Character Bios – Sylvia

Sylvia by AR Gurney Character Bios

Greg is an introverted upwardly mobile older man who rejects success in both life and relationships to pursue personal hobbies or goals without supervision. This reflects negatively on his ability to interact with others, both peers and superiors. He is clearly college educated, yet he missed on some of the more important facets of mandatory socialization both before university and afterwards; this was doubtless lost on children who are now substituted by his obsession with a dog and not his wife, who also displays serious breaks from psychological norms in her hatred of the imposition on their new life as well as her obsession with her own success.
While Greg is pleased with his wife’s success and capabilities, he is also dismally unable to show this or put her before his own neurotic needs. In conversation with others he combines the unfavorable traits of both being a showboat as well as one completely without connection or compliance to the interests and needs of those around him. Fortunately, this creates an insular sort of charm in his behavior: he is unabashed in his pathological behavior and it is clear that he does so without malevolent intent.
He is able without manipulation or tricks to resolve his conflict with his wife, though he displays a chronic absentmindedness and abstention from consideration of other’s wants or desires, even in the setting of professional counseling. This is compounded to such a level that the counselor advises Greg’s wife to shoot his dog and divorce him for every penny he has. Ultimately the trial and tribulation he introduces the family to proves to have a stabilizing effect and his wife finds her love for him stronger than the transient needs of her career or social circles.
Tom is a classic New York City dog owner. He has a story and a book to read for just about any subject, all of which reflect on his obsession with the canine variety. He comes off as a bit friendly, and makes it clear that his friendship has come at the expense of his own marriage, and he highly expects the same to occur with his social circle.
He is not one who lets another person get a word in. Much time spent conversing with dogs has turned his desire for human socialization off. Yet he still has the incentive to reach out to another dog-lover. He has a certain Ancient Mariner behavior which appears to be the result of severe opposition to his personal choices. By reaching out to Greg with his miserable tales of domestic addiction, he finds himself passing the curse, one he does not himself recognize, on.
Phyllis is a dominant, sarcastic Southerner who has moved to New York City and settled in well. She travels in powerful circles and harbors a powerful addiction to alcohol. She has no love for animals or people who behave like animals, yet her social life has become a bit endemic to boredom for her. She weaves intricacies of humor and occasionally demeaning statements, though it is clear her Southern and well-off upbringing restrain her from making directly rude or mean statements.
She is a member of a secret society which prohibits the use of alcohol, but is still easily triggered into substance use. Her liver is shot and she becomes wasted quickly and on demand; it is probable that she was a light-weight from a young age. Her husband sneaks off to the aquarium and takes baths with his goldfish, her utter abhorrence aside. It cannot be sure if this anecdote is one provided for the purpose of secretly making fun of her college friend’s predicament or is a true cry for help.
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Objectivism in Desire: a Reaction to Direction in Acting

Objectivism in Desire: a Reaction to Direction in Acting

Paul Fischer
Acting
7.8.2015
Objectivism in Desire: a Reaction to Direction in Acting
There is a break in the analysis of acting as the specificity of acting is brought into question. This is an indication of three primary objectives in obtaining “the golden key” or fundamental necessity towards social discovery by a player of the character they must develop or is necessitated in reproducing a specific set of qualities which buy, in capitalistic terminology, belief. A subdivision of the golden key, defined as wants, is created with the addition of the direction of this want to amplification and dependency on external response.
An objective is the system of wants experienced by a character; this is mentioned as a deference to Stanislavski, the famous professor of acting in the middle of the century. Different objectives in a scene are referred to as beats which are influenced in turn by individual characters, their wants. Somehow this reinforces the realism of a scene.
The focus must then move to that of the director from the actor. The director has two roles in rehearsal: persistence and persuasion. Both of these roles play into the director’s own duties, in which the objectives must be effectively painted and then execution elicited from actors or actresses by a variety of means. This is described as a quest.
The quest is predicated on a natural resistance on the behalf of the player towards assumption of a role which must be imposed upon them. Because the “actor tends to postpone choices that would cause him pain” and any departure from his normal stasis in personality is also painful, there must be a recognition that the process is by definition painful. The role of the director in persuasion is thus brought into full view. Rather than indicating or giving a representation of the character assigned, a player must be persuaded to experience the passion and inner life of their character.
Finally, duplicity in methods is tackled. There are lists of emotions, motivations, and experiences which are provided, but these are dismissed as irrelevant. By breaking these lists down to a simple necessity to fully immerse oneself in performance, the desires of the character, the duty of a director or an actor is both exposed as quite simple, and daunting. This single golden key to acting which is described as the character’s wants can be a duty which is frightening in nature.
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Within You, Without You: Honest Pursuit of Realistic Acting Techniques

Within You, Without You: Honest Pursuit of Realistic Acting Techniques

Paul Fischer
Acting
7.7.2015
Within You, Without You: Honest Pursuit of Realistic Acting Techniques
The aspects of acting necessary to creating a realistic performance are critical to effective communication and life. This can be seen in two primary components of an acting career. These are internal belief and external technique. By taking a subjective approach the actor’s viewpoint is used to direct the consciousness into a “real instrument” that can be used in the real world. Dissection of the methodology will be performed by evaluation of honesty and cognitive dissonance in acting.
Cognitive dissonance is a psychological term which at the time of the reading was relatively newly explored by modern psychological scientific experiments. By proving that once a person lied, it became a new reality for them. With time, repeating the innocuous mistruth would indeed prove to be the subject’s reality. It would be curious to see this repeated with modern, cheap, and readily available lie detectors, though some level of accuracy must be assumed from the statistical analysis of volunteer responses. This helps provide a demonstration of the proof: “separate acting from reality, therefore, is to diminish both.”
Yet more is necessary in the construction of such a proof. The glue that holds the pairing of reality and communication together is the function of the audience. The “apparently artificial presence of an audience” is described as perplexing for the paradoxes presented. This demonstrates the importance of honesty in the player; failure to create such a performance strikes them as deceptive. The definition which is critical here is that “interaction-for-an-audience we can simply call a performance.”
By integration of the facets described of acting a certain recipe is prepared in the reading: “success is achieved through study, struggle, preparation, infinite trial and error, training, discipline, experience and work.” The instrument which described acting earlier now manifests itself in acting power, described as an ultimate instrument of communication. While there are no consequences explicitly described for failure to adhere to integration of acting principles, the incentive to realize a characters role for actor and for audience can be described as a grail of sorts.
This works in conjunction with the psychological and scientific basis of what is asserted in the discourse. While the methodology is in necessity of replication with modern scientific means, the logical basis of the theses asserted have been shown to be reproducible and effective in both stage and film when used. For this work to be confounded would require an exceptional redefinition of both success and represent a drastic critique of academic integrity in the decades past. Replicating the research with modern science, however, will doubtless provide a unique and positive fine tuning of results which have already been acquired. What was available and dealt with here represents ability to change trends in audience and personal reaction; imagine being able to manipulate the amplitude of these trends.
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Emotion and Acting Theory Response

Emotion and Acting Theory Response

Paul Andreas Fischer
7/1/2015
Intro to Acting
With the domination Hollywood and Broadway on discourse about acting it is easy to forget historic recordings of acting methodology and study have existed for millennia. Even the staple of Shakespeare in high school curricula bras the ancient history of acting. Luckily at Patton High School I was able to perform a soliloquy as Agamemnon, a Greek king. At Burlington High School we read the Odyssey in English class, and this lesson highlights such poetic fusion of bard and actor.
This fusion as an inception or flashpoint at the issue of representation. In the lesson this is identified as typical of Diderot and “Renaissance Idealism”, which present a “strong rebellion against the ‘objective’ rationalism of Enlightenment thinking.” Does this show an evolution or devolution of the actor, the move from representation to playing? To resolve this fundamental question further evaluation of characterization will be necessary.
The characterization incorporates rational control into the methods necessitated for effective acting. This means a total control of the character, beyond simple emotion. From speech to movement, all become integrated into acting as espoused by Stanislavsky, who influenced no nation so greatly as the USA. He was cursed by contradiction, however, and the discovery of physical precision was marred by extensive early emphasis on emotion in acting.
The lesson provides, however, I believe a succinct and clear defense of Stanislavsky. By tracing the development of method acting, or living the life of the characters, from Stanislavsky and later Strasberg in New York to ancient debates over 2,000 years old of the role of emotion in acting, the method is spared from accusations of a break in academic integrity or logical rationale. The perpetrators of this train of thought are quite clearly guilty of a break or at least late communication with their archeological, philosophical, or historical academic departments; the paradox Stanislavsky had spent his career elaborating had already been precisely identified in discourse between Socrates and Ion.
After exposing this duplicity in academic procedures, what is left to be made of the “apparently inexhaustible combat between technique and inspiration in performance theory” is a question of considerable heft. In conclusion the lesson refers to the work of the head and the heart. The extension naturally would be the hands. To quote Metropolis, “the heart is the mediator between the head and the hands.” In sum, the next critical acting components are the social and political implications of the acting. The impact of the actor not just on self and the audience, but upon the society which receives the values and beliefs, sarcasm and earnest of the play.
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Hagen and Substitution: a Particular Reaction

Hagen and Substitution: a Particular Reaction

Paul Andreas Fischer
Acting
6/28/2015
Hagen and Substitution: a Particular Reaction
Hagen seems to use “self-discovery” as a means of subverting self-actualization. “There is much in a creative process that is almost intangibly real and mysterious – why compound the felony and make it more so?” she asks in conclusion. The use of substitution will, she claims, make it easier for an actor or actress to assume roles that would otherwise confound their natural instincts and require enormous efforts of preparation and research in order to demonstrate. Yet particularization “is an essential for everything in acting” and this means adding imagination and unique peculiarities to the setting which would not otherwise be provided.
In doing so, the roles become reversed and the character may assume a dominant position; the director will learn how to shape the scene from the inventive tropes created by this event. Rather than losing themselves, the character finds themselves at the expense of the control normally exerted by the director. This benefits both parties; a director obsessed with minutiae is an invitation for demagoguery and a character who has been imposed upon too extensively will lose their hold on reality.
Whether such substitution is necessary for a scene which already feels real, Hagen makes it very clear that the answer is certainly not. “If it is real, you have already made the substitution.” This could be found to be contradictory to the suggestion of use of the technique to use words one is uncomfortable with: by simply imagining them to be another forceful word, and using this emphasis to correctly execute the line. The fact is that this disrupts a certain characterization of social order in the acting process by necessitating a breach of honesty between the actor and the audience which will undoubtably penetrate into other aspects of the acting experience.
Superficial behavior also plays into the sociological evaluation of acting and this is a distinction which is not properly addressed, though as mentioned before may be touched upon here. An excellent discourse in use of substitution to promote empathy between the audience and the character in a manner unsolicited by “normal” procedures, or impossible with a player’s general experiences or research capacities is unfortunately sandwiched by such light use and indeed the most tricky use of substitution with expletives or simple setting examples. It can be said certainly that while portraying Othello, an ancient character steeped in historical nuance not available to researchers today, substitution effects may be directly argued to be indeed necessary, that in the event of a torrential rain or expletive, it is preferable to simply experience the event personally and innovate methodologies of acting simply by means of traditional preparation and research.
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Character Observation

Character Observation

Paul Fischer
Acting
Character Observation
Salome is a 30 year old PhD student of silent era Soviet films. Her nationality is Georgia which puts her close to the source films she studies and researches. She is a chain smoker who quit drinking alcohol after a car accident some years ago. When she was younger she smoked from a wooden pipe. Her bag of Turkish tobacco blended in Scandinavia and grown in Georgia, brand name Bugler, is mixed with sand from an adventure at North Beach, but she smokes it anyway; it is unlikely she will be able to use it on the long plane trip which awaits her shortly across the Atlantic and the price of tobacco in her home is only a fraction of the cost here, though the quality is rather similar.
At home she has a swimming pool and expects that after a few weeks she will again become tired of her regular life there but must defend her thesis and prepare for teaching and other endeavors which are endemic of an academic’s life, even in a less developed nation. One thing she has noticed of particular interest in Burlington is the chocolate shop and long walks along the waterfront. When one points out the mafia graffiti which is used to encrypt messages of particular times and locations for the transfer of illegal narcotics, prostitutes, and firearms, she smiles and asks if this is something that has also been learned in a history class.
She has a slight build and an intelligent face and eyes, and mosquito bites are apparent across her legs, which is confirmation of her extensive time spent outdoors here in Vermont. After introduction to a tall black man named Joe she reluctantly shakes his hand and seems to blush or turn her head as if it is the first conversation with an African American she has had. She loved taking pictures, of boats and pillboxes (concrete structures which can be easily converted for the purpose of housing machine gun nests) as well as the spectacle of a sword and fire eater on Church Street.
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