Gurdjieff in the Theater

The Fourth Way of Jerzy Grotowski

in Religion and the Arts
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This article focuses on the links between revolutionary and iconoclastic Polish theater director Jerzy Grotowski (1933–1999), and G. I. Gurdjieff. Grotowski is widely honored in the theater world, and understood to have been involved in creating what have been called spiritual experiences within theater movements of the late twentieth century. His work articulated experiences of the spiritual within the body; achieving a removal of spirituality from ecclesial authorities and a relocation of it within the body of the performer. This article explores the manifold resonances between concepts used in Grotowski’s work and that of Gurdjieff, demonstrating how Grotowski’s transformative theater work shows strong elements of Gurdjieff’s influence. Because of the striking and numerous similarities explored herein, a place can be affirmed for Grotowski as an independent Western Fourth Way spiritual teacher, working in theater.