Acting and Emotion

Authored by: Vladimir Mirodan

The Routledge Companion to Theatre, Performance, and Cognitive Science

Print publication date:  September  2018
Online publication date:  September  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138048898
eBook ISBN: 9781315169927
Adobe ISBN:


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A friend, six months into an actor-training course, is working on a monologue requiring him to become ‘enraged’ and ‘let rip.’ His acting teacher is not satisfied. During one rehearsal, he gets hold of my young friend’s arms and requests that he deliver his speech while fighting against the pressure. Muscles strain, blood rushes to the head and much shouting ensues. ‘That’s it, now you’ve got it!,’ the director beams. Our young actor, instantly becalmed, replies: ‘Ah, I see… That’s what you wanted. OK.’ To which the director: ‘Now I’m not so sure. How can you be so calm, so soon after? Did you really feel it?’ The young actor is perturbed: what is he meant to ‘feel’? Why should he not keep his cool? And what can the director possibly know about his intimate feelings?

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