How Then to Act? A Performance As Research Investigation Into the Potentials of Expanding an Actor's Agency

Brannigan, Ross
Ings, Welby
Little, Suzanne
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Doctor of Philosophy
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Auckland University of Technology

This thesis investigates how to act in a type of theatre that honours the traditions of psychological realism and heightened Shakespearian acting and also accommodates the incorporation of a multiplicity of mediatised forms. The combination of these elements has rarely been addressed in theatre in Aotearoa New Zealand and, in order to find acting techniques that might be valuable in intermedial-realist theatre, a Performance as Research project was undertaken. The process of making the play was designed to facilitate solutions by disrupting and complicating existing assumptions about the place of mediatised elements in theatre and the agency traditionally afforded to actors. This involved expanding the actor’s traditional agency to include collaborating throughout a process of writing, designing, directing, making and performing a play. The play, Foolish Prating Knave, was developed through seven iterative experiments with a narrative devised around the themes of the inquiry. The research was situated within my own practice with the aim of working towards insights that might aid actors in Aotearoa New Zealand in extending their practice to find ways of working with multimedia or intermedial elements while honouring traditions of psychological realism and heightened style prevalent in theatre in this country.

Acting , Agency , Performance as Research , Collaboration , Intermedial-realist
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