Honouring Creative Individuality: Challenging Hegemonic Systems of Acting

Dr. Leslie O'Dell
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The theatre has long demonstrated a reckless disregard for the psychological risks that actors face. The legacy of mesmerizing, autocratic teachers and directors, coupled with the ascendency of systemic approaches to acting such as the Method, has contributed to ethically questionable practices that too often transform acting training into psychological warfare. By challenging hegemonic assumptions about the nature of an actor's creativity, directors and teachers committed to moral aesthetics can preserve the best of any given acting system while honouring diversity and artistic individuality. Participants will be introduced to a theory of artistic creativity based upon personality types through diagnostic exercises and demonstrations.

Keywords: Moral Aesthetics, Arts Embodied, Pedagogy of Performance, Teaching Acting, Psychology of Acting, Personality Typing, Creativity in Acting, Work of the Director
Stream: Arts Agendas
Presentation Type: Workshop Presentation in English
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Dr. Leslie O'Dell

Professor, Department of English and Film, Wilfrid Laurier University
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Leslie O'Dell began her theatre career as an actor but found her true calling as a director and teacher of actors. After 15 seasons at the Shakespearean Festival in Stratford, Ontario, she published three books for actors: Shakespearean Scholarship, Shakespearean Language, and Shakespearean Characterization. She has also written course textbooks for advanced acting and directing students as well as a practical guide to acting for opera singers. In 1992 she participated in an interdisciplinary research project on the performance of gender; from that initial project stemmed a series of projects focussed on the psychology of acting. The result is her latest book, The Charismatic Chameleon. Her current research interest has led to the creation of an actors' laboratory for the exploration of the psychology and sociology of emotions.

Ref: A06P0443