1st Edition

Acting, Spectating, and the Unconscious
A psychoanalytic perspective on unconscious processes of identification in the theatre





ISBN 9780367736651
Published December 18, 2020 by Routledge
144 Pages

USD $48.95

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Book Description

From Aristotle’s theory of tragic katharsis onwards, theorists of the theatre have long engaged with the question of what spectatorship entails. This question has, directly or indirectly, often been extended to the investigation of acting.





Acting, Spectating, and the Unconscious approaches the unconscious aspects of spectatorship and acting afresh. Interweaving psychoanalytic descriptions of processes such as transference, unconscious phantasy, and alpha-function with an in-depth survey of theories of spectating and acting from thinkers such as Brecht, Diderot, Rousseau and Plato, Maria Grazia Turri offers a significant insight into the emotions inherent in both the art of the actor, and the spectator’s experience.



A compelling investigation of the unconscious communication between spectators and actors, this volume is a must-read for students and scholars fascinated by theatre spectatorship.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Theorizing Theatre Spectatorship



Starting with Brecht



The epic theatre



Spectatorship, emotions and the unconscious





Spectatorship and psychoanalysis



The significance of the unconscious to psychic life



Psychoanalysis in context



A psychoanalytic perspective of theatre spectatorship







Chapter 2. Transference and Katharsis, Freud to Aristotle



Introduction





Aristotle’s theory of mimēsis and tragic katharsis



Pity and fear





Freud’s theory of psychoanalysis from the cathartic method to the transference



Transference re-enactment and transference analysis



Repetition-compulsion – beyond the pleasure principle





An interpretation of tragic katharsis as transference dynamic



Tragic katharsis as transference dynamic





Chapter 3 – The Paradoxe inside out



Introduction





The Paradoxe of the actor





The Paradoxe analysed



About David Garrick



Dual consciousness and the psychology of acting



Diderot’s ideas on acting preceding the Paradoxe





Chapter 4 – The emotionalist theory of acting



Introduction





Genetic and trans-European links





The Emotionalist Texts on Acting



Le Comédien



The Actor



Garrick ou les acteurs anglois





A New Theory of Acting





Chapter 5 – Unconscious emotional processing in alpha-function



Freud’s theory of ego functioning



From the psychology of impulse to the psychology of the ego



The relationship between the ego, the id, and reality



Identification through introjection and projection





Kleinian theory of object-relations



Projection and introjection



Ego-splitting and integration



The birth of the self





Bion’s theory of alpha-function



Projective identification



Alpha-function



The double nature of alpha-function





Chapter 6 – Acting and spectating in alpha-function



The art of the actor as alpha-function



The relationship between sensibility and understanding in the art of the actor



The spectator and the transpersonal dimension of acting





The severing of transpersonal alpha-function



Diderot’s unfeeling actor and the manic position



The envious spectator





Brecht’s ‘Verfremdungseffekt’ and autonomous alpha-function



Semiotics and the double game of the actor





Unconscious emotional processes of theatre spectatorship



Theatre for pleasure or theatre for instruction



Theatre spectatorship, emotions and pleasure



Theatre, empathy and sympathy



Semiotics and theatre’s feedback loop

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Author(s)

Biography

 



Maria Grazia Turri is an independent theatre scholar, and a psychiatrist at the University of Oxford. She completed her PhD in Drama at the University of Exeter in 2015. In her research, she applies psychoanalysis to the analysis of theatre processes.