Acting, Archetype, and Neuroscience : Superscenes for Rehearsal and Performance book cover
1st Edition

Acting, Archetype, and Neuroscience
Superscenes for Rehearsal and Performance

ISBN 9781138822610
Published October 14, 2016 by Routledge
172 Pages

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Book Description

"How do we move actors into the less accessible regions of themselves and release hotter, more dangerous, and less literal means of approaching a role?"

Superscenes are a revolutionary new mode of teaching and rehearsal, allowing the actor to discover and utilize the primal energies underlying dramatic texts. In Acting, Archetype, and Neuroscience Jane Drake Brody draws upon a lifetime’s experience in the theatre, alongside the best insights into pedagogical practice in the field, the work of philosophers and writers who have focused on myth and archetype, and the latest insights of neuroscience.

The resulting interdisciplinary, exciting volume works to:

  • Mine the essentials of accepted acting theory while finding ways to access more primally-based human behavior in actors
  • Restore a focus on storytelling that has been lost in the rush to create complex characters with arresting physical and vocal lives
  • Uncover the mythical bones buried within every piece of dramatic writing; the skeletal framework upon which hangs the language and drama of the play itself
  • Focus on the actor’s body as the only place where the conflict inherent in drama can be animated.

Acting, Archetype, and Neuroscience weaves together a wealth of seemingly disparate performance methods, exciting actors to imaginatively and playfully take risks they might otherwise avoid. A radical new mixture of theory and practice by a highly respected teacher of acting, this volume is a must-read for students and performance practitioners alike.

Table of Contents



Section One: Origins

Chapter 1: Returning to Mythic Roots

Physical Beginnings of Acting

Current Actor Training

Current Training

Hymn: To Vulcan (Hephaistos), Fumigation from Frankincense and Manna

Chapter 2: Resurrecting Mythic Stories

Linking Neuroscience and Archetypal Mythology

Chapter 3: Primary Conflict and the Hero’s Journey

Primary Conflict: Order Versus Chaos

Peter and Wendy

Section Two: The Exercises and the Work

Chapter 4: The Exercises



Push, Pull, Hold, Release



Second Viewpoints Class: Contact and Company

Day Three: Company, Architecture, and Music

Chapter 5: Beginning Superscenes

Text and Archetypes

Fourth Session: Exercise: Using the Monomyth

A Linear Representation of the Hero’s Journey

Inciting Incident: Exact Scene? Exact Line? Exact Rationale?

Chapter 6: Two Hero’s Journeys

The Hero’s Journey of Muhammad Ali

Hamlet’s Journey: A Brief and Debatable Look at Hamlet as Hero

Chapter 7: Bridging and Superscenes



Superscenes and Memory

Section Three: Neuroscience and Images

Chapter 8: Mirror Neurons, Emotions, Memory, Meditation, Embodiment, and Images

The Limbic System

The Eternally Balancing Body


Phenomenology: The Study of the Experience of Intention

Mirror Neurons

Second Person Interactivity: MNs

The Use of Metaphor, Image, and Active Words

Memory: Images and the Brain

Memory, Archetype, and Mirror Neurons

Memory Consolidation

Chapter 9: Archetypal Patterns

Family Stories

CG Jung

Archetypal Patterns of Plots

Chapter 10: Archetypal Journey; In The Blood by Susan Lori Parks

The Ancient Story, Myth and Archetype

Protagonist/Antagonist Statement

Hester’s Hero’s Journey

Chapter 11: Conclusion



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Jane Drake Brody teaches graduate and undergraduate Acting at The Theatre School at DePaul University, following a long career as an actress, director, professional acting coach and casting director. Her many film and TV casting credits include the Oscar winning Fargo, for which she received the Casting Society of America's Best Location Casting Award.