Rethinking Performance: A Cognitive Journey toward Excellent Play
Stieb, Corey Tazmania
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Perfectionistic traits, which have both cognitive and behavioral facets, can have negative effects on a performing artists psychology and/or their ability to perform at their best. A review of literature was undertaken, focused on psychological research studies that identified best practices in both sports and the performing arts. This review identified two types of practices - the cultivation of resilience skills, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy strategies - as the most promising means of addressing perfectionism while under pressure to excel as an actor in a theatrical performance. These practices were implemented in training, rehearsals and performances of a thesis role in a university masters program. Both types of practices were effective in, first, identifying environmental and individual stressors, and then creating behavioral replacements for perfectionism that were actionable, growth oriented, and engendered ownership of artistic process. These strategies have potential long term benefits in actor training programs, and deserve further attention.