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Acting in Real Time

Paul Binnerts

Publication Year: 2012

Acting in Real Time by renowned Dutch director and acting teacher Paul Binnerts describes his method for Real-Time Theater, which authorizes actors to actively determine how a story is told---they are no longer mere vehicles for delivering the playwright's message or the director's interpretations of the text. This level of involvement allows actors to deepen their grasp of the material and amplify their stage presence, resulting in more engaged and nuanced performances. The method offers a postmodern challenge to Stanislavski and Brecht, whose theories of stage realism dominated the twentieth century. In providing a new way to consider the actor's presence on stage, Binnerts advocates breaking down the "fourth wall" that separates audiences and actors and has been a central tenet of acting theories associated with realism. In real-time theater, actors forgo attempts to become characters and instead understand their function to be storytellers who are fully present on stage and may engage the audience and their fellow actors directly. Paul Binnerts analyzes the ascendance of realism as the dominant theater and acting convention and how its methods can hinder the creation of a more original, imaginative theater. His description of the techniques of real-time theater is illuminated by practical examples from his long experience in the stage. The book then offers innovative exercises that provide training in the real-time technique, including physical exercises that help the actor become truly present in performance. Acting in Real Time also includes a broad overview of the history of acting and realism's relationship to the history of theater architecture, offering real-time theater as an alternative. The book will appeal to actors and acting students, directors, stage designers, costume designers, lighting designers, theater historians, and dramaturgs.

Published by: University of Michigan Press

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pp. xiii-xv

Writing this book has been quite a journey, which started when my son, David, told me that I “should write that down.” This was in Holland, where I spent most of my professional life as a director, acting teacher, . . .

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Introduction: Human Behavior Is the Core Business of Theater

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pp. 1-11

Two acting styles and techniques dominated Western theater in the twentieth century. At the beginning of the century, the Russian actordirector Konstantin Stanislavski1 developed the convention of . . .

Part 1: Premises and Inspirations

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1. The Dilemmas of the Actor: Who Is He and What Is His Task?

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pp. 15-23

If the presence of the actor is the most important feature of real-time theater, we want to know who the actor is. By this I don’t mean the glossy, glamorous, biographical gossip on actors in the media, and not . . .

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2. The Heart and Soul of the Actor: Stanislavski’s Approach

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pp. 24-42

The core of all theater is drama. In the classical dramaturgy recorded by Aristotle in his Poetics,1 the word drama means “action”—it is “something that happens,” an event, or a situation told as a story. (Many . . .

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3. The Actor as Eyewitness to Social Processes: Brecht’s Approach

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pp. 43-52

Stanislavski’s acting technique of psychological realism was meant to ensure that the audience would experience the dramatic situation and the characters as a kind of substitute reality with which they could . . .

Part II: Acting In Real Time

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4. The Technique

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pp. 55-139

The identity of an individual is defined to a high degree by what she does, and what she does is influenced by character structure, temperament, and all mental characteristics. External events—political and . . .

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5. The Workshop

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pp. 140-185

The idea for a workshop came to me in 1978 while I was working with drama students at the University of Utrecht on a show called Figures of Contemporary History, based on Heinrich Böll’s novel . . .

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6. The Exercises

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pp. 186-gallery

Part III: Real-Time Acting and Theater In Historical Perspective

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7. Origins and Conventions

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pp. 207-233

Since realism became a style and a convention in the theater, playwrights, directors, and actors have resisted its overwhelming consequences. This began in Stanislavski’s time and lasts until today. Many . . .

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8. New Conventions and Innovations

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pp. 234-283

Driven by enormous technological and scienti‹c innovations, the secularization of society accelerated, and the persistent needs of humankind to overcome the threats of nature led men and women to take upon . . .


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pp. 259-203

Illustrations (follow page 204)

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pp. galley 1-galley 8

E-ISBN-13: 9780472028566
E-ISBN-10: 0472028561
Print-ISBN-13: 9780472035038
Print-ISBN-10: 0472117947

Page Count: 272
Illustrations: 16 B&W photos
Publication Year: 2012