Suzanne Bing: The Interior Rhythm and Musicality of Play

Fleming, Cass. 2021. 'Suzanne Bing: The Interior Rhythm and Musicality of Play'. In: The Makings of the Actor: Rhythm in Acting and Performance Conference. Athens, Greece 26 -28 March 2021. [Conference or Workshop Item]

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Abstract or Description

This paper addresses the work of Suzanne Bing in relation to the development of her methodology of embodied play that was inextricably bound to a specific development of inner rhythm and sense of musicality.

I have argued elsewhere (2013, 2014, 2018, 2020) that Bing’s technique was not simply about a use of games, but became a complex methodology of embodied play. Play is a fully embodied activity that enables body-mind integration, described by Caillois as a ‘total activity’ (1961: 175). Bing’s form of creative play was rooted in movement, but this was always inseparably connected to what she defined as ‘the inner feeing of rhythm’ and a specific form of ‘hidden musical feeling’ (Bing, JCA/KC/46, circa summer 1920:102). Bing sought to develop ‘the free improvisation created, suggested, by a child’s play (le jeu d’enfant)’ and ‘the interior music of this play, as one could put it’ (Bing in Copeau/Sicard 2000: 114).

This article considers the development of this radical approach by Bing, and a number of her female collaborators, and what this gave the actor, the play-enabler (teacher or director), and devised theatre-maker in the early decades of the twentieth century and continues to offer today.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)

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Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Theatre and Performance (TAP)


27 March 2021Completed

Event Location:

Athens, Greece

Date range:

26 -28 March 2021

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

16 Apr 2021 15:03

Last Modified:

16 Apr 2021 15:03


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