GOOD ENOUGH IS GREAT: Exploring Acting Through Vulnerability and Mindfulness

Open Access
Wharton, Aidan Francis
Area of Honors:
Bachelor of Fine Arts
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • John Simpkins, Thesis Supervisor
  • Susan B Russell, Honors Advisor
  • vulnerability
  • brene brown
  • acting
  • masculinity
  • art
  • perfectionism
  • theatre
  • musical theatre
  • mindfulness
  • meditation
  • judgement
  • foreboding joy
  • sympathy seeking
  • gratitude
  • flaws
This thesis is an exploration of vulnerability. I’ve been fascinated by this subject ever since I was introduced to the studies of Brené Brown. Her work focuses on different ways in which we can build shame-resilience and open ourselves to vulnerability. As an actor I was fascinated by this idea and wanted to synthesize it with my interests of contemporary masculinity and mindfulness. Brown’s work does not focus on actors and the expectations of vulnerability that we are forced to have so I chose to explore how her teachings exist within the Penn State Musical Theatre Program. I found the toxic effects that masculinity has on effective acting and the benefits that mindfulness can have. Through a combination of personal storytelling and research I’ve found that vulnerability is an invaluable asset not only to actors, but every other person regardless of their profession, race, gender, or political beliefs.