“In the new theatre the idea of the actor’s costume has been thoroughly revised. The theatrical costume is “unusable” in the real life – its “usability” is a symptom of the downfall of the theatre lured by the deceptive spell of naturalism. However, let me proceed. I undermine the idea of the historical costume, which, because of being anachronistic, created, and still creates, a false illusion of theatricality. As a matter of fact, it belongs to the real life in the same way as jacket and trousers.
If we assume that the actor’s body, as everyone else’s, is harmoniously proportioned in accordance with the specific practical functions it has – a proposal to change these orderly proportions becomes a very tempting one, with many opportunities emerging in consequence, such as the possibility of conveying certain ideas which do not fit into the omnipresent, intrusive reality of everyday life.
I am not convinced whether the actor’s body is really to be perceived as a sanctity (inherited from the ancient times and confirmed academically) so great that it could not be moulded more freely.
If we agree that the historical costume, which was used so frequently in the theatre, deformed the human body in a radical way for specific and very practical reasons, and that the modern costume does the same (for, in fact, whatever is imposed on the human body causes its deformation, at least to a certain degree) – then why not treat the actor’s formation freely for artistic reasons by increasing his bodily “scope”, by multiplying the dimensions he occupies, and by emphasizing his mutability and specifically directed tensions in free and artistically purposeful arrangements.
On this approach the actor’s individuality – emerging from conventionalized experience and
so far to be seen only in the facial expression, in body movements, or in the reactions of the nervous system – will have to involve in much more intricate tasks, in which the underlying power of expression will be much greater. The actor’s individuality will have to penetrate and move the new organism which is and should be formed by a perfect merger between the living matter of the human body and the finished theatrical form.”
Pleśniarowicz, Krzysztof (sel. and ed. by). Metamorfozy. Teksty o latach 1938-1974. [Metamorphoses. Texts about the years 1928 – 1974] Kraków: Ośrodek Dokumentacji Sztuki Tadeusza Kantora Cricoteka, Księgarnia Akademicka, 2000, p. 235.