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Stanislavsky, Spirituality, and the Problem of the Wounded Actor

Abstract

In the following article Benjamin Lloyd uses the work of the noted Swiss psychologist Alice Miller to propose a new archetype – ‘the wounded actor’, a person in the throes of a narcissistic disorder, as defined by Miller in her book The Drama of the Gifted Child. He suggests that conventional actor training will not help the wounded actor, but that the re-introduction of spirituality into the acting-class curriculum may do so. In this light he looks at Stanislavsky's writings about spirituality, focusing on the chapter in An Actor Prepares called ‘Communion’. Linking Stanislavsky's spirituality to the writings and thought of Leo Tolstoy, he explores the reasons why the spiritual nature of Stanislavsky's work has not been generally explored in the West, and suggests some ways in which acting teachers may introduce spiritual concerns into their curricula. Benjamin Lloyd teaches at Villanova University. His The Actor's Way: a Journal of Self-Discovery in Letters is due for publication later this year by Allworth Press, New York, and he is currently facilitating a workshop on possible intersections between Quaker spiritual practice and theatre-making called ‘Revival: Meetings for Theatre’.

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New Theatre Quarterly
  • ISSN: 0266-464X
  • EISSN: 1474-0613
  • URL: /core/journals/new-theatre-quarterly
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