Using techniques from acting scholars and practitioners, this practice as research study seeks to lesson anxiety in actors by measuring the actor's preparation, rehearsal and performance process against each of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's conditions of flow. Csikszentmihalyi's flow theory describes flow as an "optimal experience" in which a person is so invested in their goals, there is "no threat for the self to defend against" (M. Csikszentmihalyi 76). His research identified conditions that when present, can induce a state of flow. However, actors can be plagued by negative thoughts and self-consciousness. While a certain amount of anxiety is expected and normal, for some actors it can become debilitating, preventing them from entering a state of flow. Why? What causes this anxiety and how does it interrupt flow? Is there a way to stay in flow and stop anxiety from effecting performance? In rehearsals, directors guide actors on a quest to enter flow. However, few known pedagogies use flow theory as a basis for training. This thesis documents one actor's quest to create conditions that will allow a higher frequency of flow, thereby stopping anxiety from overtaking the process.
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Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
School of Performing Arts
Theatre; Acting Track
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
King, Kimberly (Kimber), "Flow Theory in the Actor's Process: Can the Pursuit of Optimal Experience Alleviate Anxiety?" (2023). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2020-. 1592.