Two hands from The Dance of Death

Project probes the body's effect on dramatic text


During theatre rehearsals, working with the text and working with movement is often separated. But how would an actor’s interpretation and performance of dramatic text be affected if that, too, was conducted with the body in focus? This question forms the basis of Aleksandra Czarnecki Plaude’s research project ”Pronounced embodiment” which is being presented on 25 May.

Aleksandra Czarnecki Plaude is a researcher and assistant professor in movement staging at the Department of Acting at Stockholm University of the Arts. But she’s also an actively working stage director, and a large part of her project is based on practices and methods developed during a staging of August Strindberg’s The Dance of Death that she directed for Teater Västernorrland.

The staging received significant attention, not least for what lies at the centre of the research project: the practice of embodied reading.

“At the turn of the last century, a significant focus in drama was the performance of the subconscious,” Aleksandra Czarnecki Plaude explains. “Those strains of thought have inspired me, and my assertion is that the body can be seen as a conduit between text and subtext. I am interested in examining how that work can be systematized and made a conscious part of rehearsal practice.”

At the project presentation Aleksandra Czarnecki Plaude will discuss the project with the three actors she worked with during rehearsals of The Dance of Death. Based on performance fragments they will examine the rehearsal practices and will at the same time receive critical input from Olle Jansson, former vice-chancellor of what was then the Swedish National Academy of Mime and Acting, as well as the audience. The idea is to let this form part of the process during the continuation of the work.