Just Be Yourself

Derrida, Difference, and the Meisner Technique
  • Louise M. Stinespring


In his essay “Just Be Yourself,” performance scholar Philip Auslander calls into question Constantin Stanislavsky’s theories of acting and examines them under the lens of Derrida s discourse on “difference.”1 Auslander wants us to observe Stanislavsky s theories in order to take issue with the idea that truthful acting resides in the actor s self. He critiques the Stanislavsky System and, by implication, Method acting, by attaching its ideas to “logocentrism.” He defines logocentrism as “the orientation of philosophy toward an order of meaning—thought, truth, reason, logic, the Word—conceived as existing in itself, as foundation.”2 Auslander claims theorists, including Stanislavsky, Bertolt Brecht, and Jerzy Gro- towski, “implicitly designate the actors self as the logos of performance” and that for them the self is “an autonomous foundation for acting.” He contributes a counterclaim that maintains that the actor’s self is not the foundation for acting, but instead “the actorly self” is “produced by the performance it supposedly grounds.”3


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    Philip Auslander, “Just Be Yourself’: Logocentrism and Differance in Performance Theory,” From Acting to Performance: Essays in Modernism and Postmodernism (London: Routledge, 1997), 28–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Ibid., 28. Auslander quotes from Jonathan Culler, After Structuralism (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1982), 92.Google Scholar
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    Rodolphe Gasche, The Wild Card of Reading: On Paul de Man (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1998), 164.Google Scholar
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    Elinor Fuchs, The Death of Character: Perspectives on Theater after Modernism (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1996), 24.Google Scholar
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© David Krasner 2000

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  • Louise M. Stinespring

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