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Strategies of the Phenomenological Body in Theater: A Theoretical Approach
Bibliographic Description: Lina Klusaitė, „Fenomenologinio kūno strategijos teatre: teorinė perspektyva“, @eitis (lt), 2017, t. 856, ISSN 2424-421X.
Previous Edition: Lina Klusaitė, „Fenomenologinio kūno strategijos teatre. Teorinė perspektyva“, Menotyra, 2015, t. 22, nr. 2, p. 112–124, ISSN 1392-1002.
Institutional Affiliation: Lietuvos kultūros tyrimų institutas.
Summary. The article deals with the strategies of phenomenological kind of body in theater. With the help of a theoretical approach, the visible body and the touchable body are being distinguished. The first one, based on Jean Paul Sartre’s subject-object relationship establishing intersubjectivity theory and gaze phenomenon, is analyzed as suitable for traditional representational theater, and the second one, based on Edmund Husserl’s and Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s described double-touch phenomenon, is defined as performativity and is seen as a strategy of modern and postmodern theater. According to the attitude of realism that other’s interiority is unknowable and accessible only through the external bodily representations and empathy, Sartre’s gaze is used to define a remote method of role creation, based on the empathy to other’s interiority and not including the element of own body’s experience. Unlike Bertold Brecht’s described effect of alienation destroying the theatrical illusion and reincarnation to the character, remote acting is not considered denying the psychological empathy but, on the contrary, establishing it. According to Sartre’s position, an actor appears to be in an external relation with the character’s body, experiencing his own body as an external other’s body. The remote method of role creation requires objectification of his own senses, reducing them into a fictional person’s thoughts, feelings, reflection of experiences. According to Husserl’s and Merleau-Ponty’s attitude that self-touching is to experience yourself as other, an actor meets the character not as other, alienating his body in objective relations, but as his own alter ego. In this case, the actor and the character discover a common stylistics of bodily existence in the world, which implies the actor’s relation with himself rather than with thematized otherness. This enabled such a feedback where the subject experiences himself not via other but as other. Such acting is perceived as transitivity of bodies or performative, self-reflective acting, including the actor’s status between being and performing. On the ground of the touching experience, three possible strategies of experiencing body are distinguished: as the primal performer’s body experiencing the material and himself during the performance, as the actor’s self-experience, close to Grotowski’s conception of the role, transcending theatrical reality, and as a performative way to experience himself as otherness.