The Paper Canoe: A Guide to Theatre Anthropology by Eugenio Barba

By Eugenio Barba

Contents
Preface
1 THE GENESIS OF THEATRE ANTHROPOLOGY
2 DEFINITION
3 habitual PRINCIPLES
Daily and extra-daily.
Balance in action.
The dance of oppositions.
Consistent inconsistency and the advantage of omission. Equivalence.
A determined body.
4 NOTES FOR THE confused (AND FOR MYSELF)
5 strength , OR RA THER, THE THOUGHT
‘Never back this word’.
Seven-tenths—the strength of the absorbed action.
Sats—the power might be suspended.
Intermezzo: the endure who reads the concept, or fairly, deciphers the sats.
Animus and Anima—the temperatures of the strength. proposal in action—the paths of energy.
The go back home.
6 THE DILATED physique: Notes looking for meaning
At the theatre with my mother.
One day you meet a bit lady again.
Meaning and theories.
An empty and useless ritual.
The sound asleep spectators.
The body-mind.
Thought and thoughts.
The Flying Dutchman.
Square circles and dual logics.
The guru understands nothing.
Shakespeare: Prologue to ‘The lifetime of Henry the Fifth’. you're still very beautiful.
The princess who stored the winds at bay.
Shiva’s woman part, moon and darkness.
A fistful of water.
7 A THEATRE no longer made from STONES AND BRICKS
Theatre and drama.
Pre-expressivity and degrees of organization.
The flow of the exercises.
The moon and the city.
The mother’ s smile.
To stay in keeping with the precision of a design.
8 CANOES, BUTTERFLIES AND A HORSE
Only the motion is alive, yet basically the observe remains.
Quipu.
The humans of ritual.
Shadow-words.
Silver Horse—a week of labor.

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Sample text

And this does not mean that someone or something decides for us or that we submit to a decision. Neither does it mean that we are deciding, nor that we are carrying out the action of deciding. Between these two opposite conditions flows a current of life which language does not seem able to represent and around which it flutters with images. Only direct experience, not explanation, shows what it means ‘to be decided’. To explain it with words, we must refer to innumerable associations of ideas, to examples, to the construction of ingenious situations.

32 THE PAPER CANOE All these principles are not aesthetic ways of suggesting how to add beauty to the performer’s body nor how to ‘stylize’ it. They are means to remove what is obviously the body’s daily aspect, in order to avoid it being only a human body condemned to resemble itself, to present and represent only itself. ’ And he explained: ‘If an actor wants to express, then he is divided. ’ Many European languages have an expression which might be chosen to epitomize what is essential for the performer’s life.

But without this rupture, there is no expression. An actor, speaking to his director, explains his own criteria for acting: I speak in the third person and name someone, but I wait for a moment before indicating him or turning towards him. Or, I describe a fact. When I want to underline the text with physical actions, I delay them. 23 ‘Kill the breathing. Kill the rhythm’, Katsuko Azuma’s master repeated to her. To ‘kill’ breathing and to ‘kill’ rhythm means to be aware of the tendency automatically to link gesture to the rhythm of breathing, speaking and music, and to break this link.

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