Phillip Zarrilli

Phillip Zarrilli
Phillip Zarrilli

Phillip Zarrilli works internationally as a director and training actors in psychophysical process through Asian martial/meditation arts. He has also worked extensively with Indian dancers/choreographers, for example Walking Naked with Bharatanatyam dancer/choreographer Gitanjali Kolanad (2000). In 2003, he adapted and directed the seventh-century Sanskrit farce for the UK-based Bharatanatyam dance/theatre company Sangalpam. A new solo piece, The Flowering Tree (with Gitanjali Kolanad), opened in 2006. Between 1976 and 1993, Zarrilli lived in Kerala for a total of seven years—each trip devoted to intensive training in Kalarippayattu. He authored the first authoritative study of Kalarippayattu, When the Body Becomes All Eyes: Paradigms and Practices of Power in Kalarippayattu, published by Oxford University Press (1998/2000). He also received beginner’s training in Kathakali dance-drama in 1976-77. The Llanarth Group was founded in 2000 when Zarrilli moved to the UK. Projects are international in scope and bring together a variety of artists to collaborate on particular productions. The work is always informed by a psychophysical approach to acting through Asian martial/meditation arts as the basis for developing a common language and process of performance. Zarrilli also teaches psychophysical process at the University of Exeter, UK.

Research Project

Told by the Wind: A Practice-Led Interrogation of 'Quiet Theatre' as a Site for Making and Reflecting upon Post-Dramatic Intercultural Theatre

In this practice-led research project, director/actor/scholar Phillip Zarrilli co-creates a new piece of intercultural theatre (Told by the Wind) with playwright/dramaturg Kaite O'Reilly and dancer/choreographer Jo Shapland. Drawing inspiration from a variety of traditional and contemporary sources both Eastern and Western, especially Japanese Noh, the ‘quiet’ theatre of Ota Shogo and the minimalism of Samuel Beckett, this project examines at micro case study level issues of making ‘inter-cultural’ performance in which there is no attempt to reproduce the characteristics of the source traditions, but rather an attempt to make ‘new’ performance.

Selected Publications

  • Zarrilli, P., Psychophysical Acting: an intercultural approach after Stanislavski, London: Routledge, 2009. 
  • Zarrilli, P., Fischer-Sorgenfrei, C., McConachie, B. and Williams, G. J. (eds.), Theatre Histories: An Introduction, London: Routledge, 2010.