Authenticity, copying and the critical gaze: The crisis of representation

Forskningsoutput: TidskriftsbidragArtikel i vetenskaplig tidskriftPeer review


In contemporary western theatre and actor’s training there is a tension between different traditions in the actor’s work, concerning the bodily practices that are related to representation, construction of identities, authenticity and self-expression. One aspect of the actor’s methodical tradition – the openness for suffering and sacrificing oneself in the name of the arts – will be displayed and scrutinised through examples from ancient theatre, European avant-garde, and the Method acting tradition. I will argue that this aspect is aiming at exposing the artist as a unique original, and in this way also serves the commodification of the artist’s self-presentation. In contrast to the above-mentioned moods of representation, 20th century artists and philosophers like Bertolt Brecht and Walter Benjamin are practically and theoretically challenging concepts like originality, authenticity, and the artists’ self-representation. They are instead investigating the creative and political potential in phenomena like quoting and copying, and above all a playful and critical role-taking process, not based in self-expression. I will finally argue that Brecht’s stance is in accordance with a non-essentialist view of humans and that his views are in line with some tendencies in the post-dramatic tradition.
Sidor (från-till)7–26
Antal sidor20
TidskriftArte Acta
StatusPublished - 2021 mars 25
EvenemangBertolt Brecht – Contradictions as Method - DAMU, Prague, Tjeckien
Varaktighet: 2019 nov. 82019 nov. 10

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ)

  • Teatervetenskap

Konstnärlig forskning

  • Text


  • Bertolt Brecht
  • Walter Benjamin
  • Acting
  • Actor's training
  • Representation
  • Identity politics
  • Acting Methods
  • Original
  • Copying


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