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Learning to listen: the collaboration and art of the SITI Company

by Cormier, Jason Briggs

Abstract (Summary)
This dissertation focuses on the SITI Company, and its place within American theatre history, using the company's mission—creating new work, training young theatre artists, and international collaboration—as a basis for exploring multiple historical contexts within which SITI can be situated. This dissertation looks at Artaud, Brecht, and Copeau as early 20th Century examples of theatre artists significantly influenced by Asian performance techniques. Artaud, Brecht, and Copeau helped establish the use of movement as a communicative device, de-emphasizing the written/spoken. The Wooster Group, Théâtre du Soleil, and Complicité are presented as late 20th Century examples of collaborative theatre companies which create new works. These three companies draw on the theories and practices of Artaud, Brecht, and/or Copeau, creating performances where the actors' movement assumes as important a place in performance as text. When addressing SITI's unique actor-training (the Viewpoints Training and the Suzuki Method) this dissertation not only offers an overview of the actor-training and their underlying philosophies, emphasizing those techniques that support their collaborative process, but also provides a context for physical actor-training by looking at Meyerhold, Decroux, and Grotowski. All three developed their own system for training actors that stresses physical training. This dissertation provides biographical background on the Company's founders, Bogart and Suzuki, looking at the key events that influenced their careers and development as artists. This dissertation also reviews the principle published writings by Bogart and Suzuki, identifying key ideas that shape SITI. Finally, this dissertation examines the SITI Company's creative process that eschews the hierarchies found in traditional theatre, by looking at four performances and how they were created (Bob, Room, Score, and Death and the Ploughman) and providing examples of how SITI's training lends itself towards developing choreographic movement. While there are other examples of theatre companies that take a collective approach to their work, SITI's process makes a unique contribution to the theatre world because SITI's work is grounded in its unique actor-training.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:The Ohio State University

School Location:USA - Ohio

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:siti company anne bogart suzuki tadashi actor training viewpoints method collaborative theatre devised movement wexner center for the arts

ISBN:

Date of Publication:01/01/2005

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