Theatre as mimesis, the actor as mimic: can we still think in these terms, two and a half
millennia after antiquity? The Meaning in Mimesis puts canonical texts of acting theory
by Plato, Diderot, Stanislavsky, Brecht, and others back into conversation with their
informing paradigms in philosophy and aesthetics, in order to trace the recurring impulse
to theorize the actor’s art and the theatrical experience in terms of one-to-one
correspondences. I show that, across the history of ideas that is acting theory, the
familiar conception of mimesis as imagistic representation entangles over and over again
with an “other mimesis”: mimesis as the embodied attunement with alterity, a human
capacity that bridges the gap between self and other. When it comes to the philosophy of
the theatre, it is virtually impossible to consider the one-to-one of representation or reenactment
without at the same time grappling with the one-to-one of identification or vicarious experience.