Dissertation Defence: Dan Leberg
The Moving Parts: Screen Acting and Empathy | Agnietenkapel, 8 November at 10:00 hrs. | Supervisors: Patricia Pisters & Catherine Lord.
Dan’s dissertation analyses screen acting as a practice from the actor outwards, rather than from the perspective of a film spectator watching a performance. In doing so, this study breaks with the performance analysis tradition in film and media studies, arguing instead that screen acting is the solicitation of three distinct, overlapping, and complementary empathetic relationships. This theoretical claim, which layers cognitive neuroscience with phenomenological philosophy, is qualified by ethnographic data from interviews with professional screen actors and with examples from prominent American Method Acting practices. By prioritizing the screen actor’s process over a semiotic dissection of the final performance on screen, this research reassesses the screen actor’s creative agency as being more than just another “moving part” of the mise-en-scene.