Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Aaron D. Anderson

Second Advisor

Dr. Noreen C. Barnes

Third Advisor

Marisa Guida


This paper considers two purposes for actor training—textual interpretation and devising original works—through the teaching of a class based on contemporary theatrical clown and physical theatre exercises which are then applied to Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot. Devised work can be used to interpret a script, and a script can be used as a jumping-off point to devise new works. Beginning with an explanation of the teaching methods for the class, the paper then gives a background of clowns who performed in Beckett’s plays, and analyzes various productions' use of games to enliven text. Exercises from the class are used as examples of exploring the uncovering of clown personas and the application of games to both Beckett scene-work and invented theatre pieces. The students’ final performances are examined to demonstrate the effectiveness of the classwork, confirming that textual interpretation and devising are complementary instead of opposing practices.


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