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The reaction in counter-action: how Meisner technique and active analysis complement each other

Strandberg-Long, Philippa (2019) The reaction in counter-action: how Meisner technique and active analysis complement each other. Stanislavski Studies, 7 (1). pp. 95-108. ISSN 2056-7790. (doi:10.1080/20567790.2019.1576114) (KAR id:74522)

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This article is an investigation into the difference between reaction and counter-action. The question arose during my experience of Active Analysis at the Stanislavski Acting Laboratory in California Riverside University. In the Meisner technique the emphasis lies on instinctive reaction, whereas in Stanislavski’s Active Analysis the action and counter-action are emphasised. Counter-action can be seen as the force working against the main action of the scene creating conflict. Having extensive knowledge of reaction, and experience of counter-action, it became important to understand the difference between the two concepts and the importance of both in actor training and application to text. Through research into Action-Perception theory, self-regulation and motivation, I attempt to dissect the fundamental discrepancies between the two principles. My findings show that reaction stems from impulse and instinct, whereas counter-action is rooted in motivation. When motivation and instinct are in conflict, self-regulation will attempt to supress the impulse and over-ride it with an alternative counter-action more suited to the overall motivation. As self-regulation is a limited resource, prolonged use will make this harder to control. Emotion control draws on the same limited resource as self-regulation. Suggesting that emotion regulation would be affected by a conflict in instinct and motivation. These conclusions have a strong impact on how emotions are manifested and produced in actors and warrant a re-evaluation of how actors reach emotional connection to the given circumstance, as well as how emotion is viewed and engaged with in actor training in general.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1080/20567790.2019.1576114
Uncontrolled keywords: Action, counter-action, reaction, Meisner technique, active analysis
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > School of Arts
Faculties > Humanities > School of Arts > Drama and Theatre
Depositing User: P.U.E. Strandberg-Long
Date Deposited: 21 Jun 2019 11:13 UTC
Last Modified: 14 Aug 2020 23:00 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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