Exploring 'Optimal' States of Consciousness in Michael Chekhov's Psychological Gesture: Towards a New Phenomenological Paradigm
Mastrokalou, Effrosyni Efrosini
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Reason for embargo
To enable future publication of the research
This thesis examines key concepts from philosophers Nishida Kitaro, Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Fredriche Nietzsche and applies them to elements of Michael Chekhov’s practice of acting. The three philosophers, in different ways, suggest an ‘optimal’ state, beyond a dualistic separation of the fictive from the real and the visible from the invisible, that challenges seemingly unbridgeable dualisms between inner and outer, subject and object, being and becoming and experiencer and experienced. The purpose of this thesis is to analyze and understand these selected ‘optimal’ modes of consciousness in performance and, therefore, open up new ways of thinking about Michael Chekhov’s acting processes; in particular the ‘Psychological Gesture’. The thesis asks the following questions: 1. How can the application of selected philosophical paradigms to the Psychological Gesture through theory and practice further our understanding of Michael Chekhov’s work? 2. How do selected aspects of the fields of phenomenology, post-phenomenology, cognitive sciences, consciousness studies and philosophy of mind, aid in developing an articulation and understanding of an ‘optimal’ state of consciousness as a necessary aspect of the actor’s performance in Michael Chekhov’s work and theatre practice? 3. How can this project develop the way we are able to talk about Michael Chekhov’s work and wider acting processes?
PhD in Drama