Searching for the Muse: Changing Inspiration




Gillis, Caroline

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University of Guelph


The word muse or Muse has become synonymous with an artist’s "inspiration." It's a somewhat old-fashioned notion that has changed over time, but it prevails in describing a kind of "divine intervention" for artists. But what does it mean when we refer to an actress as a playwright's muse? The composition of a play is largely the solitary world of the playwright, but the presentation of that play through live performance is a collaborative event. By using my own long-term working relationship (and friendship) as an actress with Canadian playwright Daniel MacIvor as a case study, I examine the validity of the concept of a "muse" with regard to the playwright/actor relationship. The ephemeral nature of live theatre dictates that the word be redefined to incorporate the reciprocal energy that flows between the playwright and the actor in the creation of a "character."



muse, Muse, playwright, Daniel MacIvor, inspiration, Canadian theatre, Chekhov, Knipper, Brecht, Weigel, Berlau, actor