Cognitive Aspects of the Relation between Script and Scenic Action

Theatre and novel Findings about the Human Mind

Our knowledge about the human mind has undergone rapid development in later years, thanks to improved measurement techniques and increased interchange between different fields of knowledge. Cognitive science is a multidisciplinary approach to the human mind. It involves disciplines such as psychology, linguistics, computational science, neuroscience, and philosophy.

In my dissertation Action reconsidered. Cognitive Aspects of the Relation between Script and Scenic Action I compare findings in cognitive science with experiences made in practical theatre work. The emergence of cognitive science has brought with it that some of the grounding 20th century scientific ideas about the human mind are about to be reappraised. In this process concepts such as action, consciousness, intention and intersubjectivity have aroused renewed scientific interest after long having been in disrepute. In theatre practice these concepts have always retained crucial importance.

The comparison between knowledge gathered in the respective fields unveil interesting coincidences. Novel findings about the human mind comply very well with experiences often made in the practice of theatre. In my dissertation I treat both work with traditional plays and with untraditional, avant-garde and alternative writings for the theatre from the end of the 19th century onwards.

I argue that post-behaviourist theories about the human mind within contemporary cognitive science also challenge behaviouristic elements within the theory of the modern theatre. I conclude that the element of action in theatre deserves to be reconsidered.