Actor in a Second Language

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)


The thesis is focused on actors who use English as a second language in performances on stage
or on screen in England. The question that frames the enquiry is, “Who is a Second Language
Actor?”, and it is posed three times, differently in each of the three chapters. Throughout the
thesis, I will be applying philosophical terms from Gilles Deleuze and Felix, such as plane of
immanence, plane of composition, becoming, schizo-affect, grammaticality. In the first chapter, I
discuss the possible emergence of an SLA from within the totality of random events of act-ing
(as opposed to acting) in a second language, termed the plane of immanence of second language
act-ing. I will introduce the concept of becoming-SLA, a second language actor in the process of
appearing, and always coming into being. Each act of uttering is seen as a minorisation of the
second language, a creative pushing of the language’s limits, which generates a special form of
English, named English-becoming-another-language. The second chapter introduces the concept
of grammaticality: a complex machine (people, technologies, schools, traditions/customs) that
names the SLA’s as either Migrant or Nomad and inscribes them onto a given plane of
composition of second language acting, restricting their immanent, creative energies. The final
chapter discusses the possible emergence of a new type of SLA : a schizo-actor who produces
schizo-affects in an English-becoming-another-language, uncontrollable by grammaticality. The
schizo-SLA operates in a state of bottomlessness, which is defined as a specific
creative/existential condition. The thesis discusses all these in the context of the practice-based
research conducted with Nu Nu Theatre, a company that focuses its work on the question of who
a Second-Language Actor is and who he/she can become. The two performance processes that
are analysed in relation to the research question are Billie Killer and BANDIT.
Date of Award26 Nov 2020
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Bristol
SupervisorSimon Jones (Supervisor) & Katja Krebs (Supervisor)

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