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Title: Physical theatre as an approach to contemporary stagings of classical Greek tragedy
Authors: Moschochoriti, Rubini
Advisors: Edwards, B
Issue Date: 2009
Publisher: Brunel University School of Arts PhD Theses
Abstract: This PhD focuses on physical theatre techniques and practices in order to provide acting keys for directing ancient drama. More specifically, the work for stage put effort in the acting method, with which the chorus and the main characters can be approached. For that reason, the basic method adopted was that of J. Lecoq, and especially the ‘transference’ practice. Moreover, specific elements were selected from the methods of: the Laboratory theatre of J. Grotowski, the Odin Teatret of E. Barba, and from K. Stanislavski’s practice of physical actions. Elements were also incorporated from modern dance techniques (M.Graham, P. Bausch and R. Laban), as well as from Dramatic play. The first part of the PhD summarizes theoretical aspects on the tragedy’s structure through the written material that has survived from antiquity. The ancient drama history, the history of acting and directing tragedy, as well as other interpreting matters are analyzed. Moreover emphasis has been placed on Euripides’ whole work, on the historical and cultural frame of writing the Bacchae, as well as on ideological aspects and comments on the roles. Finally, material for the most important performances, which took place in Greece, is given. In the second part of the thesis an experiment has been performed between the classic speech of tragedy and contemporary methods of movement and speech. The aim was to investigate how these function together, by applying them on the text of Bacchae. Although the stress on the body pre-existed in acting methods of several directors, the specific method of Physical theatre was applied around 1955 from J. Lecoq. Since in Physical theatre the physical expression is symbolic, non-realistic, with a heightened sense of theatricality, this method can provide to tragedy the suitable acting tools for the big statures of the roles-symbols and for the meaningful movement of the chorus. Physical theatre does not emphasize on the character and his behavioural gestures but on the situations themselves and how the actor undertakes them. Therefore it can complement word-based theatre, which focuses on the acts emerged from the myth and on the creation of mimetic archetypes. In that way, the demonstrated actions and the messages conveyed through them, become essential and represent the collective unconscious. Consequently, if tragedy expresses symbols, emphasizes on the myths’ acts and detaches from realism then it is proved that the method of Physical theatre can be an appropriate method.
Description: This thesis was submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy and awarded by Brunel University.
Appears in Collections:Theatre
Dept of Arts and Humanities Theses

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