Rediscovering 'invisible communication': a re-evaluation of Stanislavski's Communion via 'radiation'

Olson, Grant (2014) Rediscovering 'invisible communication': a re-evaluation of Stanislavski's Communion via 'radiation'. (PhD thesis), Kingston University, .


This thesis investigates Stanislavski’s unnamed invisible form of communication described within the chapter ‘Communion’ in An actor prepares (1936). The description Stanislavski includes in the chapter is especially difficult to access leading to much neglect in critical studies of Stanislavski’s approach. This thesis explores the concept as it permeated across Stanislavski’s writings and practical work. It then establishes a comprehensive, concise and contained description of the experience Stanislavski sought to achieve through his proposed ‘invisible communication’. Most current literature investigating aspects of this ‘invisible communication’ relate it to Stanislavski’s interest in yoga philosophy and practice. Although Stanislavski did indeed appropriate terms and technique from his readings and interest in yoga practice, this thesis proposes that the concept existed from Stanislavski’s earliest theatrical explorations and helped shape his understanding of acting as art. With the compiled description amassed from Stanislavski’s work, this thesis locates correlations of the experience Stanislavski described within the current paradigm of cognitive studies. These correlations help form a theoretically plausible account of the concept to aid further discussion and evaluation. In addition, this thesis uses abductive reasoning to postulate a working hypothesis accounting for the perception within a framework of current understandings of cognitive function. This thesis is the first stage of a much-needed re-evaluation of Stanislavski’s ‘invisible communication’. With a framework to investigate and discuss ‘invisible communication’ in theoretically plausible manner, this thesis is helpful in future development of performer training and practice.

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