Author Identifiers

Chelsea Crothers
ORCID: 0000-0001-5429-1024

Date of Award

2021

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (Performing Arts)

School

Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA)

First Advisor

Dr Frances Barbe

Second Advisor

Dr Jonathan Marshall

Abstract

This study examined the Nobbs Suzuki Praxis (NSP), a performer training that evolved as an Australian variant of the Japanese Suzuki Method of Actor Training (SMAT). There has been little research on NSP up until now and this study seeks to establish its importance as a training approach that has the potential to be transformative for the performers who practice it. The study utilised a multi-modal approach that included traditional and practice as research methodologies. The origins of NSP in SMAT were traced to identify similarities and differences, and reveal NSP’s inspirations and the reasons for its subsequent divergent evolution. NSP diverged as the result of an attempt by John Nobbs to clarify misconceptions about SMAT: that it is ‘movement-training’ as opposed to actor-training, that it is an exclusively Japanese theatre form as opposed to a method that could travel and transcend cultural boundaries, and that it is a directorial aesthetic or style of performance rather than a wholistic performer-training. NSP divergences were identified as alterations or additions, depending on their degree of separation from SMAT. This exegesis argues that NSP is more accessible to a broader participant group than SMAT. ‘Broader’ here means the training is more accessible to different ages, levels of experience and physical capacity. The study highlighted the particular intention in NSP of awakening a performer’s personal mythology, a uniquely individual performative state. Workshops and interviews were conducted with beginners to the training to explore the effects of NSP, revealing that it creates more formats for performers to awaken and unleash the potential of their personal mythology. While an experienced and perceptive facilitator is invaluable to a performer’s development, the performer’s access to revelatory experience was evidenced to be independent of what might be characterised as a ‘hierarchical master-student’ relationship. NSP is just one possible permutation of SMAT but this study demonstrates how NSP empowers advanced practitioners to, in turn, develop their own variations on SMAT and NSP as they respond to the individual and specific needs of their context.

Available for download on Wednesday, November 09, 2022

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