Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation
Theatre Arts, MFA
Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)
our country's good; Timberlake Wertenbaker; recovery; alcoholics anonymous; Michael Chekhov; acting
This document serves as a travelogue for the creation of two roles for the U of L Fall 2017 Production of Timberlake Wertenbaker’s Our Country’s Good. At odds throughout the process were intellect and vulnerability. In an attempt to find openness with my primary scene partner, I tried a variety of techniques including, but not limited to: Konstantin Stanislavski’s “Bits and Tasks”; Michael Chekhov’s “Psychological Gesture”; Carl Jung’s theories on Archetype; F.M. Alexander’s notions of “Inhibition” and “Nondoing” as expounded upon by Betsy Polatin; and Julia Cameron’s “Morning Pages.” My original goal of achieving vulnerability on stage became consumed by the very methodologies I had hoped to employ in service of this ambition. By planning the results rather than the actions, I assumed the judgmental position of a director in an effort to manage and control my performance. Devastated by some of the feedback from the faculty, I set out on a journey of creative recovery. Through recapitulations of works such as: Julia Cameron’s Artist’s Way; Eckhart Tolle’s Power of Now; and the “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous, I analogize the journey of recovery from alcoholism to my desired approach as a creative practitioner in the theatre. I theorize that the desire for control that dominates alcoholic thinking also plagues egocentric actors. To find freedom, open-mindedness, and willingness as an actor, I resolve to surrender control of the process to the director, a higher power of my own understanding, and shed the need to pre-plan each performance.
Shenker, Ross Joel, "Gestures of creative recovery for the egocentric actor through performance in Wertenbaker's our country's good." (2018). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. Paper 2996.