Associate Professor, Tom Scholte will travel to the University of Ottawa for the SHAKESPEARE + CANADA Symposium April 21 to 23 where he will present a paper reflecting upon the significant contributions to Canadian actor training made by our own Associate Professor Emeritus, the late Neil Freeman. The paper, entitled SHAKESPEAREAN PERFORMANCE AS EMBODIED THOUGHT will subsequently appear in an edited volume of papers from the symposium (held to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s passing) to be published by University of Ottawa Press in July 2016.
Tom’s abstract, the summary of his paper:
In the mid-2000’s, upon the occasion of his retirement, I had the intimidating assignment of replacing the nationally and internationally renowned, and larger than life, Neil Freeman as the teacher of Shakespearian acting at the University of British Columbia. Having been trained by Neil as both an actor and director at UBC in the 90’s I was, at least, well positioned to facilitate a sense of continuation of Neil’s unique pedagogy while the same time, reconciling it with my own continually evolving practice.
Neil’s sudden passing in October of 2015 has led me to revisit my reflections upon his seminal role in my evolution as an actor, director, and teacher and, while he is, arguably, best known for his role in ongoing debates around the use of folio texts vs. modern texts in rehearsal, I will argue that his most substantial contribution to actor training lies in his ideas regarding the “shape” of human thought which anticipated (by several decades) some of the findings now being explicated within the “cognitive turn” in Theatre Studies.
Along the way, I will describe the methods he employed to assist student actors in negotiating the tensions between the imagistic demands of Shakespearean text and the Stanislavskian fixation on the “other- centred” notion of the objective/intention that remains the bedrock of much post-secondary actor training in Canada.
I will conclude by contextualizing these methods within the traditional tri- partite “acting/voice/movement” structure within which this training takes place.