Trusting Performance

A Cognitive Approach to Embodiment in Drama

Naomi Rokotnitz

החוקר.ת מאחורי המחקר

"A fascinating book replete with insight. The fact that it is clearly written is a major achievement given that much of the material is quite complex. It is cutting edge, original, well structured, and organized. In short, this is an important work grappling with complex ideas and is at the forefront of the field."
—William Baker, University Trustee Professor, Distinguished Research Professor, Department of English, Northern Illinois University
This exciting new work argues for the exploration of drama as a conduit to deep emotional learning that can change the somatic identity of performers and audiences alike. Rokotnitz suggests that the preference for reciprocity exhibited by human physiological systems also extends to psychological and cognitive processes. Modeling her epistemological inquiry upon the paradigms instantiated by our biological architecture, she argues that effective knowledge acquisition and interpersonal communication rely on the ability to learn from and to trust in our bodies. Focusing on four plays by William Shakespeare, Tom Stoppard, Timberlake Wertenbaker, and Moises Kaufman, each chapter of the book considers a different dramatic genre, historical period, philosophical context, and performance strategy, and traces in each the crucial and defining influence of bodily presence in establishing trust relations and moral accountability.
Naomi Rokotnitz received her BA from Cambridge University and her PhD from Bar-llan University, where she teaches a range of courses spanning nineteenth to twenty-first century literature. Her publications offer cognitive readings of both drama and narrative fiction, exploring the intersections between science and literature. She can be reached at naomirokotnitz@gmail.ccm
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