Skådespelaren i handling: Strategier för tanke och kropp

Translated title of the contribution: The Actor in Action: Strategies for Body and Mind

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (artistic)

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In the thesis, that has its basis in my educational work at Malmö Theatre Academy, I discuss how actors in training solve the problem of embodying the role ? how they, from their ideas, feelings, thoughts and knowledge create the physical actions of the role. My discussion has its basis in how the training in acrobatics can form a sort of model for the strategies needed by the actor to perform on stage. An initial point for this thesis is the question about where the actor finds her motive for the role's physical action: in the role's future or in the role's past? A second starting point for the thesis is how the actor's imagination or conceptions affect her physical actions. These two starting points can be summarized in my research question: How are the cognitive strategies of the actor affecting the scenic actions of the role? A first step in answering the research question is found in the written evaluations of the students, concerning how acrobatics can function as a cognitive model for scenic action. The second step in answering this question takes its starting point in the students? description of their work with scenic situations and from these testimonies, more specific qualities appear. Here, two approaches are basic: first, that the students work with their imagination to create a stimulating and sensory objective for their scenic task, and second, that the spoken line, as well as the purely physical action, are tools in solving this task. These two approaches are summarized in the terms goal image and verbal action. My methodical grasp of the entirety of the thesis can be summarized in the function of the reflecting practitioner. To interpret the accounts of the students, a more specific and qualitatively focused method was required. In my interpretation of the students? descriptions of their work, I have focused on two qualities. The first is how the work has lead to the students being rid of a form of negative self-awareness, having focused outward. The second is how the work has lead to increased specificity and concretion in scenic choices. However, the research question has not only been seen from a student perspective. Through my references to the experiences, instruction and standpoints of several other theatre practitioners, I have shown an approach where cognitive strategies are central to physical action. There, I have also wanted to focus on how cognitive strategies are dependent on the form of verbal expression of the scenic task. How one formulates one's task is central to the physical action.To illuminate the work with the actor's cognitive strategies further, I have throughout the thesis referred to different theories of action and emotion. Within these I have looked for experiences that can change and strengthen the knowledge of the actor's physical actions.
Translated title of the contributionThe Actor in Action: Strategies for Body and Mind
Original languageSwedish
Awarding Institution
  • Malmö Theatre Academy
  • Paavolainen, Pentti, Supervisor, External person
  • Gislén, Ylva, Supervisor
Award date2007 Apr 30
Place of PublicationStockholm
ISBN (Print)9789173310819
Publication statusPublished - 2007

Bibliographical note

Defence details

Date: 2007-04-30
Time: 10:00
Place: Bryggeriteatern, Bergsgatan 31 B, Malmö

External reviewer(s)

Name: Helander, Karin
Title: Prof.
Affiliation: Stockholm University, Dept for Theatre and Dance Science


Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Performing Arts

Artistic work

  • Text


  • Acting
  • Embodied Knowledge
  • Cognitive Strategies
  • Intentionality
  • Stanislavsky
  • Michael Chekhov
  • Performing Arts
  • Theatre Education
  • Physical Action
  • Humanities


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