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What's the Point?: Multipodal Orbits in the Suzuki Method of Actor Training

Staley, Christopher (2023) What's the Point?: Multipodal Orbits in the Suzuki Method of Actor Training. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This dissertation accounts for different affective social formations of people who practice, witness, or study the Suzuki Method. The focus of this research is the performative feeling of what it is like to approach the Method from the angle of actor/student, or director/teacher, or their audiences. Across various writings around the Suzuki Method, including this auto-ethnography, what stands out is that the very embodiedness of the practice – its “animal energy” – is impossible to translate into words. However, by attempting this impossibility, by striving to caption and articulate the ineffable, certain lessons begin to take shape. Throughout the dissertation, the overall argument is that recognizing the cultural and affective relationships created by the Suzuki Method as “Multipodal Orbits” can articulate specific social qualities and codes of this Latourian “actor-network.” The historiographies, pedagogies, and performances of the Suzuki Method – its dramaturgies – are usefully encapsulated by this term or shape of a “Multipodal Orbit.” The phrase multipodal orbit (lit. “many-footed circle”) describes a process of social formation in which members of performance cultures – in this case, theatre training circles – cohere together around a set of guiding principles rather than any sole figure. These groupings exist at different scales or stages; some are self-sustaining, others more tenuous. Multipodal orbits critically describe how these groupings may cohere together and how such training circles can influence or be influenced by others in unique feedback loops. After analyzing various geographic, psycholinguistic, and metaphorical accounts of these social per-formations relative to Suzuki Cultures, the analytic is then applied to Viewpoints Cultures, or, the practitioners of Mary Overlie’s Viewpoints and its legacies through Anne Bogart and the SITI Company. This dissertation encourages practitioners and scholars, or teachers and students, to consider the way they “language” these trainings in a new light, and how to teach themselves. The two main types of language that are focused on are firstly the verbal and gestural deictics, or pointing words/gestures, which are inherent to these trainings; secondly metaphorical language is analyzed to reveal how practitioners describe the impact of the training individually or collectively.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Staley, ChristopherCJS225@pitt.eduCJS225
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairGranshaw, Michellemkg31@pitt.edumkg31
Committee MemberMcKelvey, Patrickptm31@pitt.eduptm31
Committee MemberCroot, Cynthiaccroot@pitt.educcroot
Committee MemberOyler, Elizabetheaoyler@pitt.edueaoyler
Committee MemberLauren,
Date: 6 September 2023
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 27 July 2023
Approval Date: 6 September 2023
Submission Date: 2 August 2023
Access Restriction: 2 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 2 years.
Number of Pages: 345
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Theater Arts
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Suzuki Method of Actor Training; Deixis; Multipodal Orbits; Six Viewpoints
Date Deposited: 07 Sep 2023 01:20
Last Modified: 07 Sep 2023 01:20

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  • What's the Point?: Multipodal Orbits in the Suzuki Method of Actor Training. (deposited 07 Sep 2023 01:20) [Currently Displayed]


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