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Presentness: Developing Presence Through Psychophysical Actor-Training

Presentness: Developing Presence Through Psychophysical Actor-Training

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Title: Presentness: Developing Presence Through Psychophysical Actor-Training
Author: Ravid, Ofer
Abstract: Abstract
There is a variety of understandings of the notion of presence in theatre and performance studies as well as in the field of actor-training. Presentness, an aspect of presence, is the experience of the emerging here and now as shaped by the performer’s psychophysical engagement with his or her surrounding. It is, thus, a tangible aspect of presence that can be enhanced and developed through training. Presentness developed through training is an acting skill although it does not necessarily determine how actors act in terms of style or form. Rather, techniques of presentness are meant to develop and fine-tune the actor’s instrument as a psychophysical whole that can be used for any style and type of acting.
This dissertation examines processes of developing presentness in the practice of three prevalent psychophysical acting techniques in North American actor-training: Viewpoints, Suzuki, and Lecoq. It is based on three years of practice-based research as participant and observer in various training sites with these techniques. Building on detailed descriptions of practiced moments accompanied by interviews and conversations with practitioners and teachers, various emerging manifestations of presentness are exposed to make a complex and deep understanding of this term. Using Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology alongside theories from the emerging field of cognitive neuroscience grounds the experiential accounts of ephemeral processes within concrete existing constructs of motility, perception, and cognition.
Subject: Theater
Performing arts
Keywords: Practice-based research
Psycho-physical acting techniques
Phenomenology of acting
Cognitive studies
Type: Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
Rights: Author owns copyright, except where explicitly noted. Please contact the author directly with licensing requests.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10315/27660
Supervisor: Levin, Laura
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Program: Theatre and Performance Studies
Exam date: 2014-03-24
Publish on: 2014-07-09

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