The author draws an apparently uninteresting file out of the Odin Teatret Archives: it contains official letters, expense accounts, some press cuttings, brief exchanges of information between Grotowski and Odin Teatret, or Grotowski and Eugenio Barba. They date back to the decade 1980-1990. For more than 20 years Barba and Odin Teatret had been following a route that was more and more distant from Grotowski. The papers kept in file 23 seem to document a listless relationship, simple exchange of favours and occasional collaborations. But as soon as we take a closer look at them, their sense changes. An unforeseen truth appears, a subtle illusion: those contracts, and the letters written by Barba to remind Grotowski of his engagements, the cold and peremptory business letters are written to be read by others, in Embassies and Ministries. So, the papers in file 23 witness a skirmishing with the bureaucrats of a totalitarian regime in order to allow the Polish artist to widen his range of action outside his own country. They also witness the strong solidarity and bond existing between the two personalities who have deeply influenced the history of theatre of the second half of the 20th c., and the necessity to know the Polish background to be able to understand the two directors’ mental frame. In short, jumping from the archive documents to a case hidden in a Polish barn, what emerges is the white-hot meeting of two rebel young men at the beginning of the Sixties.
Schino, M. (2010). La busta 23. Serie Grotowski, Odin Teatret Archives. TEATRO E STORIA, 30, 171-209.