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Explanations and Implications of ‘Psychophysical’ Acting

  • Rose Whyman

Abstract

The term ‘psychophysical’ in relation to acting and performer training is widely used by theatre scholars and practitioners. Konstantin Stanislavsky is considered to have been an innovator in developing an approach to Western acting focused on both psychology and physicality. The discourse encompasses questions of practice, of creativity and emotion, the philosophical problem of mind–body from Western and Eastern perspectives of spirituality. In this article, Rose Whyman attempts to uncover what Stanislavsky meant by his limited use of the term ‘psychophysical’ and suggests that much of the discourse remains prone to a dualist mind–body approach. Clarification of this is needed in order to further understanding of the practice of training performers. Rose Whyman is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Drama and Theatre Arts at the University of Birmingham. She researches the science of actor training and is the author of The Stanislavsky System of Acting (Cambridge, 2008) and Stanislavsky: the Basics (Routledge, 2013).

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