have been theorized in a number of studies, but the role that sound plays in these virtual touristic experiences is only beginning to be addressed. This paper contributes to this discussion by investigating the multi-layered ways in which sound contributes to the creation of virtual touristic worlds on the Las Vegas Strip. I move from the sounds of the Strip itself (the hawkers’ cries, the casinos’ themed music) to the elaborate and frequently exotic sound worlds of the Strip’s most prominent entertainment today: its seven Cirque du Soleil shows. I argue that these shows self-reflexively mirror Las Vegas’s strategies of virtual tourism, using music in particular to evoke a sense of experiential travel by asking the audience to be virtually absorbed in a spatially or temporally distant world, and ultimately creating a sense of expansive touristic experience within the otherwise emphatically site-specific shows.


PSWG October 2nd Elizabeth Wiet — Jack Smith, Charles Ludlam, and the Objects of Camp

This week the PSWG blog takes the form of a curated set of responses to Elizabeth Wiet’s paper ‘Jack Smith, Charles Ludlam, and the Objects of Camp’ delivered and discussed October 2nd. We asked Elizabeth to select two key objects of performance to stimulate critical response from fellow PSWG scholars. By ‘objects of performance’ we mean things which embody, depict, surrogate, reflect, describe or resonate with a performance in the past and which constitute the focus of our critical attention. They could be films, audio recordings, clothes, anecdotes, buildings, gestures and so on- in short, objects by which we know the presence- or disappearance- of a performance.

Elizabeth chose an anecdote and a film. Here they are, with exhibition label-type responses from Elise Morrison (Performance Studies), Lina Moe (English) and John Cooper (Art History).


“The more people have told me that I had to get away from the word “camp,” that it’s terrible that people would call my work “camp,” the more I decided to embrace it. If nobody wants it, come to me! Bring me your poor, your tired, your yearning to be free! Let my theatre be the repository of all forbidden theatrical conventions!”

Charles Ludlam
anecdote quoted in Ridiculous Theatre: Scourge of Human Folly, the Essays and Opinions of Charles Ludlam, ed. Steven Samuels (New York, 1992) p. 227


October 9 – Joseph Clarke: Theater Acoustics and Immersive Aesthetics

In the early nineteenth century, German architects used a brief enthusiasm for technical research on theater acoustics as an occasion to consider the experiential aesthetics of bourgeois collectivity. When the designer Carl Ferdinand Langhans rejected as sonically problematic the classic French model of the elliptical theater — with the performer stationed at one focus and the royal box at the other — he effectively overturned the assumption that each performance had one “correct” instance of perception, defined as whatever reached the privileged sensorium of the enlightened despot. His challenge to the old optical model and his new theorization of building sound as an immersive medium paved the way for aesthetic theories of empathy later in the century.

We invite you to attend the “Sound of Architecture” Symposium in preparation for our discussion session and Joseph Clarke’s talk on October 9th.