Phenomenology for Actors

by Daniel Johnston (Author)
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This book gives new insight into acting and theatre-making through phenomenology (the study of how the world shows itself to conscious experience). It examines Being-in-the-world in everyday life with exercises for workshops and rehearsal. Each chapter explores themes to guide the creative process through objects, bodies, spaces, being with others, time, history, freedom and authenticity. Key examples in the work are drawn from Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard, Sophocles’ Antigone and Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Practical tasks in each section explore how the theatrical event can offer unique insight into Being and existence. In this way, the book makes a bold leap to understand acting as an embodied form of philosophy and to explain how phenomenology can be a rich source of inspiration for actors, directors, designers and the creative process of theatre-making.

This original new book will provide new insight into the practice and theory of acting, stimulate new approaches to rehearsal and advance the notion of theatre making a genuine contribution to philosophical discourse.

The fundamental task of the actor is to be on stage with purposeful action in the given circumstances. But this simple act of ‘Being’ is not easy. Phenomenology can provide valuable insight into the challenge. For some time, scholars have looked to phenomenology to describe and analyse the theatrical event. But more than simply drawing attention to embodiment and the subjective experience of the world, a philosophical perspective can also shed light on broader existential issues of being.

No specialist knowledge of philosophy is required for the reader to find this text engaging and it will be relevant for second-year students and above at tertiary level.

For postgraduates and researchers, the book will provide a valuable touchstone for phenomenology and performance as research. The book will appeal to theatre and performance studies, and some applied philosophy courses. The material is also relevant to studies in literary and critical theory, cultural studies and comparative literature.

The work is relevant to The International Federation of Theatre Research (IFTR/FIRT) (Performance and Consciousness), Performance Studies International (psi) and the Performance Philosophy Research Network — an influential and growing research field.

Primary markets for this book will be students (both at university and conservatoires) and academics in theatre studies, as well as practitioners and actors in training. The text will be useful to students in units or modules relating to acting theory and theatre-making processes, and which combine critical theory with practical performance. It will also be useful for practitioners of theatre looking to expand or inflect their own methods of approaching performance.

Publication date
July 19, 2021
Publisher
ISBN
9781789384116
Paper ISBN
9781789384093
File size
5 MB