digplanet beta 1: Athena
Share digplanet:

Agriculture

Applied sciences

Arts

Belief

Business

Chronology

Culture

Education

Environment

Geography

Health

History

Humanities

Language

Law

Life

Mathematics

Nature

People

Politics

Science

Society

Technology

For the legal meaning, see Acting (law). For the military sense, see Acting (rank).
French stage and early film actress Sarah Bernhardt as Hamlet, ca. early 1880s
Actors in samurai and ronin costume at the Kyoto Eigamura film set

Acting is the work of an actor or actress, which is a person in theatre, television, film, or any other storytelling medium who tells the story by portraying a character and, usually, speaking or singing the written text or play.

Most early sources in the West that examine the art of acting (Greek: ὑπόκρισις, hypokrisis) discuss it as part of rhetoric.[1]

Definition and history[edit]

One of the first actors is believed to be an ancient Greek called Thespis of Icaria. An apocryphal story says that Thespis stepped out of the dithyrambic chorus and spoke to them as a separate character. Before Thespis, the chorus narrated (for example, "Dionysus did this, Dionysus said that"). When Thespis stepped out from the chorus (year 12 BC), he spoke as if he was the character (for example, "I am Dionysus. I did this"). From Thespis' name derives the word thespian.

Acting requires a wide range of skills, including vocal projection, clarity of speech, physical expressivity, emotional facility, a well-developed imagination, and the ability to interpret drama. Acting also often demands an ability to employ dialects, accents and body language, improvisation, observation and emulation, mime, and stage combat. Many actors train at length in special programs or colleges to develop these skills, and today the vast majority of professional actors have undergone extensive training. Even though one actor may have years of training, they always strive for more lessons; the cinematic and theatrical world is always changing and because of this, the actor must stay as up to date as possible. Actors and actresses will often have many instructors and teachers for a full range of training involving, but not limited to, singing, scene-work, monologue techniques, audition techniques, and partner work.

Professional actors[edit]

Further information: Actor and Drama school

Not all people working as actors in film, television or theatre are professionally trained. Conservatories typically offer two- to four-year training on all aspects of acting. Universities will offer three- to four-year programs, where a student is often able to choose to focus on drama, while still learning about other aspects of theatre. Schools will vary in their approach, but in North America the most popular method taught derives from the "system" of Constantin Stanislavski, which was developed and popularised in America by Lee Strasberg, Stella Adler, and others. The ambiguously termed method acting came about through iterations of Stanislavski's system by Strasberg. Part of this style of training includes actors memorizing lines to be able to work off-book, a term that means being able to work without a script. Other approaches may include a more physical approach, following the teachings of Jerzy Grotowski and others, or may be based on the training developed by other theatre practitioners including Sanford Meisner. Other classes may include mask work, improvisation, and acting for the camera. Regardless of a school's approach, students should expect intensive training in textual interpretation, voice and movement. Although there are some teachers who will encourage the improvisation as technique in order to free the actor of limitations in rehearsal. Harold Guskin's approach or "taking it off the page" as he calls it is steeped in this philosophy. Applications to drama programs and conservatories are through auditions in the United States. Anybody over the age of 18 can usually apply to drama school.

Training may also start at a very young age. Acting classes and professional schools targeted at the under-18 crowd are offered in many locations. These classes introduce young actors to different aspects of acting and theatre, including scene study.

Amateur actors[edit]

Amateur actors are actors who do not require payment for performances. Although there are some paid professional actors who do amateur work for multiple reasons. Some may be for educational purposes or even charity events.

Improvisation[edit]

Improvisation was created by Viola Spolin after working with Neva Boyd at a Hull House in Chicago, Illinois. She was Boyds student from 1924 to 1927. Improv was created on the realization that adults do not play games. Spolin felt that playing games were good exercises and can benefit in future acting. With improv, people can find true expressive freedom since they don't ever know how the situation is going to turn out. When one continues to operate with an open mind they will have a real sense of spontaneity rather than pre-planning a response. You perform a character of your own making, and with that character and the others working with you, you create a new and spontaneous piece. Improv is also used to cover up if an actor or actress makes a mistake.

Semiotics of Acting[edit]

Semiotics of Acting is the actor’s ability to transform into a convincing character in front of the audience. The audience no longer sees the actor as a performer, but sees a character as a completely different being. Once this shift occurs, the actor becomes a semiotic device communicating a set of signs to the audience. A character’s signification can represent a multitude of different meanings to the audience. This may or may not be intended by the actor, who has limited control over how the audience will “read” the character. For example, if the actor is playing a character diagnosed with cancer, the audience may not just see a cancer patient, but may instead see a character similar to other cancer victims or survivors they have known. The actor’s performance, like any text, must be read by the audience.[2]

However, the actor is judged by giving a convincing and believable performance. The actor’s performance is mediated by particular semiotic signs including facial expression, emotion, and vocabulary. All these examples are known as performance signs. Performance signs are simple codes that the audience must decode during the actor's performance. It is the actor’s job to deliver those codes effectively to the audience. If the audience does not find the character believable, then the actor has failed in their performance. Like other forms of communication, non-verbal or visual clues are tremendously important. Acting teacher Sanford Meisner once said, “An ounce of emotion is worth a pound of words.”[3] Great actors master performance signs in order to win over an audience.[4]

Acting involves two forms of communication: intrascenic (communication between characters) and extrascenic (communication between the characters and the audience). Both intrascenic and extrascenic communication must work in order for the audience to read the semiotic signs of the actor’s performance. The characters must have intrascenic skills – “good chemistry” – in a scene in order for the audience to understand the performance.[5]

The actor represents the text of the script as performance signs. Actors bring the text to life through performance and through the personal qualities they may contribute to the narrative of script. Actors represent the ideas of the text, but also create a new visually dimensioned reality through their performance.

Becoming an actor representing semiotic signs can be a very difficult process. One must understand the performance signs, the audience, and human emotion.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Csapo and Slater (1994, 257); hypokrisis, which literally means "acting," was the word used in discussions of rhetorical delivery.
  2. ^ Radul, Judy. "Excerpt on sign and frame from Umberto Eco, Semiotics of Theatrical Performance". The MIT Press Stable. Retrieved 05/06/13. 
  3. ^ Meisner, Sanford (1987). Sanford Meisner on Acting. Random House Inc. 
  4. ^ Marvin, Carlson (1993). Theories of the Theatre: A Historical and Critical Survey from the Greeks to the present. Cornell University Press. pp. 500, 502. 
  5. ^ Yotov, Nayden. "The actor as a semiotic narrator". New Bulgarian University. Retrieved 05/06/13. 

Sources[edit]

External links[edit]


Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acting — Please support Wikipedia.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.
1000000 videos foundNext > 

Tom Hanks: On Acting

Being an actor is "a never-ending process of examining where you are in life" reflects Tom Hanks as he discusses living off $50 a week, how every director is...

Acting Coach Larry Moss

Having worked with Oscar winning actors Hillary Swank, and Helen Hunt among many others, including Leonardo Dicaprio Michael Clarke Duncun, Hank Azaria and J...

In Focus: Acting

"Don't worry about being famous or becoming a star - just do as much interesting work as you possibly can." For acting advice from the best in the business, ...

Jeffrey Tambor's Acting Workshop - SXSW Film 2013

Jeffrey Tambor (Arrested Development, The Hangover) returns to SXSW Film 2013, continuing the tradition of his much loved acting and life workshop where he b...

How to start an acting career: 3 Things you need to do to start an acting career

If you are looking to start an acting career, Tony, founder and creator of http://www.actingcareerquickstart.com and creator of the first-ever Home-Study Cou...

Breaking Bad 2013 - Bryan Cranston Reveals Acting Secrets - Walter White

Breaking Bad 2013 - Bryan Cranston Reveals Acting Secrets - Walter White.

Bradley Cooper on Acting and 'Silver Linings Playbook'

'Silver Linings Playbook' star Bradley Cooper on starting out in plays and then transitioning to the big screen.

Top 10 Acting Debuts in Movies

They roamed the earth as unknowns, before their big breaks. Join http://www.WatchMojo.com and today we're counting down our picks for the top 10 acting debut...

An acting masterclass from Sir Michael Caine (BBC Radio 4)

Tears, nudity, alcohol, and what to do with your eyes. Sir Michael Caine provides an acting masterclass to the BBC's Mark Lawson. Sir Michael came into Broad...

French Montana Talks Acting, East Coast/West Coast+Kanye West

French Montana talks about how he tries to live a life of positivity. Explains the difference with West Coast and East Coast Hip Hop, tells us he has recently gotten into acting. Power 106...

1000000 videos foundNext > 

3288073 news items

New York Times

New York Times
Mon, 25 Aug 2014 18:51:38 -0700

Election Panel Enacts Policies by Not Acting. By NICHOLAS CONFESSORE AUG. 25, 2014. Inside. Photo. Lee E. Goodman, Republican commissioner, is part of the partisan divide deadlocking the Federal Election Commission. Credit Tom Williams/CQ Roll ...

Sky News Australia

KETV Omaha
Tue, 26 Aug 2014 20:00:17 -0700

The former acting director of cybersecurity at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has been convicted on child pornography charges by a federal jury in the District of Nebraska on Tuesday. Related. 'Cops' crew member dies after.

The Hindu

The Hindu
Wed, 27 Aug 2014 05:00:00 -0700

Rapper Yo Yo Honey Singh is happy making music. After giving a shot to acting with Himesh Reshammiya-starrer “The Xpose”, he is not ready to face the camera for a film ever again. At the launch of his new album “Desi Kalakaar” here, Honey was asked if ...
 
Opelousas Daily World
Tue, 26 Aug 2014 19:03:45 -0700

Coming off two successful productions over the summer, the Delta Grand Youth Company is seeking members for its fall acting workshops. “We did 'Anne of Green Gables' and 'Peter Pan' over the summer. They were both huge successes that drew a ...
 
Maryville Daily Times
Tue, 26 Aug 2014 20:56:15 -0700

Tennessee Stage Company offers acting and theater classes for adults on Thursdays beginning Sept. 11, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Broadway Academy of Performing Arts, just north of downtown Knoxville. Classes are open to all interested individuals ages 16 ...
 
Fayetteville Observer
Tue, 26 Aug 2014 21:07:30 -0700

Q: I have a grandson who'd love to go to acting school. Are there any in the area? If not, where is the closest one? - E.A., Hope Mills. A: With several strong local theaters in Fayetteville, there is no shortage of opportunities to learn stagecraft.
 
St. Cloud Times
Tue, 26 Aug 2014 15:41:15 -0700

Stearns County has appointed an acting emergency management director to replace Erin Hausauer, who resigned Aug. 22. Hausauer, who has served as Stearns County and city of St. Cloud's emergency management director since March 2013, took another ...
 
KIMT 3
Tue, 26 Aug 2014 16:03:45 -0700

Baresel will be the acting county attorney until Nov. 4th when official election results are released. There are currently three candidates running for the position of county attorney; private attorney Ann Troge, Cerro Gordo County Assistant Attorney ...
Loading

Oops, we seem to be having trouble contacting Twitter

Talk About Acting

You can talk about Acting with people all over the world in our discussions.

Support Wikipedia

A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia. Please add your support for Wikipedia!