This paper argues that despite contemporary discoveries disproving Cartesian mind-body dualism – which falsely presupposed a separation between mind and body – contemporary performances of mentalism are still vastly impacted by this belief. I further argue that the long-supposed divide between mind and body has led many contemporary mentalists to underexplore and underemphasize bodies in performance, particularly their own. In the exploration of this topic, I examine notions of psychophysical acting and post-Cartesian character – in relation to the personas cultivated and projected by mentalists – proposing the terms metamentalism, inverse method acting, quasi-character, and anti-character to better capture the forms of role play and persona variously taken on and projected by mentalists. I next examine the archetype of the trickster as it relates to mentalists, including associations with shamans and buffoons. I conclude with an examination of the material properties of mentalism.
mentalism, metamentalism, trickster, anti-character, Inverse Method Acting, Quasi-Character, Post-Cartesian, Psychophysical, Bodymind, Postmodern
How to CiteDean E. (2016) “(Re)Discovering the Body in Mentalism”, Journal of Performance Magic. 4(1). doi: https://doi.org/10.5920/jpm.2016.02