Theatre, Acting, Performance, Movement, Voice
I propose to study the role of Professor Muller in The Visit as my thesis role because of the challenge that it presents, not only as a translated work, but also because of the character shift for me - Professor Muller is a 72 year old man and has now been changed to a woman in her thirties. Professor Muller is the only person to stand up to the antagonist, Claire. The confrontation between Claire and Muller takes on a certain tone when it is between a woman and a man, and has a completely different outlook when it becomes woman vs. woman. The director has taken this play and set it in an abstract time and setting, loosely basing it in a post WW2 era in perhaps Switzerland, or even Germany, although the location will never be actually specified by the director. It is merely a suggestion of where we should begin the process of characterization. The town gives off an appearance of desolation, but we must retain the knowledge of better times. This challenge of not having specifics almost grinds at me to place specifics on the character, but I will attempt to refrain from this. This role will not only challenge my training here in movement, voice and character analysis, but will allow me to pursue a new kind of development in character, one that does not have to be mapped out. This character can be created only through the other characters on the stage. There are no clues in the script, really, because of extensive cuttings and re-workings through this translation. The Professor is defined by relationships, not by words, and this new process excites me. After the show has closed, I would like to explore the play in its entirety and look to see if I have remained true to the author's work while working in a new concept from the director. I think it is possible to still hold to the origins and maintain the message of the play even through such large changes. This is going to be one of the most challenging roles that I have faced. I think that at the same time that I am going to apply my training, I also need to let it go and explore her through my body, my heart. At home, outside the theatre, I can go through the analytical parts - the "who am I" and "where do I come from" questions. My journals will be exceptionally useful for this knowledge. However, in rehearsals, I want to "let it all go" and "fly by the seat of my pants" to uncover answers that might be lost to me if I use only my brain. This is my biggest weakness as an actor - allowing my brain to take over. The problem with over-analyzing is that I look to deeply into the words and the script for the clues that my body may already be telling me, or I miss an impulse to act on a feeling because I am to caught up reading into everything. I need to read, and then play, not read and concentrate. We are doing a "play" after all, not a "work". It is my hope that I can allow myself to play more, and thereby overcome this weakness.
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Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)
College of Arts and Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Harrison, Stephanie, "A Performance Study And Analysis Of The Role Of Professor Muller In The Visit." (2006). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2004-2019. 796.