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‘Subscore’: a Word that is Useful – but Wrong

  • Julia Varley

Abstract

In 1992, during the session of ISTA (the International School of Theatre Anthropology) in Brecon, the word ‘subtext’ was replaced by ‘subscore’ – a term felt to be more appropriate for the not necessarily literary theatre, in which actors build their scenic presence with a vocal and physical form of behaviour called ‘score’. Yet, as Odin actress Julia Varley here argues, the actor's body remembers and his or her actions contain a far greater quantity of information than consciousness can ever master – while, more practically, each actor has to go through various phases of utilizing such ‘information’ if work is to be kept alive and interesting, for herself as much as for her audience. Here, Julia Varley argues for an approach to ‘precision’ in acting which is less concerned with the analysis of what is internal or external, but closer to the contemporary scientific perception – that ‘all is matter in communication without borders, a continuous flow and interchange’.

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