2012-03-11
2017-04-26

Ewa Oleszko-Molik

Molik Zygmunt

(1930–2010), actor, theatre theorist, pedagogue.

Zygmunt Molik

Tax Identification Number (NIP) 898–181–82–17. I am deliberately providing this number. Given the dearth of documents, with those that are available dispersed around the whole globe more or less, I am using primarily documents from the Polish Artistic Agency PAGART archives, dated between 4 April 1978 and 15 June 1989, to verify the information provided here. The materials are mainly ‘Zgłoszenia Prowizji’ (applications for commission). The Agency held the passports of all artists and thus organised all foreign activities, taking a 10% commission for its services.

Zygmunt Molik destroys the dominant stereotype about members of the Laboratory Theatre group. Molik is indeed highly ‘logical’, ‘clear’, ‘comprehensible’, ‘rational’, and also reserved, particularly when issuing judgements about others. This does not mean, however, that he fails to have an opinion on various matters – he certainly does, but only when these matters are of fundamental significance to him. He is not and never has been suitable material for a ‘fanatic’. I believe that it is simply in his nature to be resistant to this for his entire life. [...] He is one of the central pillars of Jerzy Grotowski’s Laboratory Theatre, one of the most important theatre companies in the history of modern theatre. [...] It was at the Laboratory Theatre that he enjoyed his greatest successes as an actor, with at least two of his roles sure to enter the canon of theatre history: as Jacob-Harpist in Akropolis, based on Wyspiański’s drama, and as Judas in Apocalypsis cum Figuris, his final accomplishment as an actor. [...] When it became necessary to introduce daily exercises and training to the group’s work – this was in autumn 1960 during work on Shakuntalā – Molik led work on voice training. It was his responsibility to test the functioning of those famous ‘resonators’, which in the 1960s (particularly after the group had begun touring abroad and Towards a Poor Theatre had been published in English in 1968) caused such a furore around the world [...]. With Grotowski once referring to Jerzy Gurawski as a ‘doctor of theatrical space’ (made in reference to the role of medieval ‘doctors of the Church’), we might say that Molik was and is a ‘doctor of vocal work’, which in this particular case is based on ‘bringing the voice out of corporeality, out of doing with the entire organism’ [...].

(Zbigniew Osiński, ‘Zygmunt Molik’, [in:] Zygmunt Molik, Zbigniew Osiński (ed.), Ośrodek Badań Twórczości Jerzego Grotowskiego i Poszukiwań Teatralno-Kulturowych, Wrocław 1992, p. 3–6.)

Zygmunt Molik was born in Kraków on 4 April 1930 and died in Wrocław on 6 June 2010. He was the son of Mikołaj and Maria (née Zych). He had an elder sister, Joanna, who currently lives in Gdańsk (she studied history of art). The Molik family lived in Kraków at 19 Krowoderska Street. He attended the St. Wojciech primary school which was located opposite his home, yet he always managed to be the last to arrive. He did not find school at all difficult. No one ever saw him studying, yet he had outstanding grades. He passed the exams known as ‘mała matura’ (something like English “O” Levels or GCSEs) as part of secret schooling run by Prof. Zarzycki in Kraków. He passed his ‘matura’, or final school exams, at the Stefan Żeromski comprehensive school in Jelenia Góra in 1948. He was in a class specialising in the humanities, while one of his classmates was Krzysztof Jaxa-Chamiec, who also went on to become an actor. Meanwhile, Stanisław Bareja – who became a film director – studied at the same school in the class specialising in maths and science. The family moved to Jelenia Góra, in Lower Silesia, in order to help an uncle who was ill following a period spent in a camp in Płaszów and had been sent to work after the war in Jeżów Sudecki near Jelenia Góra, where there was an airstrip for gliders and a factory producing them. Zygmunt lived in the village for a while and was taken to school by horse and cart.

In September 1948 he began a law degree at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków. Some years on he recalled:

The degree was wonderful and very interesting. The old, prewar professors were still lecturing at the Jagiellonian University at the time. It was a fantastic time, I passed the first semester. Following this, unfortunately, the spring came and I think I must have been too young to focus so seriously, because... I shifted my attentions to the stadium and the swimming pool there. And so it was hard for me to return to my cohort. When the autumn came around again, I felt like studying, and so I went to the Sports Academy (AWF) in Warsaw. And here the same thing – for six months everything went well for me. But then we had a bit too much free time and we played a lot of bridge through the nights. This meant that the Union of Polish Youth (ZMP) decided to kick me and a friend out for such extravagances even though we had very good grades. It was felt that we were introducing harmful decadent-intelligentsia ferment to the institution – absolutely terrible, playing bridge at night! We ought to remember, though, that this was the start of the 1950s and a lot of things were beginning to change. The disloyal, prewar professors were being removed and replaced by some lecturers and assistants. [...] The following academic year I returned to the law degree [...]. I started to study, but this time I gave up already after two weeks [...]. It was a completely different university, a different level. It was impossible to study.

I couldn’t think what to do with myself, such a lost young man. By chance I found myself at ‘Artos’ having received a reference from a colleague from Jelenia Góra, Jerzy Jarocki, with whom I took my final school exams. He was already studying at a theatre school. He taught me some poem or other and I went for an audition. That was all that I was able to do in this field. I worked like this for a year or eighteen months.

(Teresa Wilniewczyc: ‘Całe moje życie: Rozmowa z Zygmuntem Molikiem, aktorem Teatru 13 Rzędów i Teatru Laboratorium’ [‘My whole life: In conversation with Zygmunt Molik’], Notatnik Teatralny, 2001, no. 22–23, p. 113–114)

Zygmunt Molik, Opole 1961Within a month he had already earned as much as his father was paid in a year. The Moliks lived at 22 Krowoderska Street at the time, with a view onto the lush gardens of the convent of the sisters of the Order of the Visitation of Holy Mary. On 12 January 1951, Zygmunt Molik began military service in the 36th Infantry Regiment, with his record stating he was an office worker, 166cm tall, with chest measurements of 90/83. With a rank of staff sergeant with military specialism as a clerk, draughtsman and librarian, he joined the Song and Dance Company led by Leopold Kozłowski as an announcer and compère.

These two years of service were quite pleasant under his wing. He wanted to have me in the choir, but during an audition I sang out of tune so wonderfully and believably that he abandoned his hopes immediately. I couldn’t be bothered singing – four hours of rehearsals! (‘Całe moje życie’, p. 114). On 16 October 1953 Zygmunt Molik was transferred to the military reserve.

On 1 September 1953 he began studying at the Performance Department at the Aleksander Zelwerowicz State Theatre Academy (PWST) in Warsaw. During his studies he lived initially at 6 Lipiński Street before moving to a student dormitory at 56 Krakowskie Przedmieście. One of the other inhabitants at the time gave him a photo on 12 April 1959 bearing the dedication: ‘In memory of our four years of hellish cohabitation – to Monsieur Ripois, Jurek Połomski’. Zygmunt Molik was an outstanding student at the Academy, receiving both the dean’s and provost’s grants. The professors at the Department were: Kazimierz Rudzki (live speaking and acting), Henryk Borowski (acting), Irena Kwiatkowska (live speaking), Leon Wyrzykowski (live speaking), Leon Schiller (stage song), Jerzy Kreczmar (general literature), Ludwik Sempoliński, Karol Stromenger (music, history of general theatre), Piotr Michałowski (voice), Leon Bukowiecki (solfège, choir), Jan Białostocki (history of art). Molik was awarded his diploma in acting in June 1957 (diploma number 131). His diploma piece, a version of Julian Tuwim’s four-act farce based on Franz von Schöntan’s The Rape of the Sabine Women, was presented on 27, 28, 29, 31 May and 1, 3 June. Stanisława Perzanowska, in collaboration with Stanisław Jaśkiewicz, supervised the directing of the piece. From 1 September 1957, Molik was employed at Teatr 7.15 in Łódź, whose artistic director was Jerzy Antczak. By 30 September 1958 he had acted in two performances directed by Antczak: as the Doctor and Commissar in Ferenc Molnár’s Liliom (premiere 9 February 1958) and as the Major in Agatha Cristie’s Mousetrap (premiere 22 May 1958).

When I finished it [my studies] I had to go to a theatre, so I chose quite a new one, created in the same year that I finished school. Absolutely unknown – unknown director, unknown people. Only the programme was rather ambitious. So after one year the theatre finished and me with it. I was once more quite free.

(unpublished interview with Jenny Kumiega, 3 March 1981)

With the start of the new theatre season on 1 September 1958, Molik began collaborating with the State Theatre of the Opole Region [Teatr Ziemi Opolskiej] led by Marian Godlewski. Here he also appeared in two performances: Lato w Nohant (Summer at Nohant) by Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz (in the role of Maurycy; premiere 6 December 1958, directed by Marian Godlewski) and Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare (as Fabian; premiere 4 April 1959, directed by Romana Bohdanowicz). He also ended his association with the theatre after a year.

There was something missing [...] I was waiting for something [...] When my friend Jerzy Turek told me to join the Teatr Ziemi Opolskiej, where he was already working, I came and signed up very quickly. Again it was pleasant, but it still wasn’t what I was looking for. I was still waiting. [...] And then one day Grotowski came to the theatre. He said [...] that he wants to make theatre which is to define and deepen knowledge about being, existence, something like that. He used some Greek term. This intrigued me. I didn’t hesitate and joined the Theatre of 13 Rows.

(‘Całe moje życie’, p. 114)

I met Grotowski in 1955. We encountered each other at a student education camp. He was studying acting in Kraków, I was in Warsaw. I found Jerzy’s presentation on the subject of internal monologue very interesting. Once I got my diploma, I worked for a year in Łódź and a year at the Teatr Ziemi Opolskiej. To tell the truth, I wasn’t much interested in acting at that time. It was fun, no more than that. [...] I was waiting for something truly important, something that would consume me and become my life. – And then Grotowski appeared in Opole. – Indeed. He pulled me out of the theatre...

(Tadeusz Burzyński,‘O Grotowskim i tajemnicach głosu. Rozmowa z Zygmuntem Molikiem’ [On Grotowski and the mysteries of the voice: In conversation with Zygmunt Molik]. Gazeta Robotnicza. Magazyn Tygodniowy, 1990 no. 121, 25 May, p. 6. Reprinted in: Tadeusz Burzyński, Mój Grotowski [My Grotowski], Janusz Degler and Grzegorz Ziółkowski (eds), Wrocław 2006, p. 287)

Zygmunt Molik, Opole 1964

Molik officially began working with the Theatre of 13 Rows on 1 September 1959. On 8 March 1963, Jerzy Grotowski signed for an increase in Molik’s pay to 2,900 zlotys per month (132/63/T), while in October that year the Ministry of Culture and Art (MKiS) stated that Zygmunt Molik is ‘employed periodically [...] as an actor and lives periodically at flat 7, 25 Sienkiewicz Street – therefore he has the right to occupy this accommodation’ (MKiS T.V.15/53/63, dated 3 October 1963). On 14 February 1959, Molik became a member of the Trade Union of Artistic Institutions (Katowice branch), receiving membership card number 8544 and he paid his fees until 1971. He was thus able to buy discounted tickets for performances or make use of the holiday facilities in Dziwnów (as he did from 29 June 1970). He was also a member of the Polish Association of Film and Theatre Artists (ZASP) from 19 August 1958 (membership number 3166).

At the Theatre of 13 Rows he appeared in the following roles: Heurtebis in Orpheus, the Barber in Kabaret Błażeja Sartra (Błażej Sartre’s Cabaret, which he also directed), Alpha and Omega in Cain, Optymistienko in Mystery Bouffe, King Dushyanta in Shakuntalā, Gustaw-Konrad in Dziady (Forefather’s Eve), Theodor in The Idiot, Doctor, Satan, the Gardener, Pope, Tsar and the Stranger in Kordian, Jacob and the Harpist in Akropolis, the Old Man and Bartek in Dr Faustus and Hamlet in Studium o Hamlecie (Hamlet Study). He also directed and performed in the factomontage Pamiętnik Śląski (A Silesian Memoir). He was one of the group’s chief actors who created leading and demanding roles that were highly varied, the best of which were his appearances in Dziady, Kordian, Akropolis (see: video excerpt) and Studium o Hamlecie. These performances are among Molik’s greatest achievements and also represent crucial moments in the history of both Polish as well as European acting. Within the workshop practice and training exercises carried out regularly from 1960, Molik was responsible for work on the voice. He also began leading workshops on the voice for foreign actors (Helsinki 1–15 April 1964) – Kansainvalisen Teatteri-Instituutin Suomen Keskus, Svenska Teaterus Elevskola. During this period he also made occasional appearances in Polish films (including Krzyż walecznych [Cross of Valour; 1958] and Tarpany [Wild horses; 1961], both directed by Kazimierz Kutz). In addition to this, as part of the Theatre of 13 Rows Poetic Platforms, he directed Pamiętnik Śląski (A Silesian memoir; 9 July 1961).

In 1964, Zygmunt Molik married Teresa (née Płachtej; d. 17 May 1995). They had two children together, a son Rafał (1 November 1967) and a daughter Anna (27 September 1974).

In 1965, when the Theatre of 13 Rows moved to Wrocław, Molik stopped working with Grotowski’s group for eighteen months. Years later, he explained his reasons for doing so:

I was already so exhausted and tired that I was no longer physically able to carry out further work. It was a vital necessity that I stop. Grot and Flaszen were crazy initially, but when I was leaving they did everything they could to convince me to stay, but I was in no state to be able to do so. I had several years of heavy physical toil under my belt [...] Just imagine for a moment – in order for us to meet our targets during a tour of the Opole region we would play Akropolis two or three times a day!

(‘Całe moje życie’, p. 115)

Having left Grotowski’s group, Molik found work at the Państwowy Teatr Rozmaitości (State Variety Theatre) in Kraków where, in accordance with the contract signed with its artistic director Halina Gryglaszewska on 19 March 1966 and due to come into effect on 1 September 1966, he received a salary of 3,300 zlotys per month. At Teatr Rozmaitości he appeared in the following performances: Boeing-Boeing (Latające narzeczone) by Marco Camoletti, directed by Halina Gryglaszewska (as Robert, premiere: 3 October 1965); Dallas, w samo południe (Dallas, at high noon; as the Narrator – premiere 22 December 1966) by Ryszard Smożewski and Stefan Bratkowski, directed by Ryszard Smożewski; Fear and Misery of the Third Reich by Bertold Brecht, directed by Gryglaszewska (as The First SS Officer, Scientist Y, Dievenbach, Prosecutor, Man (from the office), Pastor, Announcer; premiere 31 August 1966) and Kiss Me, Kate! by Cole Porter, directed by Jerzy Ukleja (as Gangster I; premiere 16 November 1966).

This was great entertainment for me, a charming musical repertoire. I sang, tap-danced. We toured around those beautiful villages of the Podhale region, since it was partly a touring theatre. A wonderful time. [...] But I legged it mid-season because Grotowski summoned me due to an important tour of Akropolis [...] It seemed that no one could replace me in my role.

(Całe moje życie, p. 116)

Molik remained a member of the Laboratory Theatre from 1 March 1967 until its dissolution, participating in foreign tours of Akropolis and The Constant Prince, playing Tarudante in its third version (premiere 19 March 1968). In 1968 he spent seventy days on the road with the group in various countries and continents: Edinburgh, Paris, Twickenham near London (to film Akropolis), Mexico (Games of the XIX Olympiad), and Aix-en-Provence. During this tour alone, Molik played Jacob and the Harpist 62 times (with another seven days of filming on top), while appearing in the role of Tarudante another twelve times. In Grotowski’s final performance, Apocalypsis cum Figuris, Molik created one of his greatest roles, playing Judas.

Zygmunt Molik

His main memory from 1969 will have been performances in the United Kingdom and USA. One of his most memorable moments of that year was a grand party hosted by André Gregory, with guests including André Previn and Leonard Bernstein who was accompanied by his wife (and spent most of the evening arguing furiously with her). The large crowd of the great and the good was, though, primarily interested in the wonders of the bar...

1970 was most memorable for taking The Constant Prince to Iran and Lebanon. Zygmunt’s wardrobe still contains a dressing gown given to him as a private gift by Farah Diba, Empress of Iran! Other memorable moments include the bowls of astrakhan caviar which were mainly devoured by Molik, given the others’ lack of interest. He also remembers the omnipresent security on the tour: going to the toilet behind a bush could have resulted in defiling a state official.

During the following years, he toured Poland and the world with The Constant Prince and Apocalypsis cum Figuris. In 1973–74 he also participated in paratheatrical training (in Brzezinka, the USA, France and Australia), although he did not – yet – belong to the group of people most intensively engaged in this form of activity.

I didn’t feel too well with it. I wasn’t exactly that I stopped, but I became more a man of support, from the outside. My presence at that time was not necessary in the work, but I wondered everywhere with the group. My function was connected with what, in the army, are called logistics – taking care of approvisations, supplies, problems – I took care of all that was necessary so that the others could feel safe and secure

(Unpublished interview with Jenny Kumiega, 3 March 1981).

On 2 January 1975, Molik became director of the Acting Therapy Professional Laboratory and led consultation and advisory sessions on acting techniques.

Acting Therapy was initially conceived as a means of assisting professional actors enduring difficulties in their work. We wanted to communicate part of our experiences of overcoming the typical blocks that actors faced in their voice, body, breathing and energy. It turned out to be the case, however, that the most serious physical blocks are in fact so deeply connected to the psyche that in the long-term it was essential to concentrate on the individual, regardless of whether we were dealing with an actor, someone barely connected with theatre activities, or someone interested in the issues raised by Acting Therapy for completely different, often very personal, reasons.

(Zygmunt Molik, personal papers)

In accordance with these principles, initial efforts concentrated on generating interest in the professional ‘clinic’ through information meetings (in Warsaw, Kraków, Poznań Olsztyn and other places, in April and May 1975) organised for ‘Our Fellow Actors who are interested in the experience and practice of overcoming difficulties with breathing, the voice, relaxing the body and lethargy’. In the following years, the activities falling under the scope of Acting Therapy were extended, while the whole project became international. Gradually the activities of the ‘clinic’ became focused on Zygmunt Molik and the workshops led by him, which around 1980 acquired another title of equal in significance to Acting Therapy – namely Voice and Body. Between 1979 and 1981 he also participated in the activities that were part of the Tree of People cycle.

Below is a timeline noting the activities carried out by Zygmunt Molik as part of Acting Therapy and Voice and Body, as well as his work as a director performed both independently and in conjunction with members of the Laboratory Theatre between 1975 and 1991. Establishing the specific dates and locations of certain work during this period is difficult at times, since there are significant discrepancies in the sources available.

Timeline:

1975

  • May, Wrocław – Acting Therapy training session
  • 28–29 June, 5–6 July, Wrocław – Acting Therapy training sessions
  • September, Venice – Biennale di Venezia ‘University of Research II’ San Giacomo in Palude
  • October, Venice – Apocalypsis cum Figuris, tour
  • 31 October – 5 November – Acting Therapy consultations as part of the Biennale
  • 7–14 November, 16–22 November – Acting Therapy, as part of the Biennale

1976

  • 28 January – 7 February, Opole – external consulting at the Jan Kochanowski Theatre
  • 26 March – 5 April, Lausanne – Acting Therapy
  • 1 May – 30 July, La Tenaille (France) – Grotowski 76 Training Institute, with Acting Therapy as part of it: 1–3 and 4–15 May
  • August, Wrocław – sessions for a group of American trainees (Polish culture and language for foreigners)
  • 16–29 November, Wrocław – recordings by the French studio Cinopsis resulting in the documentary film titled Acting Therapy

Rules for the film crew:

Although filming must also take place at the very beginning, the participants should be convinced that this is merely to aid ‘familiarisation’. Later, the camera must accompany them at all times in order for the camera to become something quite ordinary (just another participant) even when the camera is ‘blind’ (Source: Zygmunt Molik, personal archive).

1977

  • 2 January, he takes over the role of leader of the Acting Therapy training programme
  • 1–11 February, 28 February – 11 March, West Berlin – Acting Therapy
  • 15–30 March, New York – Acting Therapy as part of ‘Manhattan Project’
  • 31 March – 20 April, Hamilton (Canada) Actor’s Laboratory Theatre – Acting Therapy
  • 7–14 August, Wrocław – Acting Therapy
  • 18–30 October and 7–18 November, Berkeley, California – Acting Therapy (according to the contract with PAGART the stay lasted from 12 October to 21 November)

1978

  • 1 February – 12 March, Bordeaux – Acting Therapy
  • 7–14 June, Gdańsk-Oliwa Acting Therapy
  • June – July , Brisbane – practical sessions at Kelvin Grove College of Advanced Education
  • 6–18 October, Gdańsk – Apocalypsis cum Figuris

1979

  • January/February, Milan – six performances of Apocalypsis cum Figuris
  • 21 March receives Złoty Krzyż Zasługi (Golden Cross of Merit)
  • 20–30 April, Lecco (Italy) – Tree of People
  • June, Pontedera – Tree of People, Apocalypsis cum Figuris
  • 22–27 September, Bordeaux Voice and Body, second realisation of Tree of People programme
  • 16–30 October, Turin – Acting Therapy with Cooperativa della Svolta
  • November/December, Milan, Rome – Tree of People
  • 1979/1980, Wrocław University, Department of Polish Philology – lectures on the culture of the living word

1980

  • 18–23 January, Genoa – Apocalypsis cum Figuris
  • 2 March, Rawicz – Apocalypsis cum Figuris
  • 31 March – 12 April, Lausanne – Acting Therapy
  • 17–31 May, Turin – training sessions for Teatro del Canta – Voice and Body (information based on the documents of Giovanni Palmulli)
  • June, Bordeaux – Voice and Body, Athelier de Mussicotherapie (according to AFDAS documents 19 May – 11 June)
  • 23 August – 29 September, Toronto – Actor’s Laboratory Theatre, Voice Therapy
  • 3–17 November, Turin, Cabaret Voltaire, Voice and Body

1981

  • 21 January – 3 February, Lausanne, Théâtre Onza – Acting Therapy
  • 28 February – 6 March, Wrocław, Polish Thanatos – open rehearsals
  • 9 March – 3 May, Palermo/Trappeto ‘La realizzacioni’, seminar at Palermo University, Acting Therapy
  • 1–19 April, Bordeaux, Centre F.M. – Acting Therapy
  • July, West Berlin Theaterhaus – Acting Therapy
  • 22–31 October, Cardiff, participation in the international symposium as part of the Giving Voice cycle
  • 13 November – 4 December, West Berlin – Acting Therapy

1982

  • 5–18 March, Pontedera, Acting Therapy as part of an international session
  • 13–27 March, Livorno, Centro Teatrale Asylum – Voice and Body
  • 7–18 June, Aarhus – Laboratory Theatre workshops at Aarhus Teater Akademi – Stemme og Korp (Voice and Body)
  • 18–30 June, Cagliari – Confronti teatrali – Voice and Body
  • 1–18 June, Bordeaux, Centre F.M. – Voice and Body
  • 21 June – 10 August, Montalcino – Voice and Body
  • 22 September – 2 October, Wrocław – professional training and apprenticeships
  • 2–20 November, Cardiff, training sessions as part of Cardiff Laboratory Theatre (CPR)
  • 28 October 1982 – 15 February 1983, West Berlin, Hochschule der Künste (invited by Prof. Ruth Melching-Preller) – workshops and directing Henrik Ibsen’s Peer Gynt (premiere 12 February 1983)

1983

  • 13–29 April, Paris with Fonds d’Assurance Formation des Activities du Spectacle (AFDAS)
  • 3–11 and 13–20 May, Naples, Spontana Theater – Voice and Body
  • 22 May – 1 June, Vienna – Voice and Body
  • 15 June – 11 July, West Berlin – Voice and Body
  • August – October, Canada and United States
  • 28 August – 9 September, Toronto – Actor’s Laboratory Theatre, The Actor: Body and Voice
  • 12–20 September, New York – New York University
  • 25 September – 9 October, Montréal with Le Groupe de la Veillée
  • 14–29 October, Sherbrooke – Le Theatre de la Pour suite, Voice and Body
  • 2–9 October, Quebec, City October ’83, in collaboration with Dance Partout

1984

  • 28 January – 22 February, training at Berlin Theaterhaus
  • 12 March – 1 April, Holmfirth (Anglia) – training at Babel Theatre
  • 2–27 April, 7–14 May, Paris – training for AFDAS
  • 1–15 May, Zurich– training at Theaterschule (note: PAGART documents do not indicate any confirmation of this)
  • 22 June – 13 July, Berlin – Voice and Body
  • 16–31 August, Clermont-Ferrand – Voice and Body training at France Recherche Theatrale Vie
  • 25–29 September, 1–13 October, Paris – Body and Voice in collaboration with AFDAS
  • 27 October – 12 December, Toronto – Body and Voice
  • October, Ottawa – with The National Arts Centre and University of Ottawa

1985

  • 5 January – 12 February, Toronto – Actor’s Laboratory Theatre directing Shakespeare’s Macbeth
  • 23 March – early June, Vienna – training (according to a confirmation document for PAGART dated 13 June 1985)
  • 30 April – 12 May, Berlin – Voice and Body
  • 4–28 June, Paris – Voice and Body in collaboration with AFDAS
  • 28 June – 25 July, Berlin – Voice and Body
  • 1–30 August, Clermont-Ferrand – Voice and Body
  • 1–14 October, Paryż – Voice and Body in collaboration with AFDAS.
  • 27 October – 5 November, Toronto – Voice and Body at Actor’s Laboratory Theatre (note: PAGART documents contain no confirmation of this).
  • 27 December – 6 January 1986, Berne – Voice and Body

1986

  • 7–18 January, Gerlingen (Germany) – training
  • 28 February – 26 March, Theaterhaus in West Berlin – Voice and Body
  • 24 April – 2 May, Wilrijk/Antwerp – training at Belgia Centrum voor Experimenteel Theater
  • 5 May – 7 June, Paris – Voice and Body in collaboration with AFDAS
  • 11–14 June, Berne – Voice and Body
  • 28 June – 26 July, Berlin – directing a performance as part of the five-year anniversary of Theaterhaus (scenes, monologues, songs)
  • 1–9 August, Zurich – Voice and Body
  • 6–17 October, Hamburg – seminar titled Stimme und Körper at the Theatre Institute of Theater Monsun
  • 10–20 November, Tübingen – Voice and Body
  • 27 December – 4 January 1987, Zurich – International Weihnachtskurse

1987

  • 22 February – 10 March, Allston (USA) – Voice and Body
  • 20 March – 20 May, Berlin – together with Christopher Emrich he directs To Sing or Not to Sing at Theaterhaus, staging scenes from Shakespeare and Goethe (the performance was in memory of Zbigniew Cynkutis)
  • 10–30 June, Paris – Voice and Body in collaboration with AFDAS
  • 17 July – 2 August, Berlin, Theaterhaus – Voice and Body
  • 5–11 September, Oldenburg – Voice and Body
  • 12–31 October, Montpellier – Voice and Body at Conservatoire Nation de Region
  • 17 November – 1 December, Tübingen – Voice and Body
  • 1–18 December, Berlin – Voice and Body

1988

  • 10–15 February, Bremen – Voice and Body
  • 2–11 March, Berne – seminary on voice work at Zentrum für Dramatische Experimentation of Theater-Gruppe Tulari Boga (note: there is no confirmation of this in PAGART documents)
  • 27 March – 9 April, Berlin – Voice and Body
  • 9–28 May, Tübingen – Voice and Body
  • 7–31 July, Berlin – Voice and Body
  • 10–15 November, Bremen – Voice and Body

1989

  • 27 January – 19 February, Berlin – Voice and Body
  • 19–23 May, Wojków-Kowary – symposium dedicated to the thirtieth anniversary of the Laboratory Theatre.
  • May, Tübingen – Voice and Body
  • 8–20 July, Berlin – Voice and Body
  • 16–25 October, Turin, under the 10-year project ‘Spaziolaboratiorio’ – Voice and Body
  • 27 October – 4 November, Turin – Voice and Body

1990

  • 18 April, Wrocław, Grotowski Centre (Ośrodek Badań Twórczości Jerzego Grotowskiego i Poszukiwań Teatralno-Kulturowych) – meeting with the actors of the School of Dramatic Arts in Moscow, led by Anatoly Vasiliev.
  • 19–25 April, Cardiff – International Project ‘Giving Voice’
  • 3–17 May, Wrocław – training at the puppetry department of the State Drama Academy (PWST); directs Shakespeare’s King Lear

1991

  • 26–27 January, 3–4 February, Boston Theater Arts Faculty Music and Theater Arts – Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • 1–7 April, Wrocław – Voice and Body
  • 25–31 August, Prague – Voice and Body
  • November, Paris – Voice and Body in collaboration with AFDAS

1992

  • 5–20 May, Wrocław, Grotowski Centre – Voice and Body linked to the fortieth anniversary celebrations of Zygmunt Molik’s career

The premiere showing of a documentary film made during the meeting with Anatoly Vasiliev’s group from the Moscow School of Dramatic Arts also took place around this time (April 1990). An exhibition was also organised, titled ‘The Life and Works of Zygmunt Molik’ (curated by Barbara Kaczmarek); a special publication was also issued.

  • 1–11 November, Paris AFDAS, training programme: Chants... pour Vivre
  • 15–24 November, Turin – Voice and Body

The last three days of activities in this training session were recorded. Two short films emerged: a compilation of exercises and post-training conversations with students together with Zygmunt Molik presenting particular issues.

1993

  • 1–9 May, Wrocław, Grotowski Centre – training
  • 14–20 December, Wrocław, Grotowski Centre – training

1994

  • 12 April – 2 May, Wrocław, Grotowski Centre, training
  • 10–20 May, Turin, Voice and Body
  • 27 October – 5 November, Turin, Voice and Body

1995

  • 15–24 April, Turin, Voice and Body
  • 3–11 June, Ludwigsburg – Tanz-Theaterwerkstatt, Voice and Body
  • 25–29 September, Porsgrunn, Norwegian Theatre Laboratory
  • 30 May, Grenland Friteater, conference titled ‘My work with Grotowski’
  • 12–18 June, 17–23 December, Grotowski Centre, training sessions

1996

  • 27 April – 2 May, Wrocław, Grotowski Centre, training
  • 7–16 January and 18–23 May, Turin – Voice and Body. Seven students worked on the performance piece Divina Uscita, which took its inspiration from the texts of Samuel Beckett
  • 17, 18, 19 May – presentations of the performance Divina Uscita
  • 27 April – 2 May, Wrocław, Grotowski Centre, Voice and Body
  • 31 maja – 5 June, Ludwigsburg, Tanz-Theaterwerkstatt – Voice and Body
  • 14–28 June, Lausanne – Voice and Body
  • 28 July – 6 August, 8–17 August, Berlin, Voice and Body training sessions
  • 20–25 September, Cagliari (Sardinia) – Teatro Actores Alidos, session titled ‘On the work of Jerzy Grotowski and its reception’, meeting with Zygmunt Molik and Voice and Body training session
  • October, Paris – AFDAS, Voice and Body
  • 21–29 October, Utrecht – The Netherlands International and Intercultural Theatre Activities, Voice and Body – William Shakespeare’s Richard III (in collaboration with Emile Schra)
  • 7–11 November, Vilnius – Open Society House ‘The Shifting Point’, theatre forum, conference, Voice and Body training
  • 7–15 December, Kyiv – Les’ Kurbas State Centre for Theatrical Arts – presentation of documentary films and Voice and Body training

1997

  • 27 January – 27 February, Paris AFDAS, L’Acteur: Un Chant pour Vivre
  • 1–6 May, Grotowski Centre – Voice and Body
  • 13–19 June, Ludwigsburg, Tanze-Theaterwerkstatt – Voice and Body
  • 28 July – 6 August, 8–17 August, Studios Summer 1997 Berlin, Interkunst – Voice and Body
  • 31 August – 7 September, London, International Workshop Festival – Voice and Body
  • 16–25 September, Radolfzell am Badensee, Theater Institut Albatros – Voice and Body
  • 29 September – 28 October, Paris, AFDAS
  • 17–23 November, Brno, Janacek Academy of Music – Voice and Body

1998

  • 15–24 March, Michałowice – Voice and Body training
  • 6–11 April, Grotowski Centre, Voice and Body training
  • 20–25 April, Riga, Latvian Centre of the International Theatre Institute, Ministry of Culture in Riga and Dailes Teatris, Voice and Body training
  • 12 May – 10 June, 13–20 June, Ludwigsburg, Tanze-Theaterwerkstatt – Voice and Body
  • June/July, Paris AFDAS, Voice and Body
  • 15–24 September, Radolfzell am Bodensee, Theater Institut Albatros – Voice and Body
  • October, Allensbach – Voice and Body
  • 11 November – 28 December, Lisbon – Voice and Body

1999

  • 21–25 January Faenza – La Casa del Teatro and Teatro duo Mondi, public meeting of directors, actors, and others in the theatre; one of the events was an appearance by Zygmunt Molik and Voice and Body training
  • 28 January – 4 March, Paris AFDAS – Voice and Body
  • 20–30 March, Budapest – Voice and Body
  • 11–16 May, Wrocław, Grotowski Centre, Voice and Body
  • 22–28 May, Turin, ‘Speziolaboratorio’, conclusion of the project (1989–1999), Voice and Body training
  • 30 May – 4 June, Ludwigsburg, Tanz und Theaterwerkstatt, Voice and Body
  • 8–29 June, Lisbon – Centro Cultural de Belém, seminar for actors on the theme of the voice and the art of acting led by Molik
  • 14–23 September, Radolfzell am Bodensee, Theater Institut Albatros Voice and Body, incomplete training session due to illness

In February 2000, he is presented with the Krzyż Kawalerski Orderu Odrodzenia Polski (Knight’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta; dated 23 December 1999) by the President of the Republic of Poland in Warsaw.

17–22 April 2000: the first Voice and Body training session following Molik’s illness takes place at the Grotowski Centre in Wrocław (there were 31 applications and 15 participants). Further training sessions took place on 9–13 April 2001, 10–14 April, 16–22 September 2002, 13–18 April, 9–14 May 2003, 29 March – 3 April 2004, 19–23 March, 3–8 May, 7–12 June, 6–11 October, 8–12 November 2005, 19–23 April, 17–21 May 2006, 14–16 January 2007 (this was a special event marking the renaming of the Grotowski Institute), 21–25 March, 17–21 April 2007, 14–18 March 2008. Throughout this period Zygmunt Molik also led training sessions at theatres and educational institutions in Poland (for example, Gdańsk Cultural Archipelago at MDK, Gdańsk; Jan Kochanowski Theatre in Opole; Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz Theatre in Zakopane; Leon Schiller State Film, Theatre and Television Academy in Łódź; State Theatre Academy, Kraków, and at its Wrocław campus; as part of a progamme run jointly with Manchester Metropolitan University; and at the Aleskander Zelwerowicz Theatre Academy in Warsaw). Each year he also ran numerous Voice and Body training sessions throughout Europe, often in combination with academic symposia (for example at Institut del Teatro l’Escola Superier d’art Dramatic in Barcelona, at Interkunst Academia der Künste in Berlin, at the University of Kent in Canterbury, and also at artistic institutions in Cagliari, Geneva, Naples, Brussels, Bordeaux, Lisbon, Madrid, Milan, Paris, Pula, Rome, Turin and Utrecht. In 2002 he received the first prize at the International Festival of Authorial Poetry in Mostar. In April 2005 he was a special guest at a session of the International School of Theatre Anthropology in Krzyżowa.

On 9 December 2008 he was awarded the Silver Medal ‘Zasłużony Kulturze Gloria Artis’ (Medal for Merit to Culture)

This long and yet still incomplete list of the varied educational and artistic activities performed by Zygmunt Molik shows that the original method of activating the voice through the body that he developed, known as ‘Molik’s Alphabet’, enjoyed great popularity and recognition. This was also connected to the Master’s personality, which was characterised by a collected and mild, patient and understanding, authentic and tangible engagement with the work carried out with each individual. His natural good spirits and sense of humour had a homeostatic influence on the mood amongst groups of students. He was helped in everything that he did by a great prudence in giving opinions and advice, which came from his many years of experience, and thanks to which he was able to make an inestimable contribution to the self-esteem, development of the personality and professional skills of workshop participants.

Does all this not make him quite extraordinary?

Bibliography: 

Giuliano Campo, Zygmunt Molik: Zygmunt Molik’s The Voice and Body Work. The Legacy of Jerzy Grotowski, Routledge, London–New York 2010.

Kalendarium 1930–1991. Opracowanie Barbara Wójcik. [w:] MOLIK, Wydawnictwo Centro di Lavoro Di Jerzy Grotowski, Pontedera III 1992.

Zygmunt Molik: Całe moje życie, rozmawiała Teresa Błażej-Wilniewczyc, „Notatnik Teatralny” 2001 nr 22–23, s. 111–123.

Zygmunt Molik: Być aktorem Grotowskiego, rozmawiała Agnieszka Wójtowicz, „Didaskalia. Gazeta Teatralna” 1999 nr 29 (luty), s. 4–5. Przedruk [w:] Agnieszka Wójtowicz: Od „Orfeusza” do „Studium o Hamlecie”. Teatr 13 Rzędów w Opolu (1959–1964), Wrocław 2004.

Zygmunt Molik: O Grotowskim i tajemnicach głosu, rozmawiał Tadeusz Burzyński, „Gazeta Robotnicza. Magazyn Tygodniowy” 1990 nr 121, z 25 maja, s. 1, 6–7. Przedruk [w:] Tadeusz Burzyński: Mój Grotowski, wybór i opracowanie Janusz Degler i Grzegorz Ziółkowski, posłowie Janusz Degler, Wrocław 2006, s. 285–291.

Zygmunt Molik, Ośrodek Badań Twórczości Jerzego Grotowskiego i Poszukiwań Teatralno-Kulturowych, Wrocław 1992, s. 13–19.