Toward a general theory of acting : cognitive science and performance /

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Bibliographic Details
Author / Creator:Lutterbie, John Harry, 1948-
Edition:1st ed.
Imprint:New York : Palgrave Macmillan, 2011.
Description:x, 269 p. ; 22 cm.
Series:Cognitive studies in literature and performance
Cognitive studies in literature and performance.
Subject:Acting -- Philosophy.
PERFORMING ARTS / Acting & Auditioning.
PERFORMING ARTS / Theater / Stagecraft.
PERFORMING ARTS / Theater / General.
Acting -- Philosophy.
Format: Print Book
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Hidden Bibliographic Details
ISBN:9780230113350 (hardback)
0230113354 (hardback)
Notes:Includes bibliographical references and index.
Summary:"Toward a General Theory of Acting explores the actors art through the lens of Dynamic Systems Theory and recent findings in the Cognitive Sciences. An analysis of different theories of acting in the West from Stanislavski to Lecoq is followed by an in depth discussion of technique, improvisation, and creating a score. In the final chapter, the focus shifts to how these three are interwoven when the actor steps in front of an audience, whether performing realist, non-realist, or postdramatic theatre. Far from using the sciences to reduce acting to a formula, Lutterbie celebrates the mystery of the creative process"--
Review by Choice Review

Cognitive science is gaining traction as a model to inform performance theory and process (as evidenced by, for example, Bruce McConachie's Engaging Audiences, CH, May'09, 46-4940). In this addition to the "Cognitive Studies in Literature and Performance" series, Lutterbie (Stony Brook Univ.) deconstructs the craft of acting using dynamic systems theory. DST provides evidence that supports a causal relationship between cognitive science and acting practice. In part 1, the author describes acting techniques and performance theories favored in contemporary Western theater, e.g., those of Stanislavski, Brecht, Strasberg, Meisner, Grotowski. Each of these artists provided actors with a method to access emotional behavior, physical action, and character motivation. DST unifies the actor's mind/body connection or "perturbations" by applying cognitive and neuroscientific constructs to understand how the actor mimics human behavior and presents emotional authenticity in performance. Lutterbie also examines the actor's tools (movement, language, gesture, memory, attention) and discusses how each can be supported by cognitive approaches. In part 2, he delves into technique and improvisation as preparatory explorations, establishing a compelling argument for studying cognitive science to support performance theory. His assertion that the actor is a dynamic system from which craft and art emanate convinces. Summing Up: Recommended. Graduate students through professionals. J. Artman Chapman University

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Choice Review