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Persona and Performance

The Meaning of Role in Drama, Therapy and Everyday Life
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The metaphor linking the world with the stage is one that has captured the imagination of philosophers, poets and social scientists for millennia. In Persona and Performance, Robert Landy shows that drama provides not only a metaphor for everyday life, but also a means of self-examination and life-enhancement. Encompassing the full range of human experience, role allows us to conceptualize the personality, which Landy views as a system of roles. He suggests that emotional well-being depends upon an individual's capacity to manage a complex and often contradictory set of roles, demonstrating the way in which role offers a uniquely effective method for working through significant personal problems when used as an element of drama therapy.

Combining theoretical discussions with practical clinical illustrations, the volume opens with a review of the origins and development of role in drama and the social sciences. The author draws upon theoretical, clinical and anecdotal evidence to show how the concept of role connects the three domains of drama, therapy and everyday life. He then extends C G Jung's system of psychological archetypes, derived form character types repeatedly found in Western drama. Exhaustive in scope, the taxonomy was created as a means of analyzing both everyday life and the types of therapeutic performances that occur within the process of drama therapy. Ways we can learn to live with role ambivalence, complexity and contradiction are discussed in the final chapter.

The work is illuminated by the inclusion of an extended single case study and a group case study, both of which clearly illustrate the use of the dramatic role method of clinical treatment. Laying the groundwork for an aesthetically based role theory, this volume is destined to become a classic in the field.
  • Published: Oct 01 1993
  • Pages: 250
  • 233 x 155mm
  • ISBN: 9781853022302
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Press Reviews

  • Counselling

    Landy's insights and methods are, I am sure, of particular interest to drama therapists but there is undoubtedly scope for the rest of us to use them as an addition to our repertoire of tools as counsellors.
  • Theatre

    Landy's lucidly-written book explores the idea that emotional well-being depends on our ability to manage complex and contradictory roles. Aimed particularly at mental health workers, it develops its theory from an extended single case study and a group case study.
  • British Psychodrama Association

    Landy writes clearly although the topic is sometimes complex. The reader is carried along by his understanding of and enthusiasm for his subject... the book has much to offer the psychodramatist. The theory it contains, and his eight stage method of treatment can be utilised.
  • Sue Jennings

    This is a courageous book which moves forward the theoretical debate in dramatherapy and serves as a model of detailed research for future practitioners.
  • Alida Gersie

    This book offers a very human and readable account of a new approach to the uses of role and roleplay in therapy. It will widen the understanding of roleplay as used in family therapy, playtherapy, social groupwork and dramatherapy. A book to be read and thought about for a long time.
  • Changes

    This book is welcome as a major contribution to the field.