Forgetting in Order to Remember: The Actor-Character Problem in Contemporary Theatre

  • Rimgailė Renevytė
Keywords: character, role, psychological acting, interaction, Konstantin Stanislavski, detachment, Bertolt Brecht, actor’s self-consciousness


The article examines the contemporary notion of role and acting. In contemporary theatre, actors dealing with different directing strategies tend not only to apply or to adapt but also to even deconstruct the classical acting systems of the twentieth century. Yet theoretical discourse still lacks any substantial and clear methodological analysis of these creative strategies that would allow us to clarify the contemporary notion of role and acting. The article uses the perspective of acting and memory theory to consider the interaction between the actor and the character. By analysing the well-known Polish performance (A)Pollonia (dir. Krysztof Warlikowski, Nowy Teatr, 2009), it is argued that the exposed interaction between the actor and the character has become an essential part for creating the role and for the performance itself. The intention is to show that by absorbing the elements of the Brechtian tradition, the actors reveal themselves in the role beside the character, thus expanding the structure of the character beyond the limits of its traditional form. In addition to that, of equal importance becomes the actors’ relationship with themselves, their self-consciousness and self-creation through the creation of the role.