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date: 21 May 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter draws on the author’s participation in a ten-day training in Action Theater™ led by its creator, Ruth Zaporah, in Tarbena, Spain, in June 2014. This interdisciplinary improvisation form utilizes silent movement, sound and movement, and speech to create improvisatory performance. It is argued that Zaporah’s established pedagogical form takes improvisers through a process of dealing with language which can be viewed in evolutionary terms. Moving through silent movement and the vocalization of sounds allows for a focus on sensation which gives rise to a greater awareness of what Zaporah refers to as ‘feeling states’. The content of improvisatory performance depends on staying in touch with feeling states, such that it complicates issues to do with feeling and emotion in ways that become particularly challenging when an improviser is compelled to use speech, or what Zaporah refers to as ‘physical narrative’. The author draws on Maxine Sheets-Johnstone’s phenomenology to propose that we view Action Theater™’s use of speech as ‘postkinetic’ and thereby prioritize its somatic rather than semantic ground.

Keywords: silent movement, sensation, speech, postkinetic, evolutionary, Action Theater, Feldenkrais

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