From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The word actor
refers to a person who acts regardless of sex, while actress
refers specifically to a female person who acts; therefore a female can be referred to by either term. The Oxford English Dictionary
states that originally "actor" was used for both sexes. The English word actress
does not derive from the Latin actrix
, probably not even by way of French actrice
; according to the Oxford English Dictionary, actress
was "probably formed independently" in English. As actress
is a specifically feminine word, some groups assert that the word is sexist. Gender-neutral usage of actor
has re-emerged in modern English,
especially when referring to male and female performers collectively, but actress
remains the common term used in major acting awards given to female recipients and is common in general usage.
The gender-neutral term player
was common in film in the early days of the Production Code
, but is now generally deemed archaic
. However, it remains in use in the theatre, often incorporated into the name of a theatre group or company (such as the East West Players
The first recorded case of an actor performing took place in 534 BC (though the changes in calendar over the years make it hard to determine exactly) when the Greek
stepped on to the stage at the Theatre Dionysus
and became the first known person to speak words as a character in a play or story. Prior to Thespis' act, stories were only known to be told in song
and dance and in third person
narrative. In honour of Thespis, actors are commonly called Thespians
. Theatrical legend to this day maintains that Thespis exists as a mischievous spirit, and disasters in the theatre are sometimes blamed on his ghostly
Actors were traditionally not people of high status, and in the Early Middle Ages
travelling acting troupes were often viewed with distrust. In many parts of Europe, actors could not even receive a Christian burial, and traditional beliefs of the region and time period held that this left any actor forever condemned. However, this negative perception was largely reversed in the 19th and 20th centuries as acting has become an honoured and popular profession and art.
Main article: Method acting
Method acting is a technique developed from the acting "system"
created in the early 20th century
by Constantin Stanislavski
in his work at the Moscow Art Theatre
and its studios. .^ Location: Manhattan Beach Studios, New York City Label: [radio broadcast] Marian McPartland (ldr) , Kenny Barron, Marian McPartland (p) .
^ Date: February 17-19, 1998 Location: Avatar Studios, New York City Label: GRP/Impulse!
^ Date: February 13, 1981 Location: RCA Studio C, New York City Label: Xanadu Kenny Barron (ldr) , Kenny Barron (p) .
In Stanislavski's "system" the actor analyses deeply the motivations and emotions of the character in order to personify him or her with psychological realism and emotional authenticity. Using the Method, an actor recalls emotions or reactions from his or her own life and uses them to identify with the character being portrayed.
Method actors are often characterized as immersing themselves so totally in their characters that they continue to portray them even off-stage or off-camera for the duration of the project. However, this is a popular misconception. While some actors do employ this approach, it is generally not taught as part of the Method. Stella Adler
, who was a member of the Group Theatre, along with Strasberg, emphasised a different approach of using creative imagination.
Method acting offered a systematized training that developed internal abilities (sensory, psychological, emotional); it revolutionized American theater
Presentational and representational acting
.^ Yoda and Mace Windu look to each other and both blast out with the Force, carving a row between the horde of droids.
- Uber Star Wars - Episode II: Rise of the Empire 18 January 2010 15:23 UTC swiftbow.com [Source type: Original source]
(Shakespeare's use of punning
, for example, often has this function of indirect contact.)
In representational acting, "actors want to make us "believe" they are the character; they pretend."
The illusion of the fourth wall with the audience as voyeurs is striven for.
As opposite gender
In the past, only men could become actors in some societies. In the ancient Greece and Rome
and the medieval world
, it was considered disgraceful for a woman to go on the stage, and this belief continued right up until the 17th century, when in Venice
it was broken. In the time of William Shakespeare
, women's roles were generally played by men or boys.
An eighteen year Puritan
prohibition of drama
was lifted after the English Restoration
of 1660, women began to appear on stage in England. Margaret Hughes
is credited by some as the first professional actress on the English stage.
This prohibition ended during the reign of Charles II
in part due to the fact that he enjoyed watching actresses on stage.
The first occurrence of the term actress
was in 1700 according to the OED
and is ascribed to Dryden
, men (onnagata
) took over the female roles in kabuki
theatre when women were banned from performing on stage during the Edo period
. This convention has continued to the present. .^ Genus may play electric bass on some or all selections - details needed.
- ^ "Actor: Job description and activities". Prospects UK. http://www.prospects.ac.uk/cms/ShowPage/Home_page/Explore_types_of_jobs/Types_of_Job/p!eipaL?state=showocc&pageno=1&idno=465. Retrieved 2009-02-12.
- ^ Hypokrites (related to our word for hypocrite) also means, less often, "to answer" the tragic chorus. See Weimann (1978, 2); see also Csapo and Slater, who offer translations of classical source material that utilises the term hypocrisis (acting) (1994, 257, 265–267).
- ^ This is true whether the character than an actor plays is based on a real person or a fictional one, even themselves (when the actor is 'playing themselves,' as in some forms of experimental performance art, or, more commonly, as in John Malkovich's performance in the film Being John Malkovich); to act is to create a character in performance: "The dramatic world can be extended to include the 'author', the 'audience' and even the 'theatre'; but these remain 'possible' surrogates, not the 'actual' referents as such" (Elam 1980, 110).
- ^ dictionary.com actor retrieved 13 November 2007
- ^ a b Linden, Sheri (18 January 2009). "From actor to actress and back again". Entertainment. Los Angeles Times. http://articles.latimes.com/2009/jan/18/entertainment/ca-actress18. Retrieved 2009-03-14. "It would be several decades before the word "actress" appeared -- 1700, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, more than a century after the word "actor" was first used to denote a theatrical performer, supplanting the less professional-sounding "player.""
- ^ Wilmeth, Don B.; Bigsby, C.W.E. (1998). The Cambridge history of American theatre. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press. pp. 449–450. ISBN 978-0-521-65179-0.
- ^ Hornby, Richard (4 May 1987). "Where the Gurus of Method Acting Part". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/1987/05/04/opinion/l-where-the-gurus-of-method-acting-part-811787.html. Retrieved 2009-03-28.
- ^ Flint, Peter B. (22 December 1992). "Stella Adler, 91, an Actress And Teacher of the Method". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/1992/12/22/obituaries/stella-adler-91-an-actress-and-teacher-of-the-method.html. Retrieved 2009-03-28.
- ^ a b Trumbull, Dr. Eric W. "Introduction to Theatre -- The Actor". novaonline.nv.cc.va.us. http://novaonline.nv.cc.va.us/eli/spd130et/acting.htm#rep. Retrieved 2009-03-28.
- ^ Field, Mary. "What is the Theatre?" (rtf). Shared Learning Objects. Mid South Community College. http://learn.midsouthcc.edu/LearningObjects/Fine%20Arts%20Theatre/rtfs/whatisthetheatre.rtf. Retrieved 2009-03-28.
- ^ Women Actors in Ancient Rome 27 December 2002, BBC
- ^ Neziroski, Lirim (2003). "narrative, lyric, drama". Theories of Media :: Keywords Glossary :: multimedia. University of Chicago. http://csmt.uchicago.edu/glossary2004/narrativelyricdrama.htm. Retrieved 2009-03-14. "For example, until the late 1600s, audiences were opposed to seeing women on stage, because they believed it reduced them to the status of showgirls and prostitutes. Even Shakespeare's plays were performed by boys dressed in drag."
- ^ Smallweed (23 July 2005). "Smallweed". The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,,1534673,00.html. Retrieved 2009-03-14. ""Whereas women's parts in plays have hitherto been acted by men in the habits of women ... we do permit and give leave for the time to come that all women's parts be acted by women," Charles II ordained in 1662. According to Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, the first actress to exploit this new freedom was Margaret Hughes, as Desdemona in Othello on December 8, 1660."
- ^ "Women as actresses". Notes and Queries. The New York Times. 18 October 1885. http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=980CEED7153FE533A2575BC1A9669D94649FD7CF. Retrieved 2009-03-14. "There seems no doubt that actresses did not perform on the stage till the Restoration, in the earliest years of which Pepys says for the first time he saw an actress upon the stage. Charles II, must have brought the usage from the Continent, where women had long been employed instead of boys or youths in the representation of female characters."
- Csapo, Eric, and William J. Slater. 1994. The Context of Ancient Drama. Ann Arbor: The U of Michigan P. ISBN 0472082752.
- Elam, Keir. 1980. The Semiotics of Theatre and Drama. New Accents Ser. London and New York: Methuen. ISBN 0416720609.
- Weimann, Robert. 1978. Shakespeare and the Popular Tradition in the Theater: Studies in the Social Dimension of Dramatic Form and Function. Ed. Robert Schwartz. Baltimore and London: The John Hopkins University Press. ISBN 0801835062.
.^ Broadcast on German television and Swiss radio.
^ Television and radio broadcasts exist with different selections included.
British Actors' Equity: a trade union representing UK artists, including actors, singers, dancers, choreographers, stage managers, theatre directors and designers, variety and circus artists, television and radio presenters, walk-on and supporting artists, stunt performers and directors and theatre fight directors.
Media Entertainment & Arts Alliance: an Australian/New Zealand trade union representing everyone in the media, entertainment, sports, and arts industries.
Screen Actors Guild (SAG): a union representing U. S. film and TV actors.