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Phillip Zarrilli

Phillip Zarrilli

Interweaving Performance Cultures

Fellow 2009/10, 2010/11, 2012/13, 2013/14, 2015/16

Phillip Zarrilli works internationally as a director and trains actors/dancers using psychophysical processes through Asian martial/meditation arts. During his career he has created, directed, or performed in over 18 ‘intercultural’ productions. Most recently, he directed the world premiere of Kaite O’Reilly’s Cosy (Wales Millennium Centre, 2016). Later in 2016 he will be remounting the Mandarin production of Kaite O’Reilly’s The 9 Fridas with Mobius Strip Theatre (Taipei) in association with Hong Kong Rep for performances at the HK Rep Black Box Festival in October. In 2017 he will be directing several Beckett plays at the National Theatre, Costa Rica. In 2015 he co-created and directed a major new intercultural performance entitled, playing ‘the maids’ which premiered in Cardiff, Wales. This new work was co-created by nine artists from The Llanarth Group (Wales), Gaitkrash (Ireland), and Theatre P’yut (Seoul), along with two independent artists from Ireland/Singapore. Other recent co-created performances with The Llanarth Group include The Echo Chamber with Kaite O’Reilly, Peader Kirk, and Ian Morgan (2012); Told by the Wind with Kaite O’Reilly and Jo Shapland (THE LLANARTH GROUP 2010 which continues to tour internationally, most recently in Tokyo in 2013); and “sweet…dry…bitter…plaintive” with bharatanatyam dancer/choreographer Stella Subbiah of SANKALPAM (2010). Zarrilli founded THE LLANARTH GROUP when he moved to the UK in 2000. Projects are international in scope and bring together a variety of artists for collaborative work. Between 1976 and 1993, Zarrilli lived in Kerala, India for a total of seven years—each trip devoted to undergoing intensive training in and researching kalarippayattu—Kerala’s traditional yoga-based martial art. He is the author of numerous books including Psychophysical Acting: an intercultural approach after Stanislavski (2009), When the body becomes all eyes: paradigms, practices and discourses of power in kalarippayattu (Oxford University Press 1998), Kathakali Dance-Drama: Where Gods and Demons Come to Play (Routledge, 2000), and (ed.) Acting Reconsidered (Routledge, 2002), among many others.

Research Project

Intercultural Acting: issues and problems

Returning for the next phase of his research project, during 2016 Zarrilli will continue to reflect and write about issues of intercultural acting and theories of acting and performance. He is currently lead guest editor of a special issue of TDPT on ‘intercultural acting’—due to appear in 2017. He is authoring an essay on issues of intercultural acting for IRC. He will also continue work on a new book, Toward a Phenomenology of Acting (under contract with Routledge Press, London).

Selected Publications

  • ‘“Inner movement” between practices of meditation, martial arts, and acting: a focused examination of affect, feeling, sensing, and sensory attunement,’ in Ritual, Performance, and the Senses, edited by Michael Bull and Jon P. Pitchell. London: Bloomsbury, 121-136, 2015.
  • ‘“…beneath the surface” of Told by the Wind: An Intercultural Experiment in Performance Dramaturgy and Aesthetics’, Asian Theatre Journal, 32, 1:47-78, 2015.
  • ‘The actor’s work on attention, awareness and active imagination: between phenomenology, cognitive science and practices of acting,’ in Theatre and Phenomenology, eds. E. Nedelkopoulou, J. Foley Sherman, M. Bleeker. Routledge, 95-116, 2015.
  • Co-author with Jerri Daboo and Rebecca Loukes. Acting: psychophysical phenomenon and process (intercultural and interdisciplinary perspectives). Palgrave-Macmillan, 2013.
  • “‘…presence…’ as a question and emergent possibility: a cast study from a performer’s perspective,” in G. Giannachi, N. Kaye and M. Shanks (eds.) Archaeologies of Presence, London: Routledge, 2012, pp. 119-52. 
  • Psychophysical Acting: an intercultural approach after Stanislavski, London: Routledge, 2009.
  • Kathakali Dance-Drama: Where Gods and Demons Come to Play, London: Routledge, 2000.
Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung