Crafting Necessary Temptations and Needful Freedoms: Lecoq’s Actor–Instructor Relationship

  • Maiya MurphyEmail author
Part of the Cognitive Studies in Literature and Performance book series (CSLP)


Murphy investigates the unique relationship between the actor and the instructor in Lecoq pedagogy. She explains how Lecoq’s via negativa intersects with his essentialist rhetoric and practices to forge the actor-creator. This chapter introduces the concept of satisficing to understand how Lecoq’s version of via negativa empowers the actor-creator to make choices that suit particular theatrical contexts. Murphy uses Hans Jonas’s notion of needful freedom to explain how freedom and constraint shape the emergence of the actor-creator. She addresses Lecoq’s essentialist rhetoric and practices by not only marking the ways that Lecoq destabilizes them, but also introducing how an enactive view reveals the necessity of creating pedagogical paradoxes to forge an empowered creator.


  1. Barnes, Barry. 2011. Essentialisms in the Sciences. Critical Quarterly 53, no. 4: 90–102.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Chamberlain, Franc, and Ralph Yarrow, eds. 2002. Jacques Lecoq and the British Theatre. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  3. Coletto, Paola, and Jennifer Buckley. 2016. What Works and What Doesn’t Work: On Play. In The Routledge Companion to Jacques Lecoq, eds. Mark Evans and Rick Kemp, 112–118. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  4. Di Paolo, Ezequiel A., Marieke Rohde, and Hanne De Jaegher. 2010. Horizons for the Enactive Mind: Values, Social Interaction, and Play. In Enaction: Toward a New Paradigm for Cognitive Science, eds. John Stewart, Olivier Gapenne, and Ezequiel A. Di Paolo, 33–87. Cambridge: MIT.Google Scholar
  5. Fontaine, Jeannine. “BOOK REVIEW”. Accessed November 27, 2017.
  6. Fusetti, Giovanni, and Suzy Willson. 2002. The Pedagogy of the Poetic Body. In The Paris Jigsaw: Internationalism and the City’s Stages, eds. David Bradby and Maria M. Delgado, 93–101. New York: Manchester UP.Google Scholar
  7. Fuss, Diana. 1989. Essentially Speaking: Feminism, Nature, and Difference. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  8. Gibson, James J. 2015. The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception. New York: Psychology Press and Routledge Classic Editions.Google Scholar
  9. Gill, Christopher. 2011. Essentialism in Aristotle’s Biology. Critical Quarterly 53, no. 4: 12–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Grotowski, Jerzy. 1991. Towards a Poor Theatre, ed. Eugenio Barba. London: Methuen.Google Scholar
  11. Haser, Verena. 2005. Metaphor, Metonymy, and Experientialist Philosophy: Challenging Cognitive Semantics. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Jonas, Hans. 2001. The Phenomenon of Life: Toward a Philosophical Biology. Evanston: Northwestern UP.Google Scholar
  13. Kemp, Rick. 2017. The Embodied Performance Pedagogy of Jacques Lecoq. Connection Science 29, no. 1: 94–105.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Kyselo, Miriam. 2014. The Body Social: An Enactive Approach to the Self. Frontiers in Psychology 5: 986.Google Scholar
  15. Lakoff, George, and Mark Johnson. 1999. Philosophy in the Flesh: The Embodied Mind and Its Challenge to Western Thought. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  16. Lakoff, George, and Mark Johnson. 2008. Metaphors We Live By. Chicago: U of Chicago P.Google Scholar
  17. Lecoq, Jacques. 1987. Le Théâtre du geste. Paris: Bordas.Google Scholar
  18. Lecoq, Jacques with Jean-Gabriel Carasso, and Jean-Claude Lallias. 2001. The Moving Body (Le Corps poétique): Teaching Creative Theatre. Trans. David Bradby. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  19. Lecoq, Jacques with Jean-Gabriel Carasso, and Jean-Claude Lallias. 2016. The Moving Body (Le Corps Poétique): Teaching Creative Theatre. Trans. David Bradby. London: Bloomsbury Methuen Drama.Google Scholar
  20. Lecoq, Jacques en collaboration avec Jean-Gabriel Carasso et Jean-Claude Lallias. 2016. Le Corps poétique: Un enseignement de la creation théâtrale. Paris: Actes Sud-Papiers.Google Scholar
  21. May, Shaun. 2015. Rethinking Practice as Research and the Cognitive Turn. London: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Murphy, Maiya. 2013. In Corporation: Physical Theater, Cognitive Science, and Moving Toward a Paradigmatic Revolution in Epistemology. Ph.D. diss., University of California, San Diego, ProQuest.Google Scholar
  23. Murphy, Maiya. 2015. Fleshing Out: Physical Theater, Postmodern Dance, and Som[e]agency. In The Oxford Handbook of Dance and Theater, ed. Nadine George-Graves, 125–147. New York: Oxford UP.Google Scholar
  24. Murphy, Maiya. 2016. Taking Up the Bodies and Bringing Forth a World: Lecoq’s Actor Training and Enactivism. Paper presented at A Body of Knowledge Conference Irvine, California, Claire Trevor School of the Arts, University of California, 8–10 December.
  25. Murray, Simon. 2003. Jacques Lecoq. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  26. Proulx, Jérôme. 2008. Some Differences Between Maturana and Varela’s Theory of Cognition and Constructivism. Complicity: An International Journal of Complexity and Education 5, no. 1: 11–26.Google Scholar
  27. Richardson, Angelique. 2011. Introduction: Essentialism in Science and Culture. Critical Quarterly 53, no. 4: 1–11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Rosch, E., C.B Mervis, W.D. Gray, D.M. Johnson, and P. Boyes-Braem. 1976. Basic Objects in Natural Categories. Cognitive Psychology 8, no. 3: 382–439.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Thompson, Evan. 2007. Mind in Life: Biology, Phenomenology, and the Sciences of the Mind. Cambridge: The Belknap Press of Harvard University.Google Scholar
  30. Troscianko, Emily T. 2014. Reading Kafka Enactively. Paragraph 37, no. 1: 15–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Turney, Peter. 2009. Criticisms of Lakoff’s Theory of Metaphor. Apperceptual (blog), 23 August.
  32. Varela, F.J. 1981. Autonomy and Autopoiesis. In Self-Organizing Systems: An Interdisciplinary Approach, eds. G. Roth and H. Schwegler, 14–24. Frankfurt/New York: Campus Verlag. Online access at Accessed August 2018.
  33. Varela, Francisco J., Evan Thompson, and Eleanor Rosch. 2017. The Embodied Mind: Cognitive Science and the Human Experience. Revised ed. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  34. Willson, Suzy. 2016. Moving Medicine. In The Routledge Companion to Jacques Lecoq, eds. Mark Evans and Rick Kemp, 218–226. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  35. Wright, John. 2002. The Masks of Jacques Lecoq. In Jacques Lecoq and the British Theatre, eds. Franc Chamberlain and Ralph Yarrow, 61–84. London: Routledge.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore

Personalised recommendations