International Studies in Phenomenology and Philosophy

Book | Chapter


(2014) Encounters in performance philosophy, Dordrecht, Springer.

The most mimetic animal

an attempt to deconstruct the actor's body

Esa Kirkkopelto

pp. 121-144

Theatrical performance is considered here in terms of the bodily performance of an actor. How actors act, how they view their art and how others value it are dependent on a shared understanding of human agency. "What is the human and how does it appear?" is a philosophical question to which every theatrical performance offers one possible answer, which very often goes unnoticed. Even in contemporary theatre, where this question is addressed most consciously, we may still be captured by a certain anthropocentrism,1 which is not dependent on what we may think about it, or on our progressive ideas, but is rooted in the very way in which we encounter the world and our fellow beings. Art may offer us the means through which to analyse and change these metaphysical figures, or schemas as they are called here. This kind of transformative practice can happen most directly and concretely in theatre, where the basic component is a living and speaking body. However, it is also in theatre that it confronts its greatest obstacles. This chapter is dedicated to the philosophical analysis of acting: how can acting engage and potentially change our everyday experience?

Publication details

DOI: 10.1057/9781137462725_7

Full citation:

Kirkkopelto, E. (2014)., The most mimetic animal: an attempt to deconstruct the actor's body, in L. Cull & A. Lagaay (eds.), Encounters in performance philosophy, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 121-144.

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