Näitleja (füüsilis-vaimse) kohalolu ja kehastumiskogemuse fenomenoloogiline uurimine postdramaatilise teatri kontekstis. Phenomenological study of the actor’s embodiment experience and (physical and mental) presence in the context of postdramatic theatre


  • Kadi Haamer Eesti Muusika- ja Teatriakadeemia Tartu Ülikool




The aim of this article is to specify the phenomenon of the actor’s presence onstage – to discuss its theoretical basis. The fact that the internally active body of the actor is gaining increasing precedence over the spoken word testifies to changes in the aesthetic sense of modern theatre. These changes, in turn, refer to paradigmatic changes in the Western way of thinking – the heretofore prevalent linear causality is gradually being replaced by a circular causality. An actor’s psychophysical presence and corporal intensity plays an important role in the aesthetic currents of the contemporary theatre. On the stage, an actor (as a form) is positioned among other stage forms (lighting, music, setting/costumes, space and language) and, in such a community, the actor’s presence here and now becomes an important principle. His/her active condition of onstage presence requires wider kinaesthetic sensations and perceptions, which are achieved through specific psychophysical training. Important factors include the multi-levelled focus of attention, the sensitivity and activity of the actor’s organism and the sensing of the body as a transcendental and ontological unity. These keywords are taken from various phenomenological philosophies of the body (M. Merleau-Ponty, D. Leder, J. Gibson and A. Noë), and from P. Zarrill’s phenomenological model of the embodiment-experience of the contemporary actor, and I will try to relate them to my own analysis of the practical experience of onstage presence. In the analysis, I focus on evoking and maintaining onstage presence in the personal practice of acting and conclude that the psychophysical onstage presence is primarily based on the self-acknowledgment of one’s bodily movement. Theatrical acting is a practical way of thinking and acting which is always based on technique, no matter whether it involves bodily expression, working with the voice, imagination or text. The imaginary aspect of theatre and the actor’s work is secured by discipline (i.e. technique), which has a direct effect on the aesthetic formal aspirations of a production. Contemporary theatre prefers a more action-based, more ‘bodily’ and consciously psychophysical (self-) experience of the actor within the performance space. I believe that this situation indicates the need for developing a phenomenological theory of the presence of a human being that cannot directly be found in the works of the authors referred to in this article. In a narrower sense, the theory of the actor’s presence onstage could help to explain changes in the aesthetic aspirations of contemporary theatre. In the wider sense, the development of the theory of presence could be aimed at the interpretation of the processes active in the perception and way of thinking of humans.


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