The Odin actor: Embodied technology, memory, and the corporeal archive

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3 Scopus citations


The actor's process is a deeply individual journey of training, skill acquisition, application, and embodied understanding that in the writing often moves between the two poles of the anecdotal and the prescriptive. One way to better appreciate what is involved is to examine the work of those who have made the actor the centre of their creative process. Eugenio Barba is one such practitioner; his productions are developed from improvisations by his actors, are shaped during rehearsals through a combination of his dramaturgical sense and the actors' psycho-physical reaction to that sense, and ultimately reside solely in the bodies of those actors. In short, an Odin production ultimately rises or falls on the shoulders of its performers. This article examines what supports those shoulders; in doing so it deconstructs the Odin actors' performance-making process and its implications for the production it leads to. The interplay among what I term the embodied technology of the actor (rooted in an extensive training and years of performing experience), the role of memory in engaging that technology, and the implications of the corporeal archive it draws upon provide the blueprint for the analysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)399-411
Number of pages13
JournalTheatre, Dance and Performance Training
Issue number3
StatePublished - Oct 1 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts


  • actor
  • Barba
  • technique
  • training


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