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This chapter is organized around Diderot, who gave much attention to the craft of acting, and remains the best-known eighteenth-century theorist of acting. In two essays of the 1750s, Diderot conjured up a vision of twentieth-century naturalism, echoing Saint-Albine’s fashionable emphasis on feeling, while in his later Paradox on the Actor he argued that the best actors reproduce emotion on stage through cold analysis. Diderot invoked numerous contemporary actors, and this chapter establishes how the point of view of these actors differed profoundly from that attributed to them by Diderot. Antoine-François Riccoboni: who emphasized core technique for the benefit of amateurs. Marie-Jeanne Riccoboni: patronizingly dismissed by Diderot, who went on to adopt her arguments. Marie-Madeleine Jodin: a rebellious protégée who rejected his advice. Michel ‘Kelly’ Sticotti: a jobbing actor whose ideas had a complex genesis. Hyppolite Clairon: a remarkable actress and teacher whose published account of the acting process offers a more subtle analysis than Diderot. François-Joseph Talma: an articulate actor who challenged Diderot’s attack on Sticotti. Coda: theatre and oratory: two modes that remained closely related, despite claims that theatre somehow ‘liberated’ itself from oratory.
The term ‘declamation’ shifted its meaning from a training and display exercise undertaken by orators to a mode of speech used by tragic actors. By the end of the seventeenth century, the logic of grammar had suppressed the vagaries of orality, and the term ‘declamation’ served to define that which separated dramatic speech from the speech of everyday life. Because speech is driven by the breath and produced by the body, the thought or idea expressed by the actor could not be dissociated from their feeling or passion. In the sixteenth century and for much of the seventeenth century the dramatic text was conceived as sonorous matter, a visual sign of corporeal actions. The second phase follows from words becoming the arbitrary signs of ideas. From the perspective of a modern taste for self-expression, the earlier conception of the text as a score places unwelcome constraints upon the actor’s freedom.
This chapter sets out the rationale for the European focus, and examines the surprisingly small amount of scholarship that addresses the field covered by this book. I explain the rationale for the structure of the book, and examine some of the historiographical issues that are at stake.
Can you teach someone to be an actor? Paradoxically, the French cultural context while constraining the remit of the actor allowed acting to emerge as an autonomous science. The conservatoire training model that flourished in France in the nineteenth century was vigorously resisted by the nineteenth-century English actor-manager. Training or talent: the classical debate: Cicero and Quintilian resisted Aristotle’s claim that acting was merely ‘natural’. Early modern apprenticeship in the science of acting: our best evidence comes from Paris in the Shakespearean era, where Hardy’s classical dramaturgy demanded new skills. Multiple skills served the craft of acting. Early modern schooling: the example of Marston’s boy actors: how boys with a rhetorical education challenged the older generation of professionals. Hamlet: fencing as a foundation for acting: Hamlet learns to ‘act’ by learning to fence, and I trace the enduring place of fencing in actor training, distinguishing Italian and English methods. The pedagogy of Charles Macklin: a case study in how eighteenth-century acting was taught. The birth of the conservatoire: first championed by Lekain and his contemporaries.
Because there was no equivalent in Renaissance England to the Roman Forum and Senate, the stage actor was free to inherit the mantle of Cicero and Quintilian. I shall ask in this chapter how far stage actors did in practice follow a path mapped out by the ancient orators. Italian accounts of the actor’s art: De Sommi, Cecchini and Scala were Italian stage directors who contested appropriation of the rhetorical tradition by intellectuals, and the improvisatory tradition placed them as makers of embodied speech. Erasmus and the act of speaking: although Erasmus fostered a culture of the book, his sense of language was grounded in orality. Vives offers a vivid account of the fleshiness of the spoken word. A case study from ‘Merchant of Venice’ illustrates how Shakespeare wrote for different rhetorical registers. Sacred rhetoric: Erasmus straddled a tension between the Catholic tradition that emphasized form and the nascent Protestant tradition that required the preacher to be driven by the spirit. Donne and Alleyn: I focus on the relationship between England’s greatest preacher in the early seventeenth century and his son-in-law, who had been England’s greatest stage actor, bringing out the different conceptions of rhetoric.
The ancient concept of ‘gesture’ had no place in the brave new world of Stanislavskian naturalism. Rhetorical gesture was understood as an adjunct of speech, hardwired to speech in the idiom of modern brain science. Classical gesture: refused to separate the physical person of the orator from his moral and intellectual capacities. The gestures of a Ciceronian speech were deemed to be implicit in the words. Renaissance gesture: raising the question of whether gesture is teachable. Shakespearean gesture: I focus on Bertram Joseph’s controversial research into gesture, and examine his work with Shakespearean actors presenting Macbeth at the Mermaid. Baroque gesture: contrasting Le Faucheur’s practice in the pulpit with the new approaches of Descartes and Le Brun. Enlightenment France: F. Riccoboni’s argument for an intelligent actor in control of his movements. Enlightenment Germany: Lessing’s desire for ‘individualizing’ gestures was not well received by actors. Engel followed Lessing in quest of detail, but Goethe return to tradition in order to find a language of the body that would support the delivery of verse.
The tradition that Hamlet is Shakespeare’s mouthpiece: almost universally accepted for reasons of tradition and prejudice towards the class and education of the princely speaker. The Player’s speech: a successful exercise in using Virgil to express emotion, as recommended by Quintilian. Hamlet’s advice: drawing essentially from Quintilian. The play-within-a-play: risibly poor dramaturgy, a display of dialectic rather than rhetoric, well suited to ensuring that Claudius is moved by the facts rather than by the fiction of the play. The pay-off: Hamlet as clown. In this chapter, I map a tension between two ideals of performance: moving the emotions of an audience versus an accurate mimesis of reality.
In this chapter I show how the job of the Baroque actor was to embellish the dramatic poem, and as it were to colour in the outline provided by the text. Actor and writer: Racine coached young actresses in exactly how to deliver his lines, but experienced actors wanted more autonomy. ‘Action’ in sacred oratory: Louis de Crésolles’ Jesuit treatise on acting atomized the body, and allowed Christians to think in a technical way about their performance methods, but Le Faucheur’s Protestant manual placed more emphasis on authenticity of feeling. Mondory and Corneille: A reading of Le Cid reveals the physicality and emotionalism expected of the celebrity lead actor, in a balance of power between actor and writer that would subsequently be eroded. The first manuals dedicated to stage acting: Perrucci and Gildon look back to seventeenth-century practice, as does Jean Poisson, the first professional actor to offer advice about performance to non-actors in a printed manual of 1717. Another actor, Luigi Riccoboni, in 1728 published a manifesto for novice Italian actors, warning them against French formalism and arguing for the primacy of feeling. He is less interested in the work of the voice, and more concerned with the way feeling operates on the body.
Pre-modern acting theory was framed around emotion, not character, and in this chapter I explore what ‘emotion’ is. There is growing recognition today that emotions have a history, and neurology has suggested new ways of thinking about the mind–body connection. The assumption that humankind has distinct fundamental emotions remains a widely held position today. Passions and emotions: the question of terminology: in addition to the distinction between passions and emotions, I interrogate notions of mind and soul, complicated by questions of translation. Early Modern England: Hamlet seen through the lens of the contemporary Jesuit Thomas Wright, who negotiated competing theories of emotion. The Cartesian turn: I consider Mondory as a pre-Cartesian actor, and the fundamental influence of Charles Le Brun on acting as well as paining. David Hume and English acting theory in the Enlightenment: the multiplication and refinement of emotions as reflected in the theories of Aaron Hill. Two examples of playing the passions: Lekain’s Herod and Nossiter’s Juliet: I draw on Lekain’s manuscript notes and on Morgan’s account of Nossiter’s performance. Rousseau and the ideal of emotional authenticity: Rousseau’s Pygmalion attempted to reconcile the needs of rhetorical delivery with a new sense of emotional truth.
In this chapter I provide a sketch of rhetorical performance practice as it emerges from the rich, complex, and contradictory texts of the Greco-Roman world. A visual conception of ancient rhetoric: John Bulwer’s representation of rhetorical stage acting, which contrasts the stage actor with the dialectician. Greece and Rome: Greece developed the art of rhetoric, accepting the centrality of acting or ‘hypokrisis’, while Roman orators placed more emphasis on the constant persona of the orator. Cicero and Roscius: a case study of how Cicero used performance skills to defend the celebrity stage actor in court. Cicero’s ‘De Oratore’: Cicero’s masterpiece, couched as a dialogue to make it clear there is no single set of rules for being an orator. Quintilian: who codified Cicero, and made rhetoric the foundation of an educational programme. Tacitus: who dissented from Quintilian’s political conformism. Augustine: who tried to adapt his rhetorical training to serve the needs of Christian preaching, anticipating the dilemmas faced by rhetorical performers in the Renaissance.
Hamlet is a characteristic intellectual more inclined to lecture actors about their craft than listen to them, and is a precursor of Enlightenment figures like Diderot and Lessing. This book is a quest for the voice of early professional actors, drawing on English, French and other European sources to distinguish the methods of professionals from the theories of intellectual amateurs. David Wiles challenges the orthodoxy that all serious discussion of acting began with Stanislavski, and outlines the comprehensive but fluid classical system of acting which was for some three hundred years its predecessor. He reveals premodern acting as a branch of rhetoric, which took from antiquity a vocabulary for conversations about the relationship of mind and body, inside and outside, voice and movement. Wiles demonstrates that Roman rhetoric provided the bones of both a resilient theatrical system and a physical art that retains its relevance for the post-Stanislavskian performer.
This series of provocations on the changing work of theatre historians opens with a contribution by David Wiles, who recounts a meeting of IFTR's Theatre Historiography Working Group in London in 2018. Wiles's reflection is followed by responses from scholars working in or on different regions, including perspectives by Oscar Tantoco Serquiña, Jr (Philippines), Lorena Verzero (Latin America) and Promona Sengupta (India).
Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) is an effective treatment for depressed adults. CBT interventions are complex, as they include multiple content components and can be delivered in different ways. We compared the effectiveness of different types of therapy, different components and combinations of components and aspects of delivery used in CBT interventions for adult depression. We conducted a systematic review of randomised controlled trials in adults with a primary diagnosis of depression, which included a CBT intervention. Outcomes were pooled using a component-level network meta-analysis. Our primary analysis classified interventions according to the type of therapy and delivery mode. We also fitted more advanced models to examine the effectiveness of each content component or combination of components. We included 91 studies and found strong evidence that CBT interventions yielded a larger short-term decrease in depression scores compared to treatment-as-usual, with a standardised difference in mean change of −1.11 (95% credible interval −1.62 to −0.60) for face-to-face CBT, −1.06 (−2.05 to −0.08) for hybrid CBT, and −0.59 (−1.20 to 0.02) for multimedia CBT, whereas wait list control showed a detrimental effect of 0.72 (0.09 to 1.35). We found no evidence of specific effects of any content components or combinations of components. Technology is increasingly used in the context of CBT interventions for depression. Multimedia and hybrid CBT might be as effective as face-to-face CBT, although results need to be interpreted cautiously. The effectiveness of specific combinations of content components and delivery formats remain unclear. Wait list controls should be avoided if possible.
Depression is expensive to treat, but providing ineffective treatment is more expensive. Such is the case for many patients who do not respond to antidepressant medication.
To assess the cost-effectiveness of cognitive–behavioural therapy (CBT) plus usual care for primary care patients with treatment-resistant depression compared with usual care alone.
Economic evaluation at 12 months alongside a randomised controlled trial. Cost-effectiveness assessed using a cost-consequences framework comparing cost to the health and social care provider, patients and society, with a range of outcomes. Cost-utility analysis comparing health and social care costs with quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs).
The mean cost of CBT per participant was £910. The difference in QALY gain between the groups was 0.057, equivalent to 21 days a year of good health. The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio was £14 911 (representing a 74% probability of the intervention being cost-effective at the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence threshold of £20 000 per QALY). Loss of earnings and productivity costs were substantial but there was no evidence of a difference between intervention and control groups.
The addition of CBT to usual care is cost-effective in patients who have not responded to antidepressants. Primary care physicians should therefore be encouraged to refer such individuals for CBT.