Ludwik Flaszen: Farewell to a Totem
Ludwik Flaszen, one of the founders of the theatre awareness in our times, died in Paris yesterday, Saturday 24 October 2020. In 1959, this courageous and renowned critic was nominated literary director of the small provincial Teatr 13 Rzedów in Opole, Poland. He chose as artistic partner an unknown 26-year-old director who had still not finished theatre school: Jerzy Grotowski. Together, in a few years, they changed the essence of theatre through their practice and writing.
Ludwik Flaszen believed in a “theatrical” theatre and was the first to write about a “poor theatre” in reference to Grotowski’s performance Akropolis. Most of all he was a free, defiant spirit. Grotowski liked to call him his “devil’s advocate”. When Grotowski left Poland in 1981, Ludwik continued the activity of the theatre in Wroclaw until its closure in 1984. Then, he moved to Paris, continuing to collaborate with the Grotowski Institute in Wroclaw at regular intervals.
Ludwik has been a mentor and a guide for many actors and directors in many parts of the world. Until recently, in the encounters with the younger generations, he was a captivating speaker, stimulating curiosity and questions. For me, who met him daily from 1961 to 1964 and often until a few months ago, he was more than an inspiration. I called him “rabbi”, the wise who knows the worth of the Word and Action.
Now Ludwik is together with his accomplice Jerzy. Both continue to live in my heart.
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