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ISSN 1409-6900 | UDK 82+7     Blesok no. 29 | volume V | November-December, 2002



                     Peer-reviewed journal
Blesok no. 29November-December, 2002
Theatre Theory

Culture is the Body

p. 1
Tadashi Suzuki

    The main purpose of my method is to uncover and bring to the surface the physically perceptive sensibility which actors had originally, before the theatre acquired its various codified performing styles, and to heighten their innate expressive abilities. I first began to think of the method when 1 was trying to search for ways to examine the differences in physical perception among different peoples, such as are found while the actors on stage just stand still, or have an impulse, take some action. I wished to integrate these differences into something we humans could share as a common property, beyond all differences in race and nationality.
    First of all, I felt the necessity of inspecting our human orientation, in sensibility or feeling, toward the ground or floor—the attraction for the ground which the lower half of the body feels. I extracted some basic ways of using the body as perceiving various nuances of feeling, and then arranging them to formulate my method.
    Technically speaking, my method consists of training to learn to speak powerfully and with clear articulation, and also to learn to make the whole body speak, even when one keeps silent. It is thus that actors can learn the best way to exist on the stage. By applying this method, I want to make it possible for actors to develop their ability of physical expression and also to nourish a tenacity of concentration.
    In short, this training is, so to speak, a grammar necessary to materialize the theatre that is in my mind. However, it is desirable that this “grammar” should be assimilated into the body as a second instinct, just as you cannot enjoy a lively conversation as long as you are always conscious of grammar in speaking. These techniques should be mastered, studied, until they serve as an “operational hypothesis,” so that the actors may truly feel themselves “fictional” on stage. For actors to realize the images they themselves pursue, they will have to develop at least this basic physical sensibility.

* * *

    In my opinion, a “cultured” society is one where the perceptive and expressive abilities of the human body are used to the full; where they provide the basic means of communication. A civilized country is not always a “cultured” society.
    It is true that civilization originated in connection with the functions of the human body; it may be interpreted as the expansion of basic functions of the human

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