Embodying Shakespeare
: A Psychophysical Approach to OP Rehearsal & Performance

  • Raymond Jannise I I

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Original Practices Shakespeare calls for a specific mode of performance exemplifying a strong unity of thought, action, and speech. Sometimes called Living Thought, actors must realize this state within a typically short OP rehearsal process while maintaining tight, rapid pacing emblematic of the form. This thesis examines Living Thought as a state of psychophysical fluency and asks how a psychophysical approach to OP rehearsal practice can enable actors to manifest it. The research demonstrates how Living Thought can be contextualized and explicated through a psychophysical perspective, constructed through a consideration of existing psychophysical performance practices, especially those of Konstantin Stanislavski, Michael Chekhov, Bella Merlin, and Phillip Zarrilli, and the psychophysical work of specialists in vocal performance including Cicely Berry and Kristin Linklater.

This thesis establishes the principal conventions of OP Shakespeare and asks how and to what extent an approach informed by psychophysical performance practice can be utilized for OP. This thesis addresses the challenge of utilizing psychophysical practices typically associated with durational training in the context of the short OP rehearsal process.

This project operates under the hypothesis that a psychophysical approach will facilitate the realization of Living Thought in performance. A toolkit assembled from existing performance practices and adjusted for the demands of OP is explored in a series of workshops to investigate that hypothesis practically. This toolkit of psychophysically derived techniques for OP rehearsal and performance is presented in complete written form with an analysis of the supporting documentary evidence, including supplemental video footage from each workshop illustrating each technique
and evidence of Living Thought in practice.
Date of Award2023
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorDeborah Middleton (Main Supervisor) & Bridie Moore (Co-Supervisor)

Cite this