Enacting Lecoq pp 155-182 | Cite as

Significant Practices and Principles: Play, Improvisation, Mask Work, and Language

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


Murphy examines Lecoq’s notions of play and improvisation through enaction to show how they are ideal examples of the continuity between lower-level and higher-level cognition. This chapter includes a discussion on Lecoq’s neutral, larval, and expressive masks as tools for the actor-creator to learn how to navigate the many dimensions available to the performer. Murphy concludes with a discussion on how both Lecoq and an enactive perspective envision language as a capacity that arises from the body’s engagement with movement. In this way Lecoq’s insistence on starting from movement is revealed not as a bias against words or text-based theatre, but rather as a commitment to using a continuity of life and mind to equip the actor-creator with flexible capacities for theatrical expression.


  1. Chamberlain, Franc, and Ralph Yarrow, eds. 2002. Jacques Lecoq and the British Theatre. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. Eldredge, Sears A. 1996. Mask Improvisation for Actor Training and Performance: The Compelling Image. Evanston: Northwestern U.Google Scholar
  5. Evans, Mark. 2006. Jacques Copeau. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Evans, Mark. 2016. The Influence of Sports on Jacques Lecoq’s Training. In The Routledge Companion to Jacques Lecoq, eds. Mark Evans and Rick Kemp, 104–111. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Foley Sherman, Jon. 2016. Space and Mimesis. In The Routledge Companion to Jacques Lecoq, eds. Mark Evans and Rick Kemp, 59–66. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  8. Frost, Anthony, and Ralph Yarrow. 2014. Improvisation in Drama, Theatre, and Performance: History, Practice, Theory. 3rd ed. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  9. 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
  10. Gallagher, Shaun. 2006. How the Body Shapes the Mind. New York: Oxford UP.Google Scholar
  11. Kemp, Rick. 2012. Embodied Acting: What Neuroscience Tells Us About Performance. New York: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Kemp, Rick. 2016. Clown—Trial by Errors. In The Routledge Companion to Jacques Lecoq, eds. Mark Evans and Rick Kemp, 388–397. London: Routledge. Google Scholar
  13. Krasner, David. 2010. Strasberg, Adler and Meisner: Method Acting. In Actor Training. 2nd ed., ed. Alison Hodge, 144–163. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  14. 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
  15. Lecoq, Jacques. 1987. Le Théâtre du geste. Paris: Bordas.Google Scholar
  16. 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
  17. 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
  18. Lecoq, Jacques. 2006. Theatre of Movement and Gesture, ed. David Bradby. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  19. Leder, Drew. The Absent Body. 1990. Chicago: University of Chicago P.Google Scholar
  20. McConachie, Bruce. 2015. Evolution, Cognition, and Performance. Cambridge: Cambridge UP.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Murphy, Maiya. 2016. Language and the Body. In The Routledge Companion to Jacques Lecoq, eds. Mark Evans and Rick Kemp, 260–267. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  22. Murphy, Maiya. 2017. Enacting the Consequences of the Lecoq Pedagogy’s Aesthetic Cognitive Foundation. Theatre Survey 58, no. 3: 326–351.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Murphy, Maiya with Jon Foley Sherman. 2013. Lecoq’s Pedagogy: Gathering up Postwar Europe, Theatrical Tradition, and Student Uprising. In Collective Creation in Contemporary Performance, eds. Kathryn Syssosyeva and Scott Proudfit, 111–124. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  24. Murray, Simon. 2002. Tout Bouge: Jacques Lecoq, Modern Mime and the Zero Body. A Pedagogy for the Creative Actor. In Jacques Lecoq and the British Theatre, eds. Franc Chamberlain and Ralph Yarrow, 17–44. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  25. Murray, Simon. 2003. Jacques Lecoq. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  26. Roy, Jean-Noël, and Jean-Gabriel Carasso, dirs. 2006. “The Body, Movement,” “Play, the Act of Creation,” “Lessons and Presentations,” Interviews and Witnesses.” Les Deux Voyages de Jacques Lecoq. Paris: La Septe ARTE-On Line Productions. DVD.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore

Personalised recommendations