Reinventing Drama: Acting, Iconicity, Performance / Edition 1

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Overview

Dramatic performance involves an intricate process of rehearsal based upon imagery inherent in the dramatic text. A playwright first invents a drama out of mental imagery. The dramatic text presents the drama as a range of verbal imagery. During rehearsal, the actors cultivate this verbal imagery within themselves. The performance triggers this cultivated mental imagery, thereby enabling the actors to reinvent the drama in the presence of an audience. This interplay of dramatic imagery constitutes the heart of the process of iconicity. The premise of iconicity is that in dramatic performance actors use the same neural architecture that people use in their daily lives to execute events. The core of this neural architecture is the brain's capacity for internally generating, reduplicating, storing, and triggering imagery. The process of iconicity draws on the actor's use of this mental capacity. This book explores the principles of iconicity and develops them as a process for acting and staging dramatic performances.

This book draws together critical and literary theories and neuropsychology to provide a new artistic process for dramatic performance called iconicity. The first part of the book provides a theoretical perspective on the principles of iconicity. Included are discussions of the nature of dramatic performance, the ideology and process of acting, and the importance of emotions to drama. This initial exploraton of iconicity sometimes refers to practice; however, the ideas presented in the first part of the book largely provide a foundation for the second part, which is more practically oriented. The second part gives close attention to the various components of the iconicity process. It explains dramatic structure and identifies and defines the four strands of iconicity: events, dialogue, interactions, and performance. Throughout the volume, numerous plays are used to provide examples of how the iconicity process works.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Details a new approach to dramatic art and presents a new understanding of performance based on aspects of critical theory and neuropsychology. Discusses principles of iconicity and dramatic performance, innate performance, and the relationship between acting and emotion, then describes the process of iconicity, dealing with strands of events, rules of dramatic structure, and the integrative strand of performance. An epilogue discusses issues of acting and talent, biases and ideals of iconicity, and the idea of catharsis. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknew.com)
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Product Details

Meet the Author

BRUCE G. SHAPIRO is currently a resident dialogue coach for Village Roadshow Production Services at Warner Bros. Movie World Studios in Queensland, Australia.

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Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction 1
Pt. 1 The Principles of Iconicity
Prologue: The Premise of Performance 19
1 Ideology, Acting, and Iconicity 41
The Persistence of Ideology 42
Ideology, Emotion, and Human Nature 44
Ideology, Imagery, and Performance 47
Redefining Acting 50
Recognition 58
Cultivating the Audience 61
Reclaiming Mimesis 62
Rehearsing Iconicity 64
2 Acting and Emotion 71
Historical Perspectives on Emotion 71
Terminology 73
The Affect Theory of Emotion 75
"Script Theory" 87
Ideology and Affect 90
Pt. 2 The Process of Iconicity
Introduction: The Strands of Iconicity 93
3 The Strand of Events 97
The Rules of Dramatic Structure 97
The Iconicity Profile 98
The Iconicist-Director and Dramatic Structure 99
The Semiosis of Dramatic Performance Events 102
The Mimesis of Events 105
Cultivating Mental Iconicity 106
The Characteristics of Playing Events 107
Rehearsing the Strand of Events 109
The Components of Plot 112
4 Rules and Features of Dramatic Structure 115
Iconic Events and Characters 115
Features of Iconic Events 123
Indexical Events and Characters 126
Symbolic Events and Characters 129
The Symbolic Intertext 135
The Consciousness of Iconicity 137
5 The Intermediate Strands of Iconicity 139
The Strand of Dialogue 139
The Classes of Dialogue 140
Dialogue and Narrative 142
Aspects of Dialogue Rehearsal 143
Voice and Body in the Dialogue of Timbre and Mien 147
Voice and Gesture in Dynamic Dialogue 152
Voice and Gesture in Choric Dialogue 160
The Strand of Interactions 165
Interactions and Acts of Speech 165
Kinesic Coordination and Interlocution 169
The Iconicist-Director and Rehearsal 172
6 The Strand of Performance 175
The Performance Rehearsals 177
Integrating the Strands 185
The Iconicist-Director and the Performance 186
Epilogue: Postscript to a Process 189
Notes 197
Bibliography 209
Index 219
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