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Written Notes on Narcissism


Narcissism can be split into two areas of study the medical model and the social model.

The Medical Model

  • The medical model of narcissism highlights ways to support what could be viewed as  neurodiversity.  

  • That there is very likely a cognitive difference for actors with diagnoses in this area.  

  • Often working with an acting process that centres narrative/ the written word.  The actor may experience ensemble work or stage fright differently and focus away from empathetic mirroring. That the artist may also struggle with areas of ensemble communnication.  The artist may therefore have a stronger focus on overall verbal/visual strategy for performance.  Artists might orientate towards a certain kind of narrative preference - potentially towards narrative meaning or strong emotions like danger in storytelling.  


The Social Model

  • The social model works very differently and is something that we all use in performance making inclusive of Film/TV, the Visual Arts, and Music.

  • Tribal Narcissism, Maladaptive/Adaptive Grandiose Narcissism and Generational/Cultural Narcissism are areas of focus within this. 

  •  Tribal Narcissism looks at the acceptance of behaviour within different groups of artists; particularly in relation to how they express themselves or relate to feeling special. For instance, musical theatre artists might find it more appropriate to break into song, devising-based theatre artists might find it more appropriate to talk about their life journey etc.

  • That we can also analyse different intersectional groups of artists - where tribal narcissism is often used to counteract shame. 

  • Generational/Cultural Narcissism functions very similarly but relates to the decade/period of expectations that artists are working in.

  • Analysis on Maladaptive and Adaptive Grandiose narcissism, we can start to analyse the different toolkits that we as performers use. 

  • Adapative Grandiose narcissism celebrating ourselves, and our contribution to the world in addition to our own limits.  That this can be seen in  'star power'. 

  • Grandiose Maladaptive Narcissism promoting someone's specialness without acknowledging limitations.  We might see this used as resistance to shame, particularly within aspects of intersectional culture like Drag, where Grandiose ideas of the self can be performed on stage in order to unswervingly protect those around the artist as well as themselves. 

  • James Bond, and the Wolf of Wallstreet strike a similar engagement with Grandiose Maladaptive Narcissism as Drag, however their cultural protection is toward 90s ideology. 

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