Professional acting

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William Watters

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Jan 31, 1995, 8:00:08 PM1/31/95
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I have yet to meet very many professional actors at faire. Those that
believe they are, usually aren't. Most customers that come through the
front gates come for the atmosphere, and for the crafts, and to see some
shows.

Being distracted by some equity actor is the last thing they want to have
to deal with.

This thread started out complaining about the way some faire management
treats the normal participant. They weren't asking for more money. They
were simply commenting that they wish the powers at be would treat them a
bit nicer. A thank you would be nice, as opposed to often sounding like
it was the management who did the participants a favor by letting them
pay the cash to be able to participate.

The cash that participants have to pay isn't at issue, as for the vast
majority it is their hobby, and something they have a passion for. They
vastly consider anyone in it for the money to be tacky and misguided,
because no one individual is at all worth it or that good.

This is speaking about participants, not boothies. I am not familiar with
their operations, though the one individual who spoke of participants
bursting into their booth in the midst of a gig/shtick should have a long
chat with their coordinator/director to set them straight (if not to work
hawking for a few hours). Participants and boothies should work together
in making the atmosphere work. Having a participant come in and talk to a
booth worker about their wares is a great gig, provided that the booth
isn't too busy and that it 'works' in that particular instance.

On the participants sides, it was simply mentioned that 'slackers' who do
nothing all day long (this does not include the ones who do their fair
share of daily parades, pagagaents, shows, dances, street time, whatever
that their directors instruct them to do) should not be invited back.
Guildmasters being a little less slack in their forgiveness would do
wonders in correcting this problem.

After hours is after hours. You'll dictate how someone else spends their
time? Some find it annoying to be around those who remain in some
semblance of character after hours, don't hang around them. Do remember
that some accents are tired accents to begin with, and by the end of the
day it takes more concentration than is worth it to break out of them for
a time.

It would be nice if management would listen to feedback given by
guildmasters or directors, as opposed to simply giving dictation which
seems to so often be the case.

Lending to the overall atmosphere at faire should be the end result.
Boothies and participants working together. A participant who knows their
part well and is comfortable with it will blend in and add more than any
"professional" who simply is doing it as a theatrical exercise. The
former seems to a customer relaxed and natural, the latter always appears
fake.

It's a hobby and a self-enrichment program for most of the participants.
As long as they do their parts and support the whole show, let them be,
they've done their part. Besides, any professional can be replaced at
faire by any newcomer who's willing to try.


Chris Laning (cla...@igc.apc.org)
wrote: : To-rf@ Tuesday, January 31, 1995

: <ron...@IntNet.net> wrote:

: > I have rarely, if ever, run into a professional actor who stays in
: > character _intentionally_ when not on the job. I have run into any
: > number of well-intentioned, albeit amateur, street characters that
: > are annoyingly in character all the time...

: Perhaps this is a stupid question, but *why* is it more "professional" on the
: part of an actor to immediately drop the accent, change out of the costume,
: et cetera, right after closing time? And why - - unless they are refusing to
: understand what you mean by "telephone" or "gas money" - - is it annoying to
: speak with someone who is continuing in character after hours? I'm not
: asking this sarcastically, I'm genuinely puzzled.

: (Granted, someone who came up to me in the middle of the week at my day
: job and said, "Hail good Dame! Prithy, how fair thee this morrow?" would
: get a "Gack!" from me, too, but that would be their grammar. ;-) )

: I've been thinking about this and have come up with several possible
: reasons. Perhaps some of you can tell me if I'm on the right track.
: (1) If you aren't (at least temporarily) sick of playing a role by closing
: time, you're not putting enough into it during the day.
: (2) If you don't feel at least somewhat constrained by your role, it's too
: much like your real self, i.e. you're not *really* getting inside the "period"
: mentality. (I'm certainly quick enough to get out of the nylons and suit of my
: "day job" role, which I *do* find constraining.)
: (3) Good actors are good because they can take criticism; if your role is
: too close to your real self - - or if you choose a role that meets your own
: emotional needs - - it will be a lot harder for you to be objective, and
: therefore, to get really good at it.
: (4) For your own mental health, it's good to demonstrate to yourself and
: others that you can drop the role quickly.
: (5) Dropping the role right after closing is a testimonial that you don't
: need any "extra practice" in order to stay in character during performance
: hours. (Personally, I find it awfully hard to think like a 16th-century woman
: and need all the practice I can get.)

: It's the need some folks at Faire seem to have to be *ostentatious* about
: dropping that accent at 6:01 pm, and to "correct" anyone who doesn't, that
: bothers me, I guess. But it seems to me that the "professional" attitude they
: succeed in conveying is, "This acting job is boring drudgery like any other,
: and I won't do it one minute longer than someone pays me to or says I have
: to." This seems mean-spirited to me.

: ____________________________________________________________
: O "Mistress Christian," a.k.a. Chris Laning
: | <cla...@igc.apc.org>
: + Davis, California
: ____________________________________________________________

--
=================================================================
* "Nemo exspectat Inquisitionem Hispaniensen!" Montius Pythonius

Bill Watters Don Gianni Francesco Marco d' Abestanzi
gia...@netcom.com Asst. Guildmaster Santa Maria North
(415) 261-2683
=================================================================

leather

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Jan 31, 1995, 11:05:26 PM1/31/95
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Please remember through all of this: the subject is the *profession* of
acting, not whether or not it is ok to perform at faire for the personal
pleasure of doing so. If you get off on being someone other than you
really are, huzzah.


Chris Laning <cla...@igc.apc.org> wrote:
>
><ron...@IntNet.net> wrote:
>
> > I have rarely, if ever, run into a professional actor who stays in
> > character _intentionally_ when not on the job. I have run into any
> > number of well-intentioned, albeit amateur, street characters that
> > are annoyingly in character all the time...
>
>Perhaps this is a stupid question, but *why* is it more "professional" on the
>part of an actor to immediately drop the accent, change out of the costume,
>et cetera, right after closing time? And why - - unless they are refusing to
>understand what you mean by "telephone" or "gas money" - - is it annoying to
>speak with someone who is continuing in character after hours? I'm not
>asking this sarcastically, I'm genuinely puzzled.

I'm probably not the best one to answer you, since I am not a performer
(whether or not I'm entertaining is subject to personal opinion <grin> )
... however, I am ever able to expound, it seems, so I'll give it my best
and most honest shot.

This problem may be specific to faires and amateur theatre. No where else,
it seems, does one continue in their professional roles outside of their
professional arena. Doctors do not do diagnosis in the coffee shop.
Lawyers do not write contacts at the 7-Eleven. Auto mechanics do not
rebuild carburators at the dinner table. I could go on and on, but you
get my point, I think. Only performers - some performers - refuse to put
down the tools and return to their real, personal lives. (I can just hear
everyone scrambling to come up with other examples!)

Part of this, I suspect, is born of a cynical "children playing at the
faire" attitude by people, like myself (tho, ahem, not *necessarily*
myself) who do not view participation at faire as an extension of a
fantasy realm or alter ego playground. We assemble, we open the gates, we
entertain/sell/feed/amuse/do our jobs and tasks and then the day is over.
Time for a beer, some decent (not show) food, some tunes and getting out
of the fukkin costume. As far as I'm concerned, sorry: anyone who is
still in costume by monday is playing a semi-grownup version of cowboys
and indians, with a medieval twist.

Part of this, I have experienced, is the social disharmony caused by
using an alias in a context that does not generally allow aliases.
Especially preposterous ones. So, on site, being known as "Wolf" or
"Harmony" (or "Leather", for that matter) is one thing, especially if you
act fairly "normal" (I'm accepting definitions)... being the legendary
"Sir Doofus of DiddleFinger", or acting like you don't have a clue that
the patrons have left, is another.

Part of this, I have been told, is that for professional actors - and
this extends to performers of other talents - when the curtain drops, the
character drops. This is part of professional instruction and is part of
being recognized as a professional. Given the context of this exchange,
this about says it all.

> (3) Good actors are good because they can take criticism; if your role is
>too close to your real self - - or if you choose a role that meets your own
>emotional needs - - it will be a lot harder for you to be objective, and
>therefore, to get really good at it.

This says something, but not quite. It is more that if you create a role
to augment you life, you are playing that role for other than
professional reasons. You might actually be great at it - just not *as*
great, perhaps, after the patrons leave. Don't you want to be someone
outside of your festival job?

> (4) For your own mental health, it's good to demonstrate to yourself and
>others that you can drop the role quickly.

Actually, this is rather right on target. Nuff said.

>It's the need some folks at Faire seem to have to be *ostentatious* about
>dropping that accent at 6:01 pm, and to "correct" anyone who doesn't, that
>bothers me, I guess.

Hmmm. I'm not sure I've personally corrected anyone that wasn't a good
friend, and then it was said and taken in good spirits. But perhaps your
experience elsewhere is different. It's not 6:01 we're really talking
about anyway (disregarding that most of the shows I do end at 7:00!!),
it's more like 9:00 or 3am or all week or.... don't these people have a
life?

> But it seems to me that the "professional" attitude they
>succeed in conveying is, "This acting job is boring drudgery like any other,
>and I won't do it one minute longer than someone pays me to or says I have

>have too."

Chris, I think the real issue is: it's a job, whether you love it, like
it, tolerate it or hate it. When the show closes, why not treat your
fellow participants as friends, and not patrons? Why interject your show
character between yourself and the person you are speaking with? Isn't
that, in the end of it all, impersonal, and maybe just a little bit rude?


Ro Nagey

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Jan 31, 1995, 11:50:29 PM1/31/95
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That was an incredibly well-thought out letter, Chris. Let me see if I can
answer some of your questions [from my position of humility and
perfection, of course]...

Let's make sure we're talking the same thing...I'm not referring to first
show or first weekend problems with characterization...heck, when I first
started performing I remember having so much trouble with my accent on
openning day that I stopped a show, stepped forward and announced: "Lords
and ladies, if you hear an accent you find pleasing, applaud and I shall
endeavor to hold it longer" [embarassed grin]

Nor am I talking about characters with particularly difficult characters.

I am talking about the person who 4 weeks into a fair sits at a table
where everyone is sitting around a table sharing their day and he
interrupts to say how 'the bleedin' irish did this' or 'the king's guards
did that' or ....

In other words, he interrupts a mundane conversation to talk about his
characters' reactions to events at the fair.

To me, that is rude. [shrug]

I don't fault anyone for staying in character at 6:01 on a Fair day.
You're right, that would be just as rude.


Ro

--
Talent can be a handicap - Ro
If you want to fly a MiG in Moscow,
check out: www.intnet.net/mig29

Greg Bullough

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Feb 1, 1995, 10:40:58 AM2/1/95
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In article <3gn1a6$i...@tpe.ncm.com> lea...@tpe.ncm.com (leather) writes:
>
>Chris, I think the real issue is: it's a job, whether you love it, like
>it, tolerate it or hate it.

But a rather unusual 'job,' at that. Leather, you're well-suited to being
a merchant, given your approach to the thing as evidenced by your posting.
How about some room for people who look at it differently?

> When the show closes, why not treat your
>fellow participants as friends, and not patrons? Why interject your show
>character between yourself and the person you are speaking with? Isn't
>that, in the end of it all, impersonal, and maybe just a little bit rude?

Why not take people as they come, and interact with what they choose to
present to you? Aside from the fact that it is difficult to drop all
pretense after 8 hours of improv 'in' character, don't people deserve
the space to invent themselves as they see fit?

Who says that, for the time of their choosing, the show character is
any less 'real' than the person who helps populate an office on Monday
morning?

Aren't the problems that so many creative people around the various
Faires constantly complaining about mostly of a nature of an excess of
know-it-alls and busybodies telling other people how to 'be?'

These events are a place of growing and experimentation with ideas and
alternate personae. I've found that, in the circle of 'Faire Folk' that
I knew, the ones that I liked best, and who made me feel good to be around,
where those who weren't worried about how they were supposed to 'be' at
times when it didn't really matter. Their so-called 'character' and
their so-called 'selves' are generally pretty neat sides of the same
coin.

I guess it would be a problem for those people who aren't really
entirely comfortable stepping out of their idea of 'reality,' and
who have to keep one toe in it, lest they lose their balance. For
them, the idea of a sincere interaction with a 'character' is
preposterous, because the can't get around the idea that there
is a dualism there. It stops them cold.

For those for whom it is an acting 'job,' so be it. It will be one lousy
job, but thery will probably have worse. For those for whom it is a time
to develop and explore self and alternate personae, so be it.

For those who make it their business to evaluate whether how someone
else chooses to invent themselves in a given time and space, perhaps
Wall Street would be a less stressful venue in which to trade. Then
again that requires a specific persona as well. I've even heard tell
some people neglect to leave that one at the office.

Greg

leather

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Feb 3, 1995, 7:57:25 PM2/3/95
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Greg Bullough <gr...@netcom.com> wrote:

>lea...@tpe.ncm.com (me) wrote:
>>
>>Chris, I think the real issue is: it's a job, whether you love it, like
>>it, tolerate it or hate it.
>
>But a rather unusual 'job,' at that.....

>How about some room for people who look at it differently?

Take all the space you need. Like I said, if you want to do faire just
because you get off being someone else, huzzah. But that is not
"professional", and that *was* the subject at hand.

>> When the show closes, why not treat your
>>fellow participants as friends, and not patrons? Why interject your show
>>character between yourself and the person you are speaking with? Isn't
>>that, in the end of it all, impersonal, and maybe just a little bit rude?
>
>Why not take people as they come, and interact with what they choose to
>present to you?

I do. The people who treat me as one human being to another get reacted
to by virtue of who they are. The ones who treat me like a patron get
reacted to differently. Outside of the clique of the "lost ones", as a
performer here at a.f.r called the reality challenged, this is
universally true.

Aside from the fact that it is difficult to drop all
>pretense after 8 hours of improv 'in' character, don't people deserve
>the space to invent themselves as they see fit?

Again, no one (I think) is talking about 6:01. Why is faire necessarily
the space to "invent yourself"? Why not everywhere? Is hiding behind a
character "inventing yourself"?

>These events are a place of growing and experimentation with ideas and
>alternate personae.

These events are businesses, period. Within that structure there is room
for a lot of personal involvement. You can do/act/behave/talk/dress/pretend
whatever and however you want, as long as we can have our opinion of your
behavior.

>I guess it would be a problem for those people who aren't really

>entirely comfortable stepping out of their idea of 'reality' ....

The other side of that coin are people who are uncomfortable with,
insecure with, or inadequate in a generally accepted notion of reality,
including the notion that faires are real businesses where real people go
to practice real professions. Really. Faire is not a thematic summer camp.

>For those for whom it is an acting 'job,' so be it. It will be one lousy

>job...

Whoa. I know a lot of *great* entertainers who have a firm grip on
reality *and* they love their jobs at faire - and their professions at
large. You don't have to consign them to drudgery just because they are
happy with who they really are.

> ..... For those for whom it is a time


>to develop and explore self and alternate personae, so be it.

Hey, truly, have fun. Pretend, develop, explore, play, hang out,
whatever. There is room at faire for that, it's a big place. It's not at
all what faire is truly about, but there's room for it. Just don't
begrudge those of us who have to toil in abject reality in order to build
and provide you with the arena in which you can deny that reality.
Really, we're working (and playing and laughing and frolicing and loving
and developing and exploring and creating and loving real life) just as
hard as we can....

Sharon Krossa

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Feb 4, 1995, 10:36:41 PM2/4/95
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I have been following this thread with a great deal of interest. As
a Language Director for a Scots' Guild, I can point out one *very* good
reason why a faire actor, professional or not, might *not* 'drop accent'
as soon as faire closed, or even 3 hours after the last customer has
driven away, whether they stay fully in character or not. (There
is of course a difference between 'dropping accent' and 'dropping
character'.)
Even the most professional of actors, who may be able to sound like
Will himself reading Shakespeare's plays, when working as an
improvisational actor at a faire is not reciting carefully coached lines,
but speaking a closely related, but still *foreign* language. And to
speak a foreign language well, let alone fluently, takes practice. Lots
and lots of practice. Far more practice than a few workshop and rehersal
days. More than 6 or 8 or 10 or 20 working faire days once a year. More than
just listening to tapes in the car and speaking strangely to your cat on
occasion. The more you practice a language, especially practice
responding to another live being (whether or not they too are
practicing), the better you will get. And a professional actor will
practice his part, particularly the tricky elements of that part, again and
again until he has it as good as he can get it.
Admittedly, it is quite healthy to take breaks from practicing.
On the other hand, the time you spend with other faire people, be it at
9pm Saturday on a faire weekend or 6pm after work on wednesday while
sewing another bit of costume, is one of the few oppurtunities you have
to practice your foreign language on other humans without worrying they will
call out the little men in white coats to come put you away somewhere
padded.
In some ways, speaking in accent out of hours can be better practice
than the many hours in front of the customers. Out of hours, you don't
have the pressure of being 'on', of performing. You may be more relaxed
and this helps when practicing. You can allow yourself to concentrate
just on the language and not worry about the characterization, helping
you to learn to speak more naturally about normal things in a normal (for
the foreign language) way, without worrying about whether any customers
are listening, whether you're blocking someones view or where this 'gig'
is taking you, how to resolve it and whether its time to move further
down the street.
The better you get at using the language naturally, the better you
will sound during the faire day: the better you will do your *job*. And
the professional works at his job until he gets it right, not just until
the whistle blows at 6pm.
To think of it another way, if you were an English speaking actor
working in French improvisational theatre, would you think it the sign of
a professional to *never* speak in French except when you were actually
performing?
Personally, I would encourage all faire actors to leap at any and
every oppurtunity to speak in accent.

Beannachd leibh!
Sharon Krossa
Language Director (in absentia), Comann Naomh Bri\de (St. Brigid's Guild,
The Scots), LHC Northern Renaissance Faire, California
[Developer of BASH -- the Basic Accent for Scottis Hielanderis]
e-mail: s.kr...@aberdeen.ac.uk (PLEASE use this address rather than what
may appear elsewhere! Thank you!)

Dean Steede

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Feb 5, 1995, 3:41:25 PM2/5/95
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In article <APC&1'0'839ceeaa'c...@igc.apc.org>
Chris Laning <cla...@igc.apc.org> writes:

> Perhaps this is a stupid question, but *why* is it more "professional" on the
> part of an actor to immediately drop the accent, change out of the costume,
> et cetera, right after closing time? And why - - unless they are refusing to
> understand what you mean by "telephone" or "gas money" - - is it annoying to
> speak with someone who is continuing in character after hours? I'm not
> asking this sarcastically, I'm genuinely puzzled.
>

> (Granted, someone who came up to me in the middle of the week at my day
> job and said, "Hail good Dame! Prithy, how fair thee this morrow?" would
> get a "Gack!" from me, too, but that would be their grammar. ;-) )

I think you touch on the answer to your own question with this parenthetical
comment. For each person, there is a boundary that delimits the propriety of
their character's activity. For you, it would be somewhere around the time
you put on your business persona. For William Morris (q.v.), it would be
around the time the responsibility to that persona is discharged for the day.
He sets the boundary at the end of the performance, you at the point where
another performance is required.

This boundary conflict is common in a lot of settings, e.g., the insurance
salesperson that always puts a move on the people at a party, the lawyer that
solicits cases among folks at a public event, etc. We are discussing a
difficult matter of allowing others to have a different boundary than
ourselves without making them look or feel foolish. Realistically, though, a
lot of this "character control" policing is a natural function of social
pressure. If enough people insist on staying in character after the show is
closed, those wanting to drop character immediately will have to find others
to associate with.

> I've been thinking about this and have come up with several possible
> reasons. Perhaps some of you can tell me if I'm on the right track.
> (1) If you aren't (at least temporarily) sick of playing a role by closing
> time, you're not putting enough into it during the day.

I doubt this one. I don't know performers (of whatever standing or
competence) who make themselves sick of their character during the course of
the day. That's not to say they don't find some taxing limits to their
characters which wear them out regularly, but it's not deliberate.

> (2) If you don't feel at least somewhat constrained by your role, it's too
> much like your real self, i.e. you're not *really* getting inside the "period"
> mentality. (I'm certainly quick enough to get out of the nylons and suit of my
> "day job" role, which I *do* find constraining.)

I would say that the general reaction is that a day as a character is
constraining, and those that don't feel that (i.e., they feel more complete
as a character than as their off-site identities) need to do some serious
self-examination. Perhaps the fact we don't do this job every day or night
for years on end is an indication that we are not saturated with the
limitations, but that doesn't make them go away. Try performing the same
show 9 times a week (including matinees) for a few months and see how
constrained you feel. That's certainly been my experience, even when I loved
the character, the performers and the show.

Admittedly, the improvisational nature of a lot of these characters and
performances (especially for the street performers) makes for considerably
less constraint and saturation. However, almost every performer in my guild
last year essayed a different character at least once during the run just to
get out of the bonds of the official role and stretch their acting skills in
other ways. That testifies to an experience of constraint that may not be
verbalized.

> (3) Good actors are good because they can take criticism; if your role is
> too close to your real self - - or if you choose a role that meets your own
> emotional needs - - it will be a lot harder for you to be objective, and
> therefore, to get really good at it.

There's too much going on in this point to address in one remark.

On criticism: true, but true of anyone, anywhere who is mature and
intelligent.

On how close versus objectivity: stereotyping is a universal way of getting
easily into a part, and doesn't necessarily affect the quality of your
performance.

On emotional needs and objectivity: if every performer knew what emotional
needs they were trying to meet by being at faire, there would be a lot less
need for therapists. If the role meets those unknown needs, then it is
likely to do some good. However, it will again be necessary to realize there
are boundaries to the character that are going to be insisted on by other
performers and society at large.

A role which is close to your real persona won't stretch you much as an
actor, but may still meet emotional needs, and thus allow you to grow in
other ways. Another role that is a great reach will challenge one's talent
and emotional resources to excel, but doesn't necessarily make for a better
actor, just one with broader experience.

> (4) For your own mental health, it's good to demonstrate to yourself and
> others that you can drop the role quickly.

I vote for this one. I don't want my SO coming home and relating to me the
way she does to her coworkers, and vice versa. We put on and take off roles
constantly during each day of the week. It should hardly come as a shock
that this same transformation is expected at the end of a faire day.

> (5) Dropping the role right after closing is a testimonial that you don't
> need any "extra practice" in order to stay in character during performance
> hours. (Personally, I find it awfully hard to think like a 16th-century woman
> and need all the practice I can get.)

Here's another boundary issue. At the end of the day, few of my fellow
performers want to give up the part, but know that the time has come to get a
little distance, at least for a while. This sometimes turns into the hubris
you allude to above, about having perfected the role and not needing to
expand on it outside the hours of faire.

Actually, I try to encourage after hours evaluations, examinations and
sharing of experiences as characters. For some, this is best immediately
after they get changed, for others it is more helpful just before they go
back on site the next time. All the same, I remind the people I am working
with that they are better actors to the extent that they have developed
extensive numbers of roles, and to the extent they can bring those roles from
the "real world" to faire.



> It's the need some folks at Faire seem to have to be *ostentatious* about
> dropping that accent at 6:01 pm, and to "correct" anyone who doesn't, that

> bothers me, I guess. But it seems to me that the "professional" attitude they

> succeed in conveying is, "This acting job is boring drudgery like any other,
> and I won't do it one minute longer than someone pays me to or says I have

> to." This seems mean-spirited to me.

It bothers me as well. At the Ohio Renaissance Festival, we have developed a
stereotyped reaction to those who may be staying in character
inappropriately. Early on, usually during rehearsals, if a few performers
are talking out of character and another comes up still in character, this
conversation takes place:

(To the new arrival): Where's the f*cking beer?
(To which the well-know reply is): The f*cking beer is in the f*cking pickup
truck.
(Followed by): And where's the f*cking pickup truck?
(Concluding with): The f*cking pickup truck is in the f*cking parking lot.

A time or two through this and the whole cast knows the joke. For the rest
of the run, all one person has to say is: Where's the beer? and the point
is made. This is as close as I can think of to a gentle way of ensuring a
person is not behaving inappropriately when joining a group after the show.
On the other hand, there are those still essaying elements of their
character, and they are left to do so. Perhaps I am lucky to have been part
of a cast of performers generally very mature and considerate about these
issues.

I always remind myself that an enormous number of the performers are high
school and young college students, who are going through intense and
difficult role changes already. For many of them, faire is a way of trying
on those new roles in a relatively safe way, and thus it is understandable
when they become very enamored of their success at these roles. For them, it
is more important to take what they learn at faire into their developing
adult identities, while for me the flow is much more the other way. That, if
nothing else, creates some of the conflict we are seeing and discussing.

Is my M.S. in clinical psychology showing?

--
Dean Steede | Internet: sdl...@iac.net
Cincinnati, OH | IWW Delegate, IN-KY-OH Area, I.U. 450
--
Working overtime is scabbing on the unemployed

My PGP2.6 Public Key available from Keyserver:
pgp-pub...@pgp.iastate.edu
In the subject space type: GET Dean Steede <sdl...@iac.net>
ID/1024:D73C1E7D

L Igel

unread,
Feb 5, 1995, 7:30:48 PM2/5/95
to
...I don't know that I'd want to argue that dropping character when the
show is over is somehow more professional than not -- I think
"professionalism" has more to do with how much effort goes into the job
one is hired to do, rather than how one chooses to behave after hours. I
can't speak for other performers, but I prefer people to drop character
when off stage because I find it annoying when people pretend to be
someone they are not regardless of the circumstances.

I don't immediately drop character because I find it constraining or what
have you (make-believe is a lot of fun sometimes, or none of us would do
this -- my character is single, for instance, which I find a great deal
LESS constraining than my own life), I drop character immediately because
she is not me. It's an honesty thing, not a professionalism thing.

I don't think less of folks who like to stay in character after hours, but
I do have to wonder who they ARE, that they want so much to be someone
else.

Does that make sense??

leather

unread,
Feb 6, 1995, 11:04:44 AM2/6/95
to
Sharon Krossa <skr...@svpal.svpal.org> wrote:
> As
>a Language Director for a Scots' Guild, I can point out one *very* good
>reason why a faire actor, professional or not, might *not* 'drop accent'
>as soon as faire closed, or even 3 hours after the last customer has
>driven away, whether they stay fully in character or not. (There
>is of course a difference between 'dropping accent' and 'dropping
>character'.)

<long and rather well stated arguement in favor of maintaining accent during
off hours, in order to facilitate "practice", deleted>

Sharon, perhaps you have hit it squarely with the observation that there
is a difference between dropping character and dropping accent. Most
everyone I know drifts in and out of accent during the off hours/days
of a faire. The ones who refuse to drop any aspect of their character are
the ones I think we have been discussing. It's distracting to attempt
a real 20th c. conversation with someone who is treating you like a patron,
persisting in the character and clueless as to how rude that actually is.
I see these people in their roles all day long for two or three days at a
time: when the patrons leave, I'd rather have the actors to deal with,
not their characters. For those who seem to have no clear division
between the two, there is the amusing/disturbing aspect of someone who
flagon isn't quite full...

> To think of it another way, if you were an English speaking actor
>working in French improvisational theatre, would you think it the sign of
>a professional to *never* speak in French except when you were actually
>performing?

Well this doesn't quite follow :) Assuming you mean french improv in a
french speaking country or area (Quebec, for instance), I would expect
the actor to communicate in the native language when not on stage, in
this case french. At a faire, the native language is 20th c. american.
A more direct analogy would be: if you were working in french dialect on
stage, do you think it would be proper to maintain that dialect offstage,
even though those around you found it a deterent to communication? Should
I attempt to have a real life conversation with you while you are
refusing to drop character/dialect/accent?

>Beannachd leibh!
>Sharon Krossa

Exactly my point :) if you were to say this to me on a faire day, I might
smile and bow slightly, depending. Say this to me on wednesday and you'll
get "gazunheit" in respose. Beannachd leibh is no doubt a nice thing, but
as far as being conducive to conversation, it fails.

Molly P

unread,
Feb 6, 1995, 1:23:15 PM2/6/95
to
>(To the new arrival): Where's the f*cking beer?
>(To which the well-know reply is): The f*cking beer is in the f*cking pickup
>truck.
>(Followed by): And where's the f*cking pickup truck?
>(Concluding with): The f*cking pickup truck is in the f*cking parking lot.

In my circle of acquaintances, the operative phrase is" The box of wine
is in the Daihatsu"

I laughed to see such a strong parralell in our formulas.

Boy, we really _are_ more alike than not, aren't we. *grin*

That's all from the singer's gallery.

My very best to you all,

Molly P.
--
M. The lioness kneels. pai...@netcom.com

Bananadog

unread,
Feb 7, 1995, 5:34:48 PM2/7/95
to
On Feb. 1, gia...@netcom.com (William Watters) wrote:
>On the participants sides, it was simply mentioned that 'slackers' who do

>nothing all day long (this does not include the ones who do their fair
>share of daily parades, pagagaents, shows, dances, street time, whatever
>that their directors instruct them to do) should not be invited back.
>Guildmasters being a little less slack in their forgiveness would do
>wonders in correcting this problem.

Slacking is what some of us do best. ;)

As far as all this "professional" business goes, I get paid, so I guess by
definition, I'm a professional. But aren't we really talking about the
quality of performance and the ability to keep from making a total ass of
yourself? (or at least knowing *when* to make an ass of yourself).

Having distinguished, aren't good performers important, whether they
choose to be part of a group that runs around in parades, dances on stage,
hawks merchandise, or just participates in several of the seven deadly
sins? I mean, as long as you do it *well*!

It is a job, a profession, if you will. But I wouldn't participate in a
job that I didn't enjoy.

and on Feb 5, skr...@svpal.svpal.org (Sharon Krossa) wrote:
>>Personally, I would encourage all faire actors to leap at any and
>>every oppurtunity to speak in accent.

On the whole, I would agree with you, Sharon. I think it is important, at
least in the beginning to hone your accent and attempt fluency. I will
add, though, that I think the importance of accent is soetimes overstated.
I have excellent BFA, can turn it on or off, and can stay with it all day
or longer, if need be. But I also opt to drop it for something more
flowery when the need arises. If I'm putting on a show, I'll do what is
neccessary to entertain the audience. And although we try to recreate a
chapter in history, we also try to entertain. If I leave them laughing and
wanting to come back next year, have I not done my job regardless of
accent? Just a thought.

(jeez, my first posting)
Scott Russell,
Nonesuche Player

Greg Bullough

unread,
Feb 8, 1995, 8:56:51 AM2/8/95
to
In article <ronagey-0702...@ro.intnet.net> ron...@intNet.net (Ro Nagey) writes:
>
>The problem we're discussing isn't about pros working on accents. [at
>least it's not what I'm talking about] It's the annoying person who
>decides his play personality is better than his real one. I think I've
>heard others use the term 'lost boys'.
>
>Ro


Then there are those whose 'play personality' *IS* better than their
real one. :-)

Including, but of course not limited to, the 'controllers' who make
up all kinds of rules about how other people should be, and then
enforce them by various means. Some, we witness here: belittling,
'in' jokes, etc. Then of course, there's the Guild system. That allows one to
perhaps do one of your 'lost boys' right out of a job, if you play it right.

In comparison to the various controlling tactics and cliquish games
that we hear about and witness, a bit of pretentiousness seems
refreshing by comparison.

Here's an idea... ...how about if all these fuss-pots develop a
'character' that takes people as they come?

Greg


Greg Bullough

unread,
Feb 10, 1995, 1:05:57 PM2/10/95
to
In article <3hccpa$7...@tpe.ncm.com> lea...@tpe.ncm.com (leather) writes:

>Bananadog <bana...@aol.com> wrote:
>
>>As far as all this "professional" business goes, I get paid, so I guess by
>>definition, I'm a professional.
>
>Actually, not necessarily. If you make you livihood at something, that is
>a professional. Simply getting paid for doing something is simply getting
>paid for doing something.

Webster's 9th defines it such that 'for gain' is sufficient to meet
the requirements for the label 'professional.'

That's about as 'by definition' as it gets.

Of course, there are definitions of 'professional,' often used by those
who try and 'load' the term in order to control the behavior of others (i.e.
"He's *SO* unproFESSional!"). Loaded terms like that are often a way in
which someone with suspect motives can run down someone else without
making themselves look bad, and gaining some credibility besides. Often,
what the person is really saying when he says the parenthasized quote
above is "He's a prick." Which is usually just an absolutification
of "I don't happen to like him."

However, 'Leather's' artificial limitation of the definition is really
dangerous, because it implies that dedicated performers who can't, or choose
not to, make their 'living' at Faire aren't entitled to being treated as
'professionals.' That premise *IS* in fact one which LHC et. al. have
operated under.

I note that Leather fits under his own definition of professional. So
once again it's "I'm a professional (i.e. entitled to all the perks
and privileges) and you aren't" being said to the dedicated performers.

Leather, is this *really* what you mean to say?

Greg

Ro Nagey

unread,
Feb 10, 1995, 9:52:27 PM2/10/95
to
In article <gregD3o...@netcom.com>, gr...@netcom.com (Greg Bullough) wrote:

>
> Then there are those whose 'play personality' *IS* better than their
> real one. :-)
>
> Including, but of course not limited to, the 'controllers' who make
> up all kinds of rules about how other people should be, and then
> enforce them by various means. Some, we witness here: belittling,
> 'in' jokes, etc. Then of course, there's the Guild system. That allows one to
> perhaps do one of your 'lost boys' right out of a job, if you play it right.
>
> In comparison to the various controlling tactics and cliquish games
> that we hear about and witness, a bit of pretentiousness seems
> refreshing by comparison.
>
> Here's an idea... ...how about if all these fuss-pots develop a
> 'character' that takes people as they come?
>

Greg:

I've read this through a couple of times now and I'm not sure what you're
talking about or who you're directing your vitriol at. Seriously.

Who are the 'controllers'? What belittling or in jokes? What about the
Guild system? [I've done fairs from Colorado to the east and never run
into a Guild system]

I think I _do_ take people as they come...and I appreciate it when a
person is creative and enjoys their job. And, when someone comes to me as
a fughead, I can appreciate the fact that I discovered this sooner rather
than later.

Let me turn the situation around just a little bit, Greg. When I was
younger, a stage act, and still *good looking*, I would on the rare
occasion attract a woman who might want to pass some idle time with me.
Some of them got pissed when they found out that when I got off stage I
_wasn't_ the zany, madcap, thrill-a-minute wacko personality I was on
stage.

You know, if someone went out to a date in his MacDonald's uniform and
kept replying "Do you want fries with that?" to his date, his family line
would be mercifully shortened. I'm not saying he can't do it - just that
it would be a pretty good indication that he should perhaps learn to relax
a wee bit more.


Ro

--

If you want to fly a MiG in Moscow,

check out: http://www.intnet.net/mig29/

leather

unread,
Feb 11, 1995, 5:56:52 PM2/11/95
to
Sharon Krossa <skr...@svpal.svpal.org> wrote:

<snip snip>
.
> But if I do *drop character* but remain in accent -- why should this
>bother you so very much, as long as 1) I didn't insist you do the same, 2)
>You could understand me.
.
Well, as I tried to indicate, it wasn't so much the accent as it was the
character that usually (sometimes...) is attached to the accent,
especially when the person is still in costume in the middle of the week
and clearly is not "practicing" but is "fantasizing". As in: get a life.
I know a lot of participants who practice during the week, clearly
rehearsing their characters or acts or new routines, then when it's time
to speak to me it's person to person, not character to audience.
.
> If you can't understand me, thats fine...
.
huh? (sorry, just a bad joke).... :)
.
> It'll be good for me to tell you where the beer is while in
>accent, and you'll still know that the beer is in the pick-up truck.
.
haha, I like your style, Sharon.... your points are well spoken and well
taken. I suspect we really have nothing to argue about, we're just
trading different perspectives on the same side of the coin. Now, where
is that pickup truck?!?
.
> So, if you mean to complain about people not dropping *character* --
>say that, don't say you dont' like people not dropping *accent*
.
Well, I think I have, mostly, tho like most real life, the distinctions
are not always so cut and dried... often, the character *is* the accent,
or vice-versa...
.
>Beannachd leibh! "Blessin' with ye!"
.
Beannachd leibh, Sharon :)
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.


Tom I Perigrin

unread,
Feb 13, 1995, 1:38:45 PM2/13/95
to
In article <ronagey-0702...@ro.intnet.net>, ron...@intNet.net (Ro
Nagey) wrote:
>
> In article <3h1h4a$2...@borg.svpal.org>, skr...@svpal.svpal.org (Sharon

> Krossa) wrote:
>
> > I have been following this thread with a great deal of interest. As
> > a Language Director for a Scots' Guild, I can point out one *very* good
> > reason why a faire actor, professional or not, might *not* 'drop accent'
> > as soon as faire closed, or even 3 hours after the last customer has
> > driven away, whether they stay fully in character or not. (There
> > is of course a difference between 'dropping accent' and 'dropping
> > character'.)
> [major snip]
>
> OK. Maybe I'm special, but I doubt that 30 of us were. We spent a summer
> in Mexico on scholarship, talking Spanish full time, 8 hours a day of
> classes five days a week. I DREAMED in Spanish.
>
> At the end of the summer, when the bus crossed the border into Texas, it
> was the first time alll summer any of us had spoken English. And no one
> had problems.

Many years ago, a group of us were goofing off behind scenes at NRPF...
Amoung other things, we were doing old Three Stooges bits, and trying to
see how we could adapt them for Festival (we call this R&D... rob and
develop). But backstage, we were doin Curly, Moe and Larry. Well, this
backfired, because I didn't put on my accent BEFORE I went out on stage...
I normally USED to do that in the first 30' out of the curtain, using the
sights and sounds to help me.

I stepped out from the curtain, and there were several patrons standing
RIGHT there, with their freind standing 10' away about to snap a photo with
the curtain as a backdrop. Well, seeing me, they asked "Can we take our
photo with you?". And without a hesitation, I replied;

"Why soitenly!!!" in a flawless Three Stooges Accent.

Nowadays I err on the side of using the accent a bit too often, rather than
increasing the risk of blowing it on stage. Sure, blowing it doesn't mean
festival will close, the sky won't fall, and the patrons won't refuse to
ever come back... but I blew it that time, and that wasn't good. I am
MORE professional than that. I am professional enough that I will risk
offending some hypersensitive craftspeople by accidentally making them
listen to BFA off hours rather than accidentally using modernisms onstage
and decreasing the ambiance of the on-stage experience of the patrons.
After all, our purpose is to entertain the patrons, not to behave
according to the wishes of the boothies.

Who knows... perhaps a little BFA might rub off on the craft people too...
lord knows, a lot of people need more practice.


-------.sig--------

My real mail address is t...@lead.aichem.arizona.edu
For some unknown reason, this newsreader occasionally puts the wrong mail
address on... *sigh*

Greg Bullough

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Feb 13, 1995, 3:59:50 PM2/13/95
to
In article <3hjcnh$c...@tpe.ncm.com> lea...@tpe.ncm.com (leather) writes:
> Greg Bullough <gr...@netcom.com> wrote:
>.
>>>generally accepted notion of "reality",
>.
>>I assume you mean 'generally accepted"="Leather's" here?
>.
>Haha, I know, you *do* assume a lot. I notice you have a problem with
>definitions, Greg: in another post (my reply to which was gobbled by the
>cyberdemons) you had a similar problem with the definition for
>"professional", which in my dictionary is primarily defined as
>"1.following an occupation as a means of livlihood". There is also a huge
>difference between doing something "for gain" and doing something for
>which one happens to get paid. If you have a few hudred dollars and a few
>hundred hours into something for which you make $10/day, you are not
>doing it "for gain".

Here's ol' leather, trotting out his 'what I do is a *business* and so
it is important, but you wind up losing money so your craft isn't
as valuable as mine' theorem again. Leather, it got you fried once before,
and you made peace with 'them.' Why do you persist in trotting it out?
I guess we're to believe that, at the root of it, you think that your gig
is more important than anyone elses.

>Back to the question at hand, thanks for assuming I have such power, but
>I don't really get to dictate what "generally accepted notions of
>reality" are. "Generally" is vague enough to allow some latitude. Do you
>really have no clue as to what I was saying?


I believe I understand clearly what you were saying...about the way
*you* look at the world and about your expectations of people who are
very different than you.

>>My goodness, aren't we ego-centric?
>I'd rather not be included in your self-assessment. Thanks for sharing, tho.

Here we go again... ...I suggest Leather open up his world-view a bit,
and he starts chasing his rhetorical tail.

>>Try this one on... ...if there are 500 people there, there are 500
>>versions of 'the reality of what a faire really is about.' As there
>>MUST be in order for it to come off. Otherwise, IT JUST WON'T WORK.
>>There's room for folks for whom it is all credit-cards and merchandise.
>>There's room for folks for whom it is a flight of fancy.
>>There's room for folks who wish to experiment (in context of a period)
>> with alternate personae.
>>There's room for folks who want to flex their musical or dramatic
>> muscles.
>.
>Well, I've said about all of this in several posts. Of course, you choose
>to snip/edit/ignore those parts.

I guess that's what's known as 'blowing hot and cold.'

> I mostly speak to broad issues, and you
>for some reason have decided to make it personal. In short, you only
>read/quote/reply to what you can find most personally offensive in my
>posts. You've missed all the broader points I've made.

On the contrary, I suggest that there are contrdictions between
what you say on one hand and how you apply that at a pesronal level,
on the other. If you say on one hand 'everyone is important' and then
on the other 'I won't talk to someone who doesn't drop character when
*I* deem it the right time' there is clearly a contradiction. If you
on the one hand that 'everyone important' but then explain how, by
virtue of your status as a businessman, you are closer to what it is
*really* all about, there is clearly a contradiction. If you talk about
'everyone is important' but then turn around and talk about dictating
things in the 'space that *we* build' with a clear indication that there is a
'not we' in the crowd, there is clearly a contradiction.

>>About the only folks there's nroom for are people who are afraid
>>of letting their world-view slip a cog or two, or who want to get
>>rich.
>.
>Hahaha, I was gonna delete this part, but it's perfect. So now *you* get
>to decide who is and isn't allowed?!

Nope. The phenomenon does. You don't get rich at Faire. And if you can't
suspend a bit of disbelief and cynicism, well, the place will be either
very uncomfortable or just seem really, really dumb.

But congratulations on your third attempt at projection in one post.

> Your first statement eliminates
>everyone *including* yourself, and your second eliminates the promoters,
>food providers, successful merchants, entertainers and everyone on down.
>Sure, blame the people who want to be "rich". That includes nearly
>everyone at faire (here, Greg, here's a billion, tax-free. Oh, you
>turned it down to work faire for peanuts?! How noble)...

Gee, and you accuse the 'lost children' of being off in the clouds! You
think you can get rich there? Oh dear, indeed.

>>> why should
>>>those people accept the "lost kids" who seem to be trying to live in a
>>>sword and sorcery novel?
>>
>>Because they're part of the 'magic,' without which it would be nothing
>>more than a 3rd-rate flea market (with real fleas)?
>.
>Hahaha... so now the lost kids are the entire entertainment program, much
^^^^^^

No. Read, man. 'part of' does not mean 'entire.'

>better suited to creating the "magic" of faire than professional actors,


No. No such thing was said. Only that they don't deserve being slagged
off.

>talented craftspeople and quality stage performers.... well, I'll take
>professionalism over some vague and subjective notion of "magic", Greg.

Somehow that statement doesn't surprise me. You and 'magic' seem to be
in different universes. Somehow, sandal-crafter seems poetically
appropriate.

Greg

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