Sensing Shakespeare's Language: I see, I move, I witness

Mary Jane Masiulionis (Buffalo, New York)

I am a graduate student completing my MA in English at Buffalo State College. I am working on my Master Thesis, proposing the concept of Authentic Movement as a way to approach teaching the meaning of Shakespeare's text. I believe it is essential to approach teaching the language of Shakespeare not just through a literary lens, but through what I call the "lived body" experience. A heightened somatic awareness can enable us to more fully discover, witness, and embrace our beings in the world. Authentic movement, as integrated as a discourse for approaching teaching Shakespeare's language can extend movement research, illuminating the possibilities grounded in bodily ways of knowing. Authentic Movement extends the student's ability to sense Shakespeare language in the body, taking the text off the page and embodying its meaning through the kinesthetic senses. In this thesis study, the body is the researcher and the movement the immediate source of data and meaning making. This research will define the relationship of the meaning of the text as understood through the practice of Authentic Movement. In Authentic Movement, Shakespeare's language and energy emerge from a physical awareness to a specific part of the body, felt internally through proprioception. Energy also surfaces from the body's relationship to the text through the kinesthetic awareness-- the brain's ability to recognize and respond to organic impulses. I hope this research will further illustrate the validity of Authentic Movement and its relationship to language, creating a new pedagogical discourse in teaching Shakespeare's text. Shakespeare's language becomes organic through working with the physical, the kinesthetic and the sensory. This thesis celebrates the important contribution of Authentic Movement in revealing the depth of language in its truth- to be present in the experience of language.

© 2008 Mary Jane Masiulionis

1 comment:

Judy Funderburk said...

Hi Mary Jane,
I am an Authentic Mover living in arlington, Virginia. Ithought you might like to know about Synetic Theatre which uses actors to move out both the emotional and word-based content of great authors, mostly Shakespeare. I recently saw their production of Romeo and Juliet, presented completely without words by an amazing cast. I felt I caught every nuance of Shakespeare's meaning (and then some). It is a more "physical" presentation than Authentic Movement usually is, but "moving" on every level. The archetypes are so available and the timelessness of Shakespeares plays. Perhaps you can find out more about them on a website. All the best, Judy Funderburk