The Minor Actor: The Composing Plane of Performative Bodies

Lindsay Gianoukas

conference: DARE 2017: aberrant nuptials
date: November 20, 2017
venue: Orpheus Institute, Penthouse
format: in words
practice: performance
keywords: minor, plane of composition

abstract about the author(s)


Whereas Deleuze’s engagement was to follow “aberrant movements” through literature, painting, thinking, and so on, he never explored such movements in the theatre. This    is probably because he did not like theatre, as he recognised himself. However, certain specific practices—such as Carmelo Bene’s minor theatre, or The Exhausted in Beckett’s work, and intensity as described by Artaud—served his thinking. My ongoing research in the field of performing arts aims to reflect the contemporary scene from the perspective of performers’ bodies. It does so by trying to track traces of a quality that I will call the minor actor, which derives from a minor author, a minor literature, a minor theatre. These are certainly not adjectives but rather operations, procedures within macro structures. The performing arts were for a long time the ground for imitation and reproduction but are increasingly moving to other forms of play that refer more to the emergence of presence instead of representation. This research brings an overview through bodies (understood also as a voice) as the matter of expression, trying to map connections and subversions that can make zones of indeterminacy emerge. “There are animal-becomings of man which do not consist in playing the dog or the cat, since man and the animal only meet on the trajectory of  a common but asymmetrical deterritorialization.” Although, the art of being onstage recurs constantly to a kind of  virtuosity, the technique appears as both  a weapon and a trap. It is necessary to subvert the technique to make it a piece for an expressive machine.

I believe that, as in minor literature, “the problem is not that of being free but of finding a way out.” What kind of violence is necessary to bring alive the moment of “presentation,” where performers can find the way out? How could they capture the forces of an animal, as the irrefutable presence of a furious creature? More head, less face; greater instinct, less intention; more procedures, fewer characters. The minor actor is an occurrence not    a subject: a zone of  indiscernibility between the human and the animal; a relevance    for the skin while we work over the flesh. The “actor” rescues its original meaning: one who acts, who can put in movement. The “minor” derives from a procedure that is always collective, politic, subversive, inaugural, where the critic is an operation not an opinion, where we can find alliances instead of filiations. The double capture occurs in the zone of indeterminacy between the performer and his or her becoming, between the training and the fact, between the matter (the body) and the expression, between the virtuosity and the violence. The research is impelled to extend Deleuze’s work of demonstrating, capturing, and analysing aberrant movements. However, the risk of doing this takes place in a very sensitive field: performative bodies in rehearsal rooms and scenes through specific cases. When it is possible, we track traces of a double capture, to mark an outline of performers’ ways out.

about the author(s)

Lindsay Gianoukas

Lindsay Gianoukas, stage name of Ms. Lindsay T. Gianuca (1983, Southampton, UK), is an actress and dancer who works in theatre, cinema, advertising, and television in Brazil. As a dancer, she performs in contemporary dance and tap. She graduated in social communication and journalism (PUCRS), has a predilection for the writing, and has never stopped working and investigating in the field of the arts. Holding a master’s degree in performing arts (UFRGS), her main research fields are contemporary arts, creative processes, and their relation to the philosophies of difference. Currently, she is a collaborating partner of the Brazilian Association of Research and Post-Graduation in Performing Arts (ABRACE) and works as a professor in the Universidade Federal de Pelotas (UFPEL), where she teaches subjects such as bodily and vocal expression, fundaments of dramatic language, and others subjects in the Dramatic Arts Graduation Programme from the Arts Centre (CA). She lives in Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.

info & contact


Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, BR


lindsaygianoukas [AT]