Principal research themes and concepts that we defined or redefined between 1971 and 1997
about precision and fixing are particularly important in relation to the repetitive
character of the actor's art. What is it that the actor has to recapture without
losing the spontaneous quality in the 'here and now' of acting? What is it
that has to be fixed and where lies the precision?
When the actor works on sense (see below) and with intention (see below), the focus shifts from physical to mental precision. Physical precision uses the shape of a gesture as a means for recapturing an act In this case the actor works on the recreation of the outer form to capture what is essential in the act. On the other hand, mental precision is based on the recreation of 'what' is done rather than 'how' it is done. The gesture is a sign of the act, not the act in itself.
crucial importance to the actor's work is the distinction between sense
and signification and their respective place in the creative process,
especially the 'here and now' quality of the actor's work in relation to the
repetitive nature of the theatrical event.
Sense and signification are terms adopted from French (sens; signification) to clarify the difference between the meaning (sense) that an act or a gesture has regardless of situation and context, and the meaning (signification) that an act or a gesture acquires in a situation or a context. No information is needed to perceive and recognise the sense because it has an intrinsic value irrespective of situation or context. In contrast, the signification of an act or gesture presupposes information so that through our intellect and with the help of the situation and the context we are able to understand or interpret the meaning. The sense can acquire or be given different significations depending on the situation or the context.
Sense can be considered 'objective' and belongs to the now, while signification is 'subjective' and belongs to the future in being dependent on context. In other words, the 'here and now' work of the actor is primarily to clarify the sense of an act and then to include the signification without losing or distorting the sense of the act.
is one of the basic work principles that became a distinctive feature of our
way of working. Intention exists at the start of every act; it is a
mental quality and indicates the mental direction of an act. It precedes 'impulse',
which is a physical quality that directly involves the nervous system and
the muscles. Intention does not need to be made manifest through body
movement in space.
In other words, it can be concretized in space both through the movement of the body and through stillness, e.g. from a musical perspective intention can take the form of either a tone or a pause.
training is related to intention and was developed in connection
with the work on stillness understood as movement in immobility. In this training,
the physical movement of an act is disrupted while its intention is continued
on a mental level. In this way, continuity and flow is maintained in the actor's
work by means of the intensity in the stillness that ensues from the physically
'immobile' body of the actor who is still mentally active through intention.
Isometrics also provided a dynamic base for our vocal work in engaging the
same source for physical and vocal acts: intention.
Improvisation or variation and development
The actual improvisation, i.e. when an actor has no material and starts to work with no reference points, only lasts for a short time and is soon followed by variation and development. Clarifying that improvisation is related to variation and development became particularly useful in our work on defining principles for collective improvisation.
Alternation is one of the most important principles in the actor's work and its definition emerged during our work on collective improvisation. From a purely technical point of view, alternation refers to the actor's ability to jump from one action to another, to change dynamic and direction without any other reason than alternation itself. Alternation helps the actor to avoid mechanical repetition and to prevent the construction of predictable and 'logical' causal connections. As a principle of work alternation creates an equivalent to daily life where the unforeseen is constantly modifying, interrupting, and redirecting our actions.
The work with super energy, i.e. on a free flow of energy that is not manipulated to obtain a predetermined result, is related to the work on mental precision and deals with the principles of spontaneity in a repetitive situation. The work with super energy consisted of two extremes that were manifested either through the body's intense physical engagement in the space or through the perception of a latent energy that can be found in, for example, a Kung Fu master. Dance training was a new form of training that was developed in connection with this work.
Mutation is an aspect of the actor's work that takes into account the repetitive nature of the theatrical act. The work deals with the opposition between the need to determine and control a form and the impossibility of controlling the constant changes that go on within a living organism. This work was of crucial importance to the problematic issue of the actor's presence, both as a synthesis of previous experiences and as a new point of departure. By shifting the focus from outer to inner process the actor can work on continuity also in immobility.
The work on the non-manifest act, i.e. an act that is perceived without being manifested physically in the space, has its origin in the work on mutations. The actor exists while acting; but the actor does not have to show that he or she is acting in order to exist, hence the work on acts that are not manifest.
The distinction between art and creativity and the clarification of their inner relationship was a central theme in the 1990s.
disinterested act is a fundamental principle in the creative process
and attitude. The disinterested act (i.e. an act that is beyond any
speculation) is both a point of departure and a base for creativity. In the
actor's work the disinterested act concerns the clarification of the
difference between a psychological interpretation and the act of listening
to the psyche itself, that is, in order to act the actor does not start from
a psychological need or a desire, but instead tries to reach the will in avoidance
of wanting thus performing the act 'in spite of' her/himself. In this work
the actor seeks to reach beyond personal needs, beyond wanting and so called
'aware' motivations. The aspiration here is to reach and liberate something
more profound than one's awareness, which goes so far as to touch the entire