April 25, 2011: Performance Workshop: Song, Text and Organicity with Alejandro Tomás Rodriguez

Monday, April 25, 2011

Performance Workshop: Song, Text and Organicity with Alejandro Tomás Rodriguez

Ale_Photo_1_CropWorkshop in techniques of Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowski and Thomas Richards.

Why do theater in a world that seems to be falling apart?  What is the use?  What is the value?  As an actor, as an artist what am I supposed to do?  Do I have a responsibility to do something?

Amidst cyclical worldwide struggles, the domain of theatre appears to hold a potential for direct contact between human beings outside the social game of power: mine-yours, ours-theirs, I-you.  The desire for this kind of contact springs from a basic human need  or a basic human lack  which seems to exist in individuals regardless of their socio-cultural background.  Can the birthplace of this desire be located in us even somewhere before our individual differences?

Being actively involved in the Workcenter's practice for the past four years, I am witnessing a living possibility between and within human beings which knows neither boundaries nor landlords nor calling cards and is rooted in a practice that neither denies nor encourages ideologies.  This possibility, framed by a continuous creative process, is at the very core of the Workcenter's practice: daily work which at once embraces a high level of competence in the craft of acting and the discovery of human potentialities.

Work session:

What happens to an actor when performing? What changes? What remains the same?  Actions, tempo rhythm, impulses, contacts, associations, text, song -- a complex dialogue occurs within the actor and manifests itself as a specific behavior, or character.  So, what are the dynamic processes at work within the performer?  What is the perception that a person can have of these changes?

The practical work will involve a singing session with songs from different sources:
- Songs from African and Afro-Caribbean traditions.
- Songs of tradition from the South of the United States, which form a central part of the work material of the Workcenter's Open Program.
- Songs composed by the Workcenter's Open Program team members based on the poems of Allen Ginsberg, which are the core of the performance structures of the Open Program.

The work session will also include physical games and exercises intended to guide the participants toward a readiness to react to their surroundings.


Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowski and Thomas Richards was founded in 1986 by Jerzy Grotowski, one of the most influential theatre practitioners of the 20th century.  The Workcenter is currently comprised of two teams: the Focus Research Team in Art as Vehicle and the Open Program of which Alejandro Tomás Rodriguez is a member.  Directed by Mario Biagini, the Workcenter's Associate Director, the Open Program continues to develop the tradition of performance research initiated by Grotowski in new ways.  Current performances integrate songs of tradition, original Open Program compositions and the poetry of Allen Ginsberg to investigate the human condition within the socio-political reality of the contemporary moment.

Alejandro Tomás Rodriguez was born in 1980 in Rosario, Argentina. He trained as an actor at the "Escuela Provincial de Teatro 3013" in Rosario, Argentina, and completed his graduate studies in "Academic Actualization in the Theory of Art".  As a circus artist, he has specialized in slack rope technique since 2003.  In Rosario, Rodriguez created and was a member of several theatre and circus groups.  He began directing in 2004.  In addition to his performance work, Rodriguez founded and edited "Señales en la Hoguera: Theatre Retrospective Magazine" which researched the history of Argentinean theatre groups and directors.

Rodriguez moved to Europe to perform with his own company.  Basing himself in Brussels, he continued his studies in slack rope technique and participated in a creative project at the Espace Catastrophe. Rodriguez participated in the "XIV Session of the Eurasian Theater University" directed by Eugenio Barba with Franco Ruffini, Nicola Savarese and Ferdinando Taviani in Ravenna, Italy and in "Odin Week 2007" organized by the Nordisk Teaterlaboratorium and Odin Teatret in Holstebro, Denmark.  He took part in a workshop led by Laboratory Theatre actor Zygmunt Molik at the Grotowski Institute, Wrocław, Poland.  Rodriguez has been with the Workcenter's Open Program since 2007.

Important Information:

Maximum Enrollment: 18 people. To enroll in the workshop, go to:

The cost is $40.

Clothing: Please come dressed in clothing that is both elegant (not necessarily formal) and allows freedom of movement.  These should not be gym clothes or sweats.  This set of clothing should be special in some way  that is, not clothes that are worn everyday.  Men are encouraged to wear elegant shirts (not t-shirts) and pants.  Women are encouraged, but not required, to wear skirts which allow comfortable bending and movement of the legs (preferably long and wide enough to allow freedom of movement).

You will need a picture ID to enter the building. 
Please arrive early as we will start the work promptly at 6:00 PM.

April 25, 2011. 6-10pm
  • Experimental Theater Wing at Tisch School of the Arts/ New York University
    • 721 Broadway, 2nd Floor
      NYC, NY 10003
    • (map)
    Sponsored by the Workcenter/Americas, the Experimental Theater Wing at Tisch School of the Arts, and the Hemishperic Institute of Performance and Politics.