In Corporation: Lecoq-Based Pedagogy’s Body-Bound Theory and Cognitive Science

Maiya Murphy
Theatre & Dance
UC San Diego

This dissertation applies recent cognitive neuroscience to the pedagogy of Jacques Lecoq and other related physically based actor-training systems. By coupling cognitive science and Lecoq-based pedagogy, Murphy explores how this training offers not only skills for theatrical performance and interpretation of pre-existing roles, but develops overall cognitive states and abilities specific to theatre-making. Because this training centers on the body, it illustrates how active physical engagement actually creates cognition. This work then considers other physically based performer training such as the SITI company’s Viewpoints and Jerzy Grotowski’s pedagogy to outline a larger group of artists that advocate the specific creative advantages of body-focused training.

By gathering up this diverse group of training systems, this project demonstrates how this group, as members of a larger force that advocates the value in embodied creative practices, is actually making a larger claim on the value of knowledge gained through doing. This kind of knowledge, or body-bound theory, is both generated through the body’s interaction with the world (bound to), and determines its own value by reapplying itself to a material body in action (bound for). By elucidating how this body-bound theory functions, this project highlights that valuing the body in active processes offers a new paradigm for philosophical conceptions of knowledge.