1st Edition

(toward) a phenomenology of acting

By Phillip Zarrilli Copyright 2020
    320 Pages 51 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    320 Pages 51 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    In (toward) a phenomenology of acting, Phillip Zarrilli considers acting as a ‘question’ to be explored in the studio and then reflected upon.

    This book is a vital response to Jerzy Grotowski’s essential question: "How does the actor ‘touch that which is untouchable?’" Phenomenology invites us to listen to "the things themselves", to be attentive to how we sensorially, kinesthetically, and affectively engage with acting as a phenomenon and process. Using detailed first-person accounts of acting across a variety of dramaturgies and performances from Beckett to newly co-created performances to realism, it provides an account of how we ‘do’ or practice phenomenology when training, performing, directing, or teaching. Zarrilli brings a wealth of international and intercultural experience as a director, performer, and teacher to this major new contribution both to the practices of acting and to how we can reflect in depth on those practices.

    An advanced study for actors, directors, and teachers of acting that is ideal for both the training/rehearsal studio and research, (toward) a phenomenology of acting is an exciting move forward in the philosophical understanding of acting as an embodied practice.

    List of Figures; Foreword by Evan Thompson; Acknowledgements; Introduction: Acting as a process of phenomenological enquiry in the studio; 1. First person accounts of embodied practice: sensing as "living communication"; 2. The actor's 'lived/living' bodymind; 3. Attention and perception in action; 4. Subjectivity, self, and character/figure in performance; 5. The voicing body and sonorous speech; 6. Imagining; 7. Toward an intersubjective ethics of acting; Afterword; Appendix; References; Index


    Phillip Zarrilli is Artistic Director of The Llanarth Group and Emeritus Professor of Performance Practice at Exeter University, UK. He directs, performs, and teaches internationally, with recent professional productions in the UK, Singapore, Costa Rica, Ireland, and Norway. Zarrilli is widely known for his publications on acting including Psychophysical Acting: An Intercultural Approach After Stanislavski (2009, 2010 Outstanding Book of the Year, ATHE); Intercultural Acting and Performer Training, co-editor; Acting (Re)Considered: Theories and Practices, editor; and Acting: Interdisciplinary and Intercultural Perspectives, co-author.

    "Zarrilli’s book is a major contribution to the effort to create a circulation between science, art, and human experience."
    Evan Thompson, Professor of Philosophy, University of British Columbia and Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada

    "Written with great poetic style and evocativeness, this impressive tome takes Zarrilli’s already impactful contribution to contemporary acting many steps further. It’s destined to become a twenty-first-century classic."
    Bella Merlin, Actor, Professor of Acting (University of California at Riverside), Author

    "…takes the reader on a journey between disciplines, repositioning both processes of acting and the languages we use to reflect on and lead actor training…a far reaching and thrilling journey into the embodied processes of acting which will liberate the actor."
    Ian Morgan, Performer and Course Leader MA Theatre LAB (RADA)