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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Applications of Sports Psychology to the Actor's Process
by Nemecek, Kristin , M.F.A., California State University, Long Beach, 2020, 40; 27993200
Abstract (Summary)

Applications of Sports Psychology to the Actor’s Process began as an observational study I conducted during the fall semester 2019 at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB). The study incorporated vocabulary, principles, and exercises drawn from the canon of Sports Psychology and applied to a theatrical rehearsal process in order to examine their usefulness for actors and acting educators. The primary sources of investigation included theories from The Inner Game of Tennis: The Classic Guide to the Mental Side of Peak Performance by Timothy Gallwey, various relaxation techniques such as Progressive Muscular Relaxation developed by Dr. Edmond Jacobson, exercises from Inside Sport Psychology by Costas I. Karageorghis and Peter C. Terry, as well as certain theories and methods culled from the work of Dr. Kevin Sverduk, author of The Performance Mindset: A Process-Focused System for Golf Excellence. The participants of this study were four CSULB undergraduate theatre majors at varying points in their acting training. They incorporated these particular principles and exercises from Sports Psychology into their theatrical preparations as we rehearsed a stage production entitled Words Unspoken, which was performed in the 15th week of the semester. Throughout the study, I evaluated the effectiveness of the various exercises based on Timothy Gallwey’s formula which states “Performance equals potential minus interference.” I measured an exercise or principle to be “effective” if it resulted in an increase of potential and/or decrease in interference in the participant’s performance based on three measurable categories: Emotional State, Focus of Attention, and Ability to Follow Impulses. All four participants saw improvements in at least two of the three measurable categories from the start of the semester to the final performance. While I found the methods we explored throughout the study to be valuable to the actor to varying degrees, I strongly believe their effectiveness warrants further investigation.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: O'Gorman, Hugh
Commitee: LeBank, Ezra, Sverduk, Kevin
School: California State University, Long Beach
Department: Theatre Arts
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 82/4(E), Masters Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Performing Arts, Performing arts education, Psychology, Pedagogy
Keywords: Acting, Performance theory, Sports psychology, Actor's process, Theatrical rehearsal process, Acting educator, The Inner Game of Tennis, Timothy Gallwey, The Performance Mindset, Kevin Sverduk, Words Unspoken, Performance effectiveness
Publication Number: 27993200
ISBN: 9798684693854
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