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The Theatre of Dreams


This page has a Synopsis, Additional Notes, and suggestions for Further Reading in connection with Andrew Lawrence-King´s article, forthcoming in the ADSA journal.


The full article will also be accessible through the ADSA website. 


There is an informal introduction on Andrew Lawrence-King´s blog here


HEADINGS here correspond to headings in the ADSA article.

Numbers here correspond to Endnote numbers in the ADSA article

The Theatre of Dreams

Hypnotism & the Science of Historical Action



Assuming that Shakespeare’s and Monteverdi’s performers did indeed move their audiences’ passions, how did it happen? How did performers go about it, and by what scientific mechanism did it work? Taking Monteverdi’s Orfeo as a case study, this article engages with science both ancient and modern, suggesting that the historical Science of Pneuma fits well with a modern scientific understanding of Hypnotism. Was Rhetoric the NLP of the 17th century?


Opera & orchestral director, baroque harpist and gesture specialist, Professor Dr Lawrence-King is one of the world’s leading Early Music performers. His 4-year investigation of ‘Text, Rhythm, Action!” for the Australian Centre for the History of Emotions applied paradigm-shifting historical findings to training, rehearsal and performance of two dozen award-winning international stage productions of Early Modern music-drama, including 42 performances (so far) of the ‘first opera’, Anima & Corpo. He is an RYA Ocean Yachtmaster and marathon runner, trains in 17th-century Rapier & Tai Chi, and is a qualified Hypnotist.





William Shakespeare, The Tragedie of King Richard the Second (London : Valentine Simms for Andrew Wise, 1597) II.i; The Tragedie of Julius Caesar (London: Isaac Jaggard & Edward Blount, 1623) III.i; The Chronicle History of Henry the Fift. With his battell fought at Agin Court in France. Together with Auntient Pistoll (London: Thomas Millington & John Busby, 1600) Prologue to Act I; The Tempest (London: Isaac Jaggard & Edward Blount, 1623) IV.i.


There is an unverified tradition that Henry V was the first play performed at the newly-built Globe Theatre in 1599. Richard II (c1595) was performed at the Globe in 1601, and Julius Caesar in 1599, but the The Tempest (first performed at court in 1611) might not have been given at the Globe before the theatre was destroyed by fire in 1613.



Henry V Prologue. It has long been recognised that this Prologue resembles a Hypnotic Induction, insofar that it offers suggestions for imaginative experiences (see Kihlstrom’s definition of Hypnosis in the Conclusion, below). Readers might care to apply the analytical method of this article to the subtle use of language in the Prologue.


On Personation, see Andrew Gurr, The Shakespearian Stage, 1574-1642 Third edition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992) 99-100, 113, 252; and Frank Kermode, The Age of Shakespeare (New York: Modern Library, 2004) 64, 122. Kermode considers Personation to be in large part ‘in the linguistic detail’, and draws attention to Hendiadys and other Rhetorical figures ‘making a single idea strange’: ‘it is a new rhetoric, substantially established about the time of Hamlet’ i.e. after 1599, probably 1601. See Frank Kermode, Shakespeare's Language (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2000) 6-7, 15.



Muovere gli affetti: the period aims of Rhetoric were to Explain to the mind, to Delight the senses, and to Move the passions; in Italian insegnare, dilettare, muovere . The earliest surviving example of these new, fully-sung music-dramas is Emilio de’ Cavalieri, Rappresentatione di Anima e di Corpo (Rome: Muti, 1600). Peri’s Euridice was given in Florence the same year, with some music contributed by Caccini. Before Peri could publish, Caccini rushed into print with his own complete setting, but this version was not performed until 1602. See Jacopo Peri, Le Mvsiche di Iacopo Peri nobil Fiorentino Sopra L'Euridice del Sig. Ottavio Rinvccini Rappresentate Nello Sponsalizio della Cristianissima Maria Medici regina di Francia e di Navarra (Florence: Giorgio Marescotti, 1600), i.e. 1601, n.s.; and Giulio Caccini, L'Euridice Composta in Musica in Stile Rappresentativo (Florence: Giorgio Marescotti, 1600).


Musica recitativa means ‘acted music’. The anonymous guide for a theatre’s artistic director, Il Corago (c1630), shows that in this period recitare means ‘to act’, whether singing, speaking, or in dumb show. See Anon. Il Corago (Biblioteca Estense, Modena: MS y.F.11, c1630) edited in Paolo Fabbri & Angelo Pompilio ed., Il Corago O Vero, Alcune Osservazioni Per Metter Bene in Scena Le Composizioni Drammatiche (Florence: Olschki, 1983) 40. Il Corago repeatedly links the performance practices of the first ‘operas’ to the best of spoken theatre.


Le Nuove Musiche: Caccini’s first book of songs (1601/2) captured the spirit of the new century with this title. Its preface has an extended discussion of the nuovo stile (new style) of composing and of performing, quasi che in armonia favellare (almost like speaking in harmony). His second book (1614) bore the title Nuove musiche e nuova maniera di scriverle (new music and a new way to write it) and summarised the performance style in three points - affetto… varieta nell’affetto … sprezzatura (emotion, variety of emotions, being nonchalant or ‘cool’), comparing the fashionable devices of sung delivery to rhetorical figures in eloquent speech. See Giulio Caccini, Le Nuove Musiche (Florence: Marescotti, 1601/2); and Nuove Musiche e Nuova Maniera di Scriverle (Florence: Zanobi Pignoni, 1614).


The first fully-sung music-dramas c1600 were not designated ‘opera’: Anima e Corpo is a rappresentatione (show); similarly, Peri’s Euridice was rappresentata (shown, enacted) and Caccini’s version is composta … in stile rappresentativo (composed in show-style); Monteverdi’s Orfeo (1607), the earliest work to find a regular place in modern opera houses, is favola in musica (a story in music). In this period, there were wide-ranging experiments with various genres of dramatic-music, many of which cannot be understood as stepping-stones towards later baroque opera, e.g. Monteverdi’s musical settings of a swordfight, Combattimento, or of an enacted reading of a love-letter, Lettera Amorosa. For a discussion of genre designations, see F. W. Sternfeld, ‘A Note on Stile Recitativo’, Proceedings of the Royal Musical Association 110 (1983-1984) 41-44.


The period designation in genere rappresentativo (in show-format, i.e. acted out rather than sung as chamber-music) is often linked to the notational system nowadays labelled Recitative (but known in the early seicento as modulazione; recitare meant ‘to act’), accompanied by basso continuo (notated as a bass-line, whether melodic or slow moving, but realised in chordal harmonies on organ, theorbo – large lute, harp etc.) Singer-actors and accompanists were expected to improvise from the composer’s notation according to period principles of the arts of gesture, expressive vocal effects, and harmony (however, decorative vocal ornamentation was added only to arias, not to recitative). Just as a play comes to life in the theatre, so this dramatic music exists in enacted performance and in sound, not merely on the printed page.


Ancient models.

In the Preface to his Euridice, Peri admits that his style of singing may be quite different from that of ancient Greek and Roman drama, but he believes it is the only way to accommodate music to text in early seicento Italy. Si come io non ardirei affermare questo essere il canto nelle Greche, o nelle Romane favole usato, cosi ho creduto esser quello, che solo possa donarcisi dalla nostra Musica, per accommodarsi alla nostra favella.


Performers set out to sway emotions.

The Dedication to Cavalieri’s Anima e Corpo commences by linking the new musical style in imitation of ancient Greek and Roman drama to reports of Classical spectators being moved to various different passions. Musica…a somiglianza di questo stile, co’l quale si dice, che gli antichi Greci e Romani nelle scene, e teatri loro soleano a diversi affetti muovere gli spettatori. Then the practical advice in the following Preface commences by asserting that this kind of music, as re-created by Cavalieri around 1600, can indeed move people to various passions, such as pity, joy, to tears and laughter, and continues with detailed advice of how this can be achieved, e.g. by changing the sound according to the emotion, and by passing from one emotion to another contrary one, as from sadness to happiness, from fierce to mild, etc.. Questa sorte di Musica da lui rinovata commova a diversi affetti, come a pieta, & a giubilo; a pianto, & a riso... Mutare istromenti conforme all’ affetto … il passar da uno affetto all’ altro contrario, come dal mesto all’ allegro, dal feroce al mite, e simili, commove grandamente.


Reports suggest they succeeded

One of the most famous reports is the Mantuan court chronicler, Federico Follino’s account of audience reactions to the performance by Virginia Ramponi Andreini, known as La Florinda, of the Lament in Monteverdi’s Arianna (1608): ‘The lament, which Arianna did on a rocky outcrop, abandoned by Teseo, was performed with such affect, and with such piteous gestures, that there was not a single listener whose heart was not softened, nor was there one lady who did not shed some small tear at her lament.’ Nel lamento, che fece Arianna sovra la scoglio, abbandonata da Teseo, il quale fu rappresentato con tanto affetto, e con si pietosi modi, che non si trovo ascoltante alcuno, che non s’intenerisse, ne fu pur una Dama, che non versasse qualche lagrimetta al suo bel pianto. Federico Follino, ‘Compendio delle Sontuose Feste fatte l'Anno MDCVIII nella Citta di Mantova, per le reali Nozze del serenissimo Prencipe D. Francesco Gonzaga, con la serenissima Infante Margherita di Savoy’ in Claudio Gallico, Cronache Mantovane (1587-1608). (Florence: Olschki, 2004) 103-257, cited in Emily Wilbourne, La Florinda: The Performance of Virginia Ramponi Andreini (D.Phil. dissertation, New York University, 2008) 140.


Current trend to downplay reports

‘The feminine tears of Follino’s audience are a repeated trope that points towards an intended or symbolic response to the drama rather than a literal description of weeping…’ (Wilbourne, 23). See also Anne MacNeil, Music and Women of the Commedia dell'Arte (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003).


The best seicento performers did move their audiences

After allowing for differing, even opposing bias, in various period reports, Wilbourne notes their underlying agreement that ‘some members of the audience … did indeed weep. It is evident that the performance was a success, and the audience moved.’ (242)



William Shakespeare, The Tragicall History of Hamlet Prince of Denmark (London: Nicholas Ling and John Trundell, 1603) III.ii.


‘The passions are easily summoned… but, like devils, once summoned they are not so easily put back. In this view, the actor, like the Sorcerer’s Apprentice, toys with enormous forces that he can evoke quickly but not easily subdue.’ Joseph R. Roach, The Player's Passion: Studies in the Science of Acting (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 1985) 47.



Roach positions 19th-century medical science and ‘modern physiological doctrine’ in contrast to early accounts of actor’s control over ‘involuntary’ physiology ‘by conscious choice’. (Roach, 43). But see the Conclusion below for the possibility of such control by means of the Unconscious mind, in Hypnosis.


Historical Priorities

Amidst all the myriad details of execution performers have been concerned with over the centuries, it is possible to identify the priorities of early 17th-century musicians, priorities which differ sharply from those of modern conservatoires, and from standard operating procedures in today’s Early Music. In 1601, Giulio Caccini defines music as ‘Text and Rhythm, with Sound last of all. And not the other way around!’ he emphasises. La musica altro non essere, che la favella, e’l ritmo, & il suono per ultimo, e non per lo contrario (Caccini Le Nuove Musiche).


In contrast, traditional conservatoire teaching prioritises Sound-production for both singers and instrumentalists, and even Early Music ensembles tend to spend much less time on Text-work than on ‘musical’ questions. Meanwhile, Rhythm is such a low priority in mainstream music colleges, that in many cities the specialist institution for pop, jazz etc is named the Academy for Rhythmic Music!


In 1644, John Bulwer retells a story via Cicero and Quintilian of Demosthenes being asked to name the three most important parts of oratory. The answer? ‘Action! Action! Action!’ (John Bulwer, Chirologia: Or the Naturall Language of the Hand. Composed of the Speaking Motions, and Discoursing Gestures Thereof. Whereunto Is Added, Chironomia: Or, the Art of Manuall Rhetoricke (London: Thomas Harper, 1644) Chironomia, 22.) This oft-told story is recounted also by Roach (32), citing Toby Cole, Actors on Acting: the Theories, Techniques and Practices of the Great Actors of all Times as told in their own Words (New York: Crown, 1970) 14.


But in today’s Early Music, historical Action and baroque gesture are marginalised as highly specialised options, conspicuously absent from most performances. These then are the historical priorities of 17th-century music - Text, Rhythm, and Action – and of course each of these terms must be understood in historical context. For contextualised discussions of Rhythm see George Houle, Meter in Music 1600-1800: Performance, Perception and Notation (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1987) and Roger Mathew Grant, Beating Time and Measuring Music in the Early Modern Era (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015). On Action, see Dene Barnett, The Art of Gesture: The Practices and Principles of 18th-century Acting (Heidelberg: Carl Winter Universitätsverlag, 1987) and Roach.


Text, Rhythm, Action!

Those priorities guided the author’s 4-year program ‘Text, Rhythm, Action!’ at the Australian Research Council’s Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions. That investigation applied historical research to the development of new training methods for modern performers in some 2 dozen award-winning international staged productions of Early Modern music-dramas, including 42 performances (to date) of the ‘first opera’, Anima & Corpo. (Cavalieri (1600). The Moscow production, for which the author was musical director, was awarded the Golden Mask, Russia’s highest Music-Theatre prize. During this period the author also received the USA Grammy, Australian Helpmann and Spanish Premio de la Musica.)


In its current phase, the program examines composers’, performers’ and audiences’ responses to Enargeia, the emotional power of detailed visual description, contextualising the period aim of ‘moving the passions’ within the Science of Historical Action. (Energeia: Visions in Performance’ is the title of the author’s current research program, begun in 2014 at the Australian Centre for the History of Emotions. See also Roach (24-25) and Heinrich F. Plett, Enargeia in Classical Antiquity and the Early Modern Age: The Aesthetics of Evidence (Leiden: Koninklijke Brill, 2012).



What we nowadays label Performance was known in the 17th century as Delivery, the last of the 5 Canons of Rhetoric. (The 5 canons are Invention inventio, Form disposotio, Style elocutio, Memory memoria, and Delivery pronuntatio.)


Rhetoric – the art of persuasive language – structured all the arts with the three-fold aim to convey information, to delight, and to move the emotions. (In Latin, docere, delectare, movere). Whether the medium be music, dance, speech, song, painting or sculpture, Rhetoric assumes some kind of underlying text, i.e. that the artist has ‘something to say’. Delivery is then everything that is not notated in that text, i.e. not what you say, but how you say it. Delivery was divided into Pronuntatio (the sound of performance: word-accentuation, phrasing and punctuation, variations in vocal timbre) and Actio (all the many devices of non-verbal communication).


Gesture and Action

Dene Barnett’s pioneering 1987 study showed the historical importance of The Art of Gesture with strong continuities from classical antiquity into the early 19th century (i.e. throughout the entire age of rhetoric). His work was so influential that ‘with Baroque Gesture’ has nowadays become an accepted description of Historically Informed productions of baroque opera, in much the same way that ‘on period instruments’ denotes Historically Informed musical performance. Suitable instruments are indeed a vital starting-point for thoroughly contextualised Early Music, but they alone are not sufficient. Similarly, period Gestures require a rich historical context of fully embodied, text-based performance.


Bonifaccio’s (1616) Art of Nuances catalogues the entire body, from head (elevated, lowered, carried on one side) and gestures of the hair, via signs of the eyes and mouth, hands and fingers, to legs and feet. See Giovanni Bonifaccio, L’Arte de’ Cenni con la quale formandosi favella visibile, si tratta della muta eloquenza (Vicenza: Grossi, 1616)


Cavalieri similarly describes ‘gestures and motions not only of the hands, but of steps too’ as ‘very effective means of moving the passions’. (In the Preface to Anima e Corpo.) Since Cavalieri was an aristocrat, decorum required that his instructions be expressed in the third person as ‘Signor Emilio del Cavaliere’s recommends…’: ‘… che le [le parole] accompagni con gesti, & motivi non solamente di mani, ma di passi ancora, che sono aiuti molto efficaci a muovere l’affetto’.


Hamlet instructs the Players in the Text and Rhythm of Pronuntatio – ‘Speak the speech…as I pronounced it to you, tripplingly on the tongue’ as well as in text-based Actio - ‘Suit the action to the word’. (Hamlet, III.ii.)


For a discussion of ‘trippingly’ in connection with period dance-rhythms see Andrew Lawrence-King, ‘’Tis Master’s Voice: A Seventeenth-Century Shakespeare Recording?’ in R.S. White, Mark Houlahan & Katrina O'Loughlin, eds., Shakespeare and Emotions: Inheritances, Enactments, Legacies (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015).


In Monteverdi’s Combattimento, the protagonists ‘do the steps and gestures in the way that the text expresses’ so that the ‘actions come together into a unified representation’. According to the Preface: ‘Faranno gli passi & gesti nel modo che l’oratione esprime ... in maniera che le tre ationi venghino ad’incontrarsi in una imitatione unita’ . See Claudio Monteverdi, ‘Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda’, in Claudio Monteverdi Libro 8: Madrigali Guerrieri et Amorosi (Venice: Alessandro Vincenti, 1638) Basso Continuo part-book, 19. The three Actions in Combattimento are text, acting and sound effects created by violins. This music-drama was first performed in 1624.


Bulwer’s Chirologia and Chironomia link hand gestures to rhetorical language, whilst his Pathomyotomia examines connections between emotions and the muscular changes that produce facial expressions. See John Bulwer, Pathomyotamia, Or, A Dissection of the Significative Muscles of the Affections of the Minde Being an Essay to a New Method of Observing the Most Important Movings of the Muscles of the Head, as They Are the Neerest and Immediate Organs of the Voluntarie or Impetuous Motions of the Mind : With the Proposall of a New Nomenclature of the Muscles (London: Humphrey Moseley, 1649)


An anonymous c1630 guide for a theatre’s artistic director, Il Corago, discusses musica recitativa (literally, acted music) as part of l’arte istronia – the art of acting – alongside spoken drama and silent pantomime. See Il Corago on ‘the three ways of acting’, Delle Tre Maniere di Recitare (Fabbri & Pompilio, 40), and also Andrew Lawrence-King, ‘Redefining Recitative’ (The Harp Consort). Online:!research-findings-recitative/c1nz2 Viewed August 2015


This art of acting lies ‘not only in a particular actor’s performance based on the fundamentals, but in the holistic interaction of all the accompanying action of a group of actors with congruent movements and postures’. quanto la istronia non solo nel recitare d'un particolare attore drizzandolo nei rudimenti, ma nel completto di tutti gli accompagnimenti dei recitanti a multitudine con i moti e pose congruenti... (Fabbri & Pompilio, 22).


Il Corago emphatically links the new musical style to ‘natural, common speech’ as delivered by ‘a perfect actor declaiming poetry’, who ‘modulates his voice …to express the emotion and sense for each word’. This modulation is ‘line by line, even word by word’. qual modo di modulazione si stima perfetto quando imita al meglio che si puo la mutazione delle voci con che un perfetto recitante porterebbe ragionando quel gusto di poesia ... verso per verso, anzi parola per parola... (Fabbri & Pompilio, 61).


Peri explains how in 1600 he extracted musical pitches from spoken declamation: ‘in our speaking, some tones are pitched in such a way that they could create music’. …nel nostro parlare alcune voci, intonarsi in guisa,che vi si puo fondare armonia


Diana Deutsch re-discovered this effect in 1995, noting that normal speech can ‘be heard as song without transforming the sounds in any way’, simply by repeated listening. For a demonstration of this effect using the words “sometimes behave so strangely”, see Diana Deutsch, ‘Speech to Song Illusion’, (Diana Deutsch) Online:


Peri added musical context to the stylised declamation patterns of 17th-century theatrical speech by accompanying a sustained syllable with an appropriate harmony, allowing a few unaccented syllables to pass by without worrying too much about their specific pitch, and then accompanying the next sustained syllable with a new harmony. Conobbi parimente nel nostro parlare alcune voci, intonarsi in guisa,che vi si puo fondare armonia, e nel corso della favella passarsi per altre molte, che non s’intuonano, finche si ritorni ad altra capace di movimento di nuova consonanza. See Peri Euridice.


This close relationship between the early recitatives and theatrical speech suggests the possibility of reconstructing Shakespearian theatrical delivery from 17th-century musical notation. For a reconstruction of 17th-century declamation of ‘To be or not to be’ from a song for Samuel Pepys, see Lawrence-King Tis Master’s Voice.





Renassiance Art as a system of rules.

Period treatises on instrumental playing, singing and oratory provide us with detailed prescriptions for historical craftsmanship:


Which finger a baroque harpist should use on which string; e.g. Ribayaz’s Luz y Norte provides detailed fingerings for every piece. The pieces themselves are worked examples of how to improvise variations over standard chord-sequences of 17th-century Spanish dances. See Lucas Ruiz de Ribayaz, Luz y Norte Musical para caminar por las Cifras de la Guitarra Españiola y Arpa (Madrid: Melchor Alvarez, 1677) edited in Andrew Lawrence-King & Astrid Nielsch, eds., Luz y Norte Musical (Huntingdon: Kings Music, n.d.).


What ornament a singer might apply to a dotted minim; e.g. Caccini Le Nuove Musiche, which specifies an esclamatione (starting loud, fading away, then strengthening the voice again) when there is a dotted minim (half-note) followed by a crotchet (quarter-note). Circa 1600, this combination of note-values is often set to exclamatory words like Ahi! and Deh! (Ah!), or Oime! (Ah, me!).


Which gesture is appropriate to highfalutin speech, e.g. Bulwer, who recommends placing the two index fingers side by side pointing upwards, with the other fingers closed in, as a sign that the orator is using heightened speech, splendidiora explicat (Chirologia, 79).


Art, Science & Use

For a discussion of period concepts of Art, Science and Use in the context of rapier swordsmanship in 1610, see Ridolfo Capo Ferro, Gran Simulacro dell'Arte e dell'Uso della Scherma (Siena: Salvestro Marchetti & Camillo Turi, 1610) translated in Tom Leoni, ed., Ridolfo Capo Ferro's The Art and Practice of Fencing (South Wheaton, Ilinois: Freelance Academy Press, 2011).





Music and Time

Roach’s linking of historical theories of acting to period medical science was a direct inspiration for my exploration of historical understandings of musical Rhythm in relation to period philosophy of Time in the pre-Newtonian age. Newton’s Principia was first published in 1687, and his model of Absolute Time was accepted only gradually over the following decades. See Isaac Newton, Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica (London: Joseph Streater, 1687). Previously, circa 1600, the prevailing model of Time was Aristotelean. See Grant, and also Andrew Lawrence-King, ‘A Baroque History of Time: Stars, Hearts and Music’ (Text, Rhythm, Action!) Online:


Music itself was considered to be threefold: musica mondana is the Music of the Spheres, created by the perfect movement of the stars and planets in their spherical orbits; musica humana is the harmonious nature of the human body; musica instrumentalis is actual music as played and sung. This model was expounded in the early 6th century in Chapter II, Tres esse musicas; in quo de vi musicae - Music is threefold; wherein lies the power of Music, of Anicus Manlius Severinus Boethius, De Insitutione Musica (Leipzig: B.G. Teubneri, 1867) 187. It was still the consensus view in 1619 when Kepler published his astronomical study as Harmonices Mundi. Kepler’s mathematical modelling of the solar system was intended to establish the actual musical notes sounded by each planet, in order to understand the Harmony of the Universe. See Johannes Kepler, Harmonices Mundi (Linz: Johann Planck, 1619).


Time was not an absolute; according to Aristotle’s Physics it existed only as the interval between one state and the next, as ‘a number of change [or movement] in respect of before and after’. See Aristotle, Physics, edited in Robin Waterfield trans., David Bostock ed., Aristotle Physics (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996) Chapter 11, 106.


The movements that defined Time were, like Music, considered within a three-fold hierarchy: the movement of the sun, moon and stars was a slow-turning cosmic clock showing days and years; the human pulse, foot-step or a musician’s time-beating (Tactus) marked durations of the order of one second; at the instrumentalis level of practical application, cosmic time was subdivided into hours by mechanical clocks, and the musical Tactus was subdivided into shorter note-values by performing musicians. See Grant, and also Andrew Lawrence-King, ‘Tempus Putationis: Getting back to Monteverdi's Time’, (Text, Rhythm, Action!) Online:



Roach (24) cites Quintilian (6.2.29-30). See Marcus Fabius Quintilianus, Institutio Oratoria H.E. Butler ed., (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1920).



Roach (25) cites Aristotle’s Rhetoric (3.11) and De Anima (3.7). See Aristotle Rhetoric William Rhys Roberts ed, (London: Oxford University Press, 1924); and De Anima Hugh Lawson-Tancred ed., (London: Penguin, 1986).



Hypnosis and Imagination

There is a distinction between ordinary imagination and hypnotically induced hallucinations, which are experienced as almost real. Neurological evidence shows that brain responses to real events and to hallucinations brought about by hypnotic suggestion are ‘similar and both are different from that associated with an imagined event’. See David A. Oakley, ‘Hypnosis, Trance and Suggestion: Evidence from Neuroimaging’, in Michael R. Nash Amanda J. Barnier, The Oxford Handbook of Hypnosis: Theory, Research and Practice (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008) 367.




Hypnosis: further reading

For the convenience of readers, many of my citations come from the accessible, authoritative but multi-perspective, multi-authored Oxford Handbook of Hypnosis.


For a more practical approach aimed at clinical applications see Michael D. Yapko, Trancework: An Introduction to the Practice of Clinical Hypnosis 4th edition (Hove: Routledge, 2012).


For a ‘friendly and brief guide to the essentials’ see Bill O'Hanlon, A Guide to Trance Land: A Practical Handbook of Ericksonian and Solution-Oriented Hypnosis (New York: Norton, 2009).


For an introductory description of a typical Hypnotherapy session, see Michael R. Nash Foundations of clinical hypnosis in Nash & Barnier Handbook 487-502.


For a primer on Neuroscientific investigation of Hypnosis, see W.J. Ray & D. Oathes, ‘Brain Imaging Techniques’, International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis (2003): 147-165.


Dewey describes some 30 different methods of Induction, from Relaxation, Confusion and Misdirection to Eye Fixation, Magic Television and Instantaneous. See Russ Dewey ‘Hypnotic Induction Techniques’ (Psych Web) Online:



William Shakespeare A Midsommer Nights Dreame (London: Thomas Fisher, 1600) V.i.



Nash summarises Sigmund Freud, ‘Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis (Part III) 1916/1917’ in Standard Edition. Vol. 16 (London: Hogarth, 1963) 292







Il Corago si come egli e subordinato alla poesia cosi tiene universo comando sopra molte altre faccolta... L’arte fabrile...Archittetura...Pittura e prospetiva... L’arte vestiaria...L’istronia...La musica...L’arte dell ballare...L’arte militare e della scrima...le mecchanice... l’illuminazione della scena. (Fabbri & Pompilio, 21).



Neuroplasticity & Myelination

For a non-technical introduction to these topics see Daniel Coyle, The Talent Code: Greatness isn’t Born, it's Grown. Here's how (New York: Bantam, 2009).


On Flow, see Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience (New York: Harper & Row, 1990).






See also Richard Bandler & John Grinder, Patterns of the Hypnotic Techniques of Milton H. Erickson, M.D. (Cupertino, California: Meta, 1975).


NLP does not accept the concepts of Standard Induction and Scales of Hypnotisability. Since each individual responds differently, a ‘one-size fits all’ Induction is inappropriate.


NLP is also sceptical about hypnosis experiments that use supposedly non-hypnotised control groups. ‘It is clear that shifts of consciousness can occur with and without formal hypnotic procedures in a variety of everyday situations’.( J. Green, A. Barabasz, D. Barrett & G. Montgomery, ‘Forging Ahead: the 2003 APA Division 30 Definition of Hynosis’ International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis 53 (2005): 262.)


Since we are all forever flitting between different States of Consciousness, there is no guarantee that control group members are not also in trance. If researchers ‘do not consider the potential occurrence of spontaneous trance… their conclusions about… hypnotic and ‘non-hypnotic’ conditions are equivocal’. (Barabasz & Barabasz, 338.)



On Consciousness, see for example Benjamin Libet, ‘Do we have Free Will?’ in Benjamin Libet, Anthony Freeman & Keith Sutherland, The Volitional Brain: Towards a Neuroscience of Free Will (Exeter: Imprint Academic, 1999); Daniel C. Dennett, Consciousness Explained (London: Penguin, 1991); and David John Chalmers, The Character of Consciousness (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010).





Metaphor. Lankton emphasises the use of metaphor as indirect intervention in An Ericksonian Approach to Clinical Hypnosis (477).





Once upon a time… See also Bandler (175) for the use of Nested Loops of stories, analogous to plot and sub-plots in 17th-century drama.


A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…

These are the first words of the opening crawl text featured in all six films of George Lucas’ Star Wars series 1977-2005.







A spoonful of sugar… A song by Sherman & Sherman in Walt Disney’s 1964 film, Mary Poppins.









Deictics. Mauro Calcagno, ‘Monteverdi's Parole Sceniche’, Journal of Seventeenth Century Music Vol. 9 No.1 (2003) 3. Calcagno discusses Karl Bühler, Sprachtheorie. Die Darstellungsfunktion der Sprache (Jena: G. Fischer, 1934) chapter II: “Das Zeigield der Sprache und die Zeigwörter,” 79–148. Sprachtheorie is translated into English as Theory of Language. The Representational Function of Language, trans. Donald

Fraser Goodwin (Amsterdam-Philadelphia: J. Benjamins, 1990).








Tactus and Iambics. Peri compares his musical Recitative, something between speech and song, to the Italian Hexameter, equivalent in status to blank verse in English, as something between prose and poetry.



The first opera singers sang softly. In 1558, Zarlino writes ‘One sings in one way in churches and public chapels, and another way in private chambers… in chamber-music one sings with a lower and gentler voice, without any shouting', ad altro modo si cantan elle Chiese & nelle Capella publiche; & ad altro modo nelle private Camere;imperoche ivi si canta a piena voce;con discrezione pero;. .. & nelle Camere si canta con voce piu sommessa & soave, senza fare alcun strepi. Zarlino, Gioseffo, Le Institutione Harmoniche (Venice: the author, 1558) iii, chap. 46, p.253; cited in Richard Wistreich, ‘La voce e grata assai, ma... Monteverdi on singing’ Early Music (1994): 7-20.




How to perform a Prologue

See Marco da Gagliano, ‘Preface’ to La Dafne (Florence: Cristofano Marescotti, 1608). Dafne was performed in Mantua in 1608.


The libretto had been set by Peri in 1598, but that setting (which was arguably the ‘first opera’) does not survive.





Francis Bacon, Sylva Sylvarum: or, A Natural History in Ten Centuries. Whereunto is added the History natural and experimental of life and death, or of the prolongation of life William Rawley ed., (London: William Lee, 1670) 7.



Eye-rolling is also mentioned in many practical guides to Hypnosis, e.g. Russ Dewey, ‘Signs of Trance’ (Psych Web) Online:



Increased lacrimation is similarly mentioned in many practical guides, e.g. Dewey Signs.


‘Use the power of the Force.’ I deliberate evoke the Star Wars films’ notion of a mysterious universal Force that links all sentient beings and facilitates extraordinary physical and physiological control. Our intuitive understanding of this Force seems very close to the 17th-century concept of Pneuma, and I find mention of the Force to be a useful teaching device in rehearsals. The famous line “These are not the droids you are looking for”, accompanied by a strange gesture, appears to draw on the power of Hypnotic Suggestion.


One might seriously advance the proposition that oriental qi, historical Pneuma, the Star Wars Force, Flow, the Zone and Hypnotism are alternative models of the same, somewhat mysterious yet powerfully effective mind-body-universe connection.


As Roach notes, actors using Pnuema, just like Jedi knights using the Force, must ‘beware the power of the Dark Side’. For an actor or sportsman, performance nerves can destroy Flow, i.e. ‘Fear leads to the Dark Side’.






Thomas D’Urfey Wit and Mirth: or Pills to Purge Melancholy; being a Collection of the best Merry Ballads and Songs, Old and New, Fitted to all Humours, having each their proper Tune for either Voice or Instrument, most of the Songs being new set (London: J. Tonson, 1719).



Roach reminded us how the Player, ‘in a dream of passion / could force his soul’. (Hamlet II.ii)


Similarly, Monteverdi’s La Musica could channel cosmic power through a real-world musical instrument and influence listener’s souls. ‘Now, who will not cry and become pale in the face?’



Or chi non piange e discolora il viso? Stefano Landi, La Morte d'Orfeo (Venice: Bartolomeo Magni, 1619) Act I Scene i. This is the final line of the opening scene, which functions formally and dramaturgically as a Prologue.


Whether as actors or as audience-members, ‘we are such stuff as dreams are made on’ (Tempest IV.i.).

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