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The “Actor”

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Burning ghost
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The “Actor”

Post by Burning ghost » September 26th, 2018, 2:11 am

What are the differences between the theatrical actor and the actor of ceremonies?

As one example during a wedding ceremony people are acting out a certain set of acts, yet they are not actual theatrical actors. What makes the ceremony more “real” than a performance?

Ite to consider are award ceremonies, Christmas celebrations and traditions, attending a theatrical performance, the audience actor dynamic.

In terms of child development we see how actions are copied that have no causal affect on the desired outcome, yet they’re believed to be integral.
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Re: The “Actor”

Post by Eduk » September 26th, 2018, 3:21 am

I don't see a difference?
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Re: The “Actor”

Post by Burning ghost » September 26th, 2018, 3:31 am

Eduk wrote:
September 26th, 2018, 3:21 am
I don't see a difference?
So when you watch Punch & Judy you scream out “He’s behind you!” fully taken in by the experience just like you are when you fo to a funeral or wedding ceremony?

One is theatrical and the other isn’t. Yet what I find intriguing is how each are treated differently.
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Re: The “Actor”

Post by Eduk » September 26th, 2018, 3:41 am

Perhaps I misunderstood the question. I thought you were talking about the actors method rather than the audience's expectations?
Again though I don't really see a difference between punch and Judy and a wedding ceremony in many ways. In both scenarios there is a well trod formula which is rarely deviated from. In both situations I am expected to sit patiently and clap in the right places.
By the way I don't think I've been to a wedding which didn't feel like a performance. Even in the few examples where you feel like the two people might make a binding covenant the ceremony itself rarely demonstrates this is in any meaningful way.
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Re: The “Actor”

Post by Greta » September 26th, 2018, 3:55 am

What each has in common is a ritual where there is a function a person is expected to fulfil. It could be anyone - an amorphous form to fit the function.

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Re: The “Actor”

Post by Burning ghost » September 26th, 2018, 3:59 am

The major difference is in the “performers” then. Punch & Judy are a “fiction”, like Hamlet or Darth Vader, yet at a wedding ceremony the “performers” are not fictional characters, they are real people.

The actor who believes he is Hamlet is a madman, yet the person gettong married believes they are getting married not pretending to. Then there are award ceremonies in sports or arts. The “winner” is performing an act yet they are not taking it as a fictional act, they believe it is a real act - and the audience is not necessarily important here although traditionally award ceremonies are public acts (although it is possible to receive a reward out lf the public eye it is part of a social circle.)

I wasn’t looking for cynicism about marriage or any other ceremonial procedure. If it helps consider the difference of people getting married and people acting out a marriage for a theatrical performance. One is more real than the other, and I am asking what is going on in the actor’s heads that makes the “act” different for each case.

Note: In the past people would get up on the stage of plays and physically attack the villain with intent to injure or kill. Clearly some people struggle to differentiate between what is a true portrayal and a theatrical performance even if they enter the experience completely aware of what truth value there is in what they are about to witness.
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Re: The “Actor”

Post by Burning ghost » September 26th, 2018, 4:00 am

Greta wrote:
September 26th, 2018, 3:55 am
What each has in common is a ritual where there is a function a person is expected to fulfil. It could be anyone - an amorphous form to fit the function.
Has is acting in a play a “ritual”? What do you mean by “ritual” when you use this term?
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Re: The “Actor”

Post by Burning ghost » September 26th, 2018, 4:05 am

To preempt ... we don’t generally say a sportsman is an “actor” in a “performance”. We could, but we don’t. There is a difference betwee acting on a stage pretending to be something you’re not and being what you are and playing a sport as a sportsman. The possible blur would be in equating measures of ability across two distinct media of human activity.
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Re: The “Actor”

Post by Eduk » September 26th, 2018, 4:26 am

Burning ghost. It might be interesting for you read somewhat on actors methodologies. For actually the actor who believes they are Hamlet is generally considered to be a good actor, although they can obviously turn this belief off. Many actors talk about a truthful performance, or acting in the moment. To put it another way don't we act all the time in day to day life? I commute to work with an expressionless face wearing socially appropriate attire and without actions considered inappropriate.
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Re: The “Actor”

Post by Burning ghost » September 26th, 2018, 4:43 am

Eduk wrote:
September 26th, 2018, 4:26 am
Burning ghost. It might be interesting for you read somewhat on actors methodologies. For actually the actor who believes they are Hamlet is generally considered to be a good actor, although they can obviously turn this belief off. Many actors talk about a truthful performance, or acting in the moment. To put it another way don't we act all the time in day to day life? I commute to work with an expressionless face wearing socially appropriate attire and without actions considered inappropriate.
Well, assume I know enough already. And no, I have to completely disagree. You’re talkign about “method acting” which I don’t consider to be “acting” at all because the person is consumed by the role and not in complete control - they are a puppet for the part.

As an example take one of the most celebrated actors of the modern era, Sir Lawrence Olivier. He trained himself to perfect a perfect smile by practicing in a mirror and gaining direct control over his facial muscles. The “method acting” technique is about associating your own personal experience with that of the character - to think of something happy in your own life to develop the natural smile. So in one case you have an actor focused on the role and in command of his expression and in the other case you have a actor disassociated from the role, lacking focus on where they are and what they are doing, and then being called a “good actor”. Convincing maybe? Controlled, I don’t see how?

If the actor is not in control of what they are doing, and or disassociated from the character they are meant to be expressing (via self-deluson) then I cannot honestly say this is a “good actor” any more than I’d say someone who believes they can sing are “good singers.”
To put it another way don't we act all the time in day to day life?
I’ve preempted this kind of reply already. For the context of the discussion, no, absolutely not. I make the distinction between me doing what I do and me playing a role in theatrical performance. And again, I don’t equate taking part in a sports event as a role in a theatrical performance - although a interesting point is that sporting events can be easily embedded into more ritualistic or ceremonial festivities.

Joey from friends getting the part because he needed to go to the toilet is something that springs to mind. If needing to pee makes you a “good actor” does it really make you a “good actor” or are you just fooling yourself?

Note: I a quite happy to accept that actors tread between emotions and that neurologically the body and mind are one, so t some degree I concede to your point. I’d still argue, quite firmly, that the actor in control of themselves and focused on the performance of the character (without being consumed by it) is the “better” actor. You can probably formulate what I think about my own question and how I’d answer it in regards to the difference between “ceremony” and “theatre”.
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Re: The “Actor”

Post by Eduk » September 26th, 2018, 5:13 am

I’d still argue, quite firmly, that the actor in control of themselves and focused on the performance of the character (without being consumed by it) is the “better” actor. You can probably formulate what I think about my own question and how I’d answer it in regards to the difference between “ceremony” and “theatre”.
I think the problem here is that I can't be sure we are both talking about exactly the same thing. I was not talking about method acting, that is something different. An example of method acting is to stay up for three days if playing a character who has stayed up for three days. Let me try to give an example of what I am talking about. Imagine you perform your lines and I say ok can we do it again but you need to be more tired. Then after that I say can we do it again but this time imagine you had insomnia last night and couldn't sleep.
Out of interest what is your experience with acting? Have you acted or directed actors?
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Re: The “Actor”

Post by Burning ghost » September 26th, 2018, 6:26 am

Okay, I see what you mean now. There is something to traditional roles such as Hamlet. The aim is to “become” the character, but the actor is in control - in fact they hold to the tradition of the role and have little lee-way to “create”. In opera that is basically what happens. There is a certain expectation of certain character roles. A new production offer more to the interpretation of the actor and then those that follow try and refine the underlying portrayal (the performances vary in quality and tastes also differ.)

My view is that “method acting” is something akin to the ceremonial act. Although in a quite strange way I cannot quite articulate.

Not getting into the role of writer/director here. That is something that does interest me in regards to ancient Greek views; especially Arostotle’s ‘Poetics’.

I’ve done amateur acting once for the experience - I’m no expert, but I think I understand well enough the possible problems involved and I’ve heard many “actors” say about becoming emotionally drained (one of my only living “idols” Bjork spoke of her experience along the lines of losing herself - she may well of said she did his because she couldn’t act? Maybe I am putting words into her mouth!)

Either way I am particularly interested in differences and connections with ceremony and the “part” assumed by all in each setting - be it birthday, wedding, operatic show or whatever.

Note: I am reigning in other ideas about different media of Art so the thread focuses with one thing at a time. Hopefully my broader interest will become more apparent.
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Re: The “Actor”

Post by Eduk » September 26th, 2018, 6:44 am

Probably worth mentioning that stage acting and film acting are two different things. Sir Laurence is famous for not being as successful on film as on stage.
For what it's worth I am a professional animator in the games industry and have directed actors in motion capture performances. Animation is controlled or self aware, as it must be (it's not something which can be done in real time). Acting can be done in a more self aware way but perhaps this approach is more suited to stage? On film acting is generally done in the moment, this does not mean the actor is not also in control though or that they cannot change their performance. The actor must still hit stage points, they must still say the lines they have been given.
If you ever do more amateur acting then try the simple exercise. Imagine you have been told to deliver a line angrily. Instead of thinking how to be angry instead think of a scenario which makes you angry and then use your imagination to pretend this is happening and then deliver the line. The focus is switched from is my face angry or is my body angry or is my voice angry to believing, as best you can, a scenario.
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Re: The “Actor”

Post by Burning ghost » September 26th, 2018, 10:42 am

Eduk -

We could split hairs further but I’d rather address the difference between each “actor”: the one in a play/movie/opera and the one in a ceremony.

It is the cross-over between the “theatrical” and the “ritual” that intrigues me. I am looking for distinctions not to deny the grey areas, but to map out more fully hwere the grey area lies and what use we can make of it, if any.
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Re: The “Actor”

Post by Eduk » September 26th, 2018, 10:49 am

Can you give me an example of what you mean BG? I'm possibly still not understanding your point.
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