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'In finding a means to overcome the "separation" between the mind and the body, a psychophysiological understanding and practice of acting makes available to the actor an alternative to the too often cognitively based model of the psychological/behavioral creation of the character.' (Zarrilli, 2002a: 194)

In noh and kathakali, the character is being created 'not in the personality of th actor but as an embodied and projected/energised/living form between actor and audience. These Asian forms assume no "suspension of disbelief", rather the actor and spectator co-create the figure embodied in the actor as the "other". The "power of presence" manifest in this stage other, while embodied in this particular actor in this particular moment, is not limited to that ego. That dynamic figure existrs between audience and actor, transcending both, pointing beyond itself.' (Zarrilli, 2002a: 144)

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Phillip Zarrilli is internationally known for utilizing the techniques and principles of embodiment in kalarippayaattu, yoga, and t’aiquiquan for training actors and dancers to paradoxically 'stand still while not standing still' and to allow their 'body to become all eyes'.

The training allows the performer to develop a heightened sense of activation through breath in movement, focus/concentration, circulation of energy through the body and relationship to the performance/spatial environment through the development of the performer’s awareness. He regularly conducts long-term training programmes at his private studio in Wales—Tyn-y-parc C.V.N. Kalari/Studio, in London, and throughout the world.

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Zarrilli utilises intensive training and workshops that 'teach focus, concentration, discovery and use of inner energy (prana or prana-vayu, and sakti), and bodymind integration through Asian martial/meditation arts including Chinese t’ai chi ch’uan (Wu style), and traditional South Indian hatha yoga and the closely related South Indian martial art, kalarippayattu. Training as well as intensive workshops focus on the breath, and movement integrated with and through breath.

Emphasis is on repetition of basic psychyophysiological forms at beginning, intermediate, as well as advanced levels in order to access "stillness at the centre" and eventually allow the body to "become all eyes"--an optimal level of intuitive awareness/consciousness. Through these beautiful, fluid movement forms, the work is of equal use to those involved in dance, theatre, martial/meditation arts, or anyone interested in unlocking the body’s natural flow and internal energy.

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Zarrilli’s training and workshops usually empahsize and provide opportunities to apply the principles and training to performance. Application to performance circumstances takes places through a series of structured improvisations. The work is then further applied to work on texts such as plays by Samuel Beckett, Ota Shogo’s Station trilogy, etc., or in individual coaching sessions.

Phillip Zarrilli is conducting a workshop for the presence project: Toward a Dispositional State of Possibility—with a touch of ‘madness' See also [link]

Intermediate and advanced training/workshops teach advanced sequences, and weapons work, beginning with staff, then progressing through short-stick (ceruvadi), otta, dagger, sword and shield, mace, etc.' from

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Zarrilli has devised this training as an alternative to the ‘cognitively based model of psychological/behavioral creation of the character’ (Zarrilli 2002a: 194). Through his training he achieves an optimalisation of performer awareness that allows him to approach non-naturalistic authors (such as Beckett, Kane, Genet, to mention but a few). This training is especially designed to teach ‘focus, concentration, discovery and use of inner energy and bodymind integration’. The training focuses on ‘breath and movement integrated with and through the breath.’ The emphasis is on the repetition of specific psychophysiological forms to allow the body to reach an optimal level of intuitive awareness/consciousness.

'Through assiduous attentiveness to breath, this (kalarippayattu) is not simply a form of physical training of the body, but a training toward an alternative bodymind awareness and consciousness - a way to actualize a state of concentration in relation to the spatio-temporal environment. (Zarrilli, 2002: 157)

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For Phillip Zarrilli's website see [link]

For an interesting article on the application of Zarrilli's method to Beckett rehearsals see [link]


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