‘Wide Atlantic Ocean’ : acting methods and cultural translation in mainstream theatre

Heim, Caroline L. (2011) ‘Wide Atlantic Ocean’ : acting methods and cultural translation in mainstream theatre. In Transcultural. Transnational. Transformation.Australasian Association for Theatre, Drama and Performance Studies Conference, 28 June – 1 July 2011, Monash University. (Unpublished)


A recent production of Nicholson’s Shadowlands at the Brisbane Powerhouse could have included two advertising lines: “Outspoken American-Jewish poet meets conservative British Oxford scholar” and “Emotive American Method trained actor meets contained British trained actor.” While the fusion of acting methodologies in intercultural acting has been discussed at length, little discussion has focussed on the juxtaposition of diverse acting styles in production in mainstream theatre. This paper explores how the permutation of American Method acting and a more traditional British conservatory acting in Crossbow’s August 2010 production of Shadowlands worked to add extra layers of meaning to the performance text. This sometimes inimical relationship between two acting styles had its beginnings in the rehearsal room and continued onstage. Audience reception to the play in post-performance discussions revealed the audience’s acute awareness of the transatlantic cultural tensions on stage. On one occasion, this resulted in a heated debate on cultural expression, continuing well after the event, during which audience members became co-performers in the cultural discourses of the play.

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ID Code: 54237
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: No
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING (190000) > PERFORMING ARTS AND CREATIVE WRITING (190400) > Drama Theatre and Performance Studies (190404)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Past > Institutes > Institute for Creative Industries and Innovation
Past > Schools > School of Media, Entertainment & Creative Arts
Deposited On: 21 Oct 2012 23:17
Last Modified: 03 Jun 2015 23:50

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