Monday, February 4, 2013

Maiya Murphy on Knowledge Through Physical Theater

The Theater Department presents a talk by Theater Mellon Post Doc Search Candidate Maiya Murphy. The talk is entitled "Physical Theater’s Body: Embodiment as a Paradigm for Knowledge."


  • Location: Mosher 1
  • Time: 5:00 PM
  • Sponsor: Theater
Maiya Murphy will present her current research that investigates how physically based performer training has not only reshaped western theater, but also advocates for the value of embodied knowledge. Interfacing the movement pedagogy of Jacques Lecoq, cognitive scientific principles of embodied cognition, and Thomas Kuhn’s notion of paradigmatic revolution, Maiya uncovers the way in which physical theater situates the body to rebel against traditional western conceptions of knowledge and propose alternatives. Maiya outlines how physical theater moves through the aesthetic realm to stake a philosophical claim, revolutionizing epistemology in the process.
Maiya Murphy's work focuses on physically based performer training programs and their relationship to theory. Maiya fuses her practical background in acting and dance training with scholarly research and writing to re-envision the relationships between practice, theory, and the body. Currently completing her PhD in Theater and Drama through the joint program offered by UC Irvine and UC San Diego, Maiya has presented a paper at the Association for Theatre in Higher Education's debut panel sponsored by the Association for Theatre Movement Educators (2010), and contributed papers to the American Society for Theatre Research's working group panels Practices as Research (2009), Cognitive Science in Theatre and Performance (2010), and Working Between Theatre Studies and Dance Studies (2012). She was a participant of the University of California International Performance and Culture Multi-campus Research Group Retreat (2010), is a 2009 winner of the UC San Diego/UC Irvine joint program's essay contest, and is the recipient of a UC San Diego Humanities Division Initiatives Award for her dissertation proposal. In 2011 Maiya was inducted into the UC San Diego Chapter of the Bouchet Graduate Honor Society recognizing outstanding scholarly achievement, diversity, and excellence in doctoral education. This year she is a fellow of the UC San Diego Center for the Humanities, and was awarded the UC Humanities Research Institute Graduate Fellowship. As Administrative Director in the graduate theater program at Naropa University, she supported the program Chairs in ushering in two somatically based MFA programs in theater. She has contributed chapters to Collective Creation in Contemporary Performance (Kathryn Syssoyeva, ed. Palgrave 2013) and The Oxford Handbook of Dance and Theater (Nadine George-Graves, Oxford University Press, 2013). As an instructor at UC San Diego, Maiya has taught theater history, play analysis, movement, creation, devising, storytelling, and physical comedy on film. Currently she is completing her doctoral dissertation: In Corporation: Physical Theater, Cognitive Science, and Moving Toward a Paradigmatic Revolution in Epistemology and directing the UC San Diego winter undergraduate production, Doctored and Devised, an original creation based on the work of Dr. Seuss. She received her BA in Theater Studies from Yale University and was a member of the inaugural class of the Lecoq-based performer training program, the London International School of the Performing Arts (LISPA).
The talk will be followed by a Q & A and light refreshments.