We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. By continuing we’ll assume you’re on board with our cookie policy

Myths Into Performance; Difference Between Showing and Doing

The whole doc is available only for registered users

A limited time offer! Get a custom sample essay written according to your requirements urgent 3h delivery guaranteed

Order Now


            Singers, actors, dancers, musicians, and comedians performing for live (or televised) audiences watching the show for the first time rehearsed acts repetitively until boredom. After repeating the dance, song, or act hundreds of times, performers easily acquire the habit of showing they are reading the lines, instead of acting the part, showing choreography instead of dancing, or showing they are playing musical notes, instead of playing an instrument.  The main purpose of classroom technique, vocal training for speaking or singing performers, or physical training for dancers or stunt people, is to expand durations of their working careers without bodily or vocal injuries.

Performing and Technical Skills are Not Always Equaled:

            Almost all artists will deny any formal training. Many long lasting artists, in any discipline received formal training. General audiences usually know nothing about technique, nor do they care about technique. Casting directors and producers usually do not know or care about singing or dance technical training. Producers asking about actors formal training are actually testing performing skills.

Shows are so expensive to produce, they do not have time, money or patience to be concerned about training. At auditions, producers are only interested if the performer can entertain and hold audiences, and ability to work while fatigued without displaying discomfort to the audience. Is this performer going to make the show work? Performers who captures and keeps audiences attention is hired faster than the Mozart or Baryshnikov student.

            Performers technical skills do not automatically mean their performing skills are equivalent. Showing technical skills and doing or performing skills are two totally different abilities. A musical entertainer hitting all the notes correctly or an actor memorizing lines in their sleep, does not necessarily mean their performances are connecting to the audience. Audiences quickly lose story line of shows if the performers cannot connect with them. Performers concentrating on technique perform into themselves. Audiences are unmoved by the performance if the entertainers are only showing the rehearsed acts. Some directors make actors improvise which encourages performers to perform instead of show rehearsed behavior.

Richard Schechner :

            Schechner started producing in the early 70’s, whom impacted African American Rights Movement and political and social changes.  “Schechner is one of the few people working in western theater who has the experience and knowledge of theater in cultures and can make connections between cultures all over the world” (Richard Schechner ’56 Promotes a New World of Performance Studies, 2002). He studied many different cultures, combining different acting and directing styles.

His interests and specialty lied in political or true to life theatre. People studying human behavior can learn extensively through Richard Schechner’s works. Schechner’s developments most likely influenced what we know today as reality television shows. The only written text serves as a guideline for actors to remember to emphasize certain points. For the most part, the actors are presenting their true emotions, feelings, and what they really believe in. According to Schechner, “On stage, as in life, there is no right way or wrong way, only what works and what doesn’t” (Richard Schechner, 2002).

Richard Schechner influenced actor and writer, Spalding Gray. Gray apparently lived an unusual, hard life. He wished not to hide or sugarcoat his experiences as an actor. “One of his major achievements was the reworking of his own life as a tragic-comic road movie in which he stars as a perpetual innocent abroad, revealing elemental truths in spite of himself and evoking situations in which almost anyone can imagine finding themselves” (Spalding Gray, 2004).  By the time Gray had enough of being forced to re-enact fake emotions, instead of his true emotions, he met Schechner. Gray was impressed with Schechner’s acting and directing style.

  Playing characters demands fictitious emotions from the actors coming across onstage. Of course, everyone realizes, or they should realize, an actress playing a role on television is not his or her true behavior. Actors have a choice of which roles they will audition for, but have no choice of text or scripts written into the character. To some extent, almost all plays or movies are changed from the original version.  The emotions and message coming across stays the same through reproductions of plays or shows. Schechner wanted to leave the emotions or images left up to the performer. Gray was impressed with Schechner because he encouraged Gray to “be myself first,” before acting a role or taking a character.


            Richard Schechner’s acting directions most definitely involves improvisation. Improvisation means performers makes content up as they perform it onstage. Group or duo performances obviously requires different techniques than improvising soloists. Any performer or directors knows any thing can go wrong on stage during a live performance. Most common mistakes are predicted, and back up emergency plans are available. Part of performers training involves thinking on the spot, or covering up mistakes. During performances, is when the performers true abilities are displayed.

            Performers style, abilities, emotions and their subconscious beliefs are revealed and on public display during performances in front of live audiences. Unless a performer is born into the entertainment industry, they find this out the first time they ever go on stage. Their face may freeze or lock into a fake smile they are not aware of, forget to smile, eyes or breathing can portray fear, act separate from the character or dance separate from the music. The fear, the emotions, worrying the actor portrays while performing always feelings they are not even consciously aware of, but a display of their true beliefs.

Before a performer goes onstage, they may not even consciously know they are nervous. Once they start performing, it comes out. Richard Schechner taught his actors facial expressions, muscle movements, voice projections should be natural, not an automatic forgotten gesture, while concentrating on technique. If an actor pretends his or her nervousness is written into the act, the audience will assume that is a great actor. This theory may work just as well on the positive side. More often than not, when put under pressure, it is the emotions the person wants to hide that comes through.

Political Influences Restrict Performing Abilities:

            The productions direction is going to go the way the people paying for the show, or its sponsors wants it to go. The production is made to advertise and sell what the sponsors want. That is understandable. One mishap can throw the entire performance off. It is the same theory as lying. Actors forgetting their lines can throw off the entire message of the show. The more pressure put on directors and stage show managers, the greater the risk for emergencies or mishaps to occur.

Performers main job is to entertain audiences. Entertaining audiences attracts repeated crowds more than showing a perfectly rehearsed act. Entertaining means put on a great show throughout the length of the performance the audience paid to see, regardless of any unexpected occurrences, within reason. The show must go on, no matter what. A great show moves the emotions of audiences.  Schechner’s  instructions to his cast was clear; Go out there and put on an entertaining show, the details are up to the performers discretion. His directions may not be directly like that, but along the same lines.

            Improvisations allow expressionism. Entertainer’s whose facial expressions freezes up onstage is not being expressive. Acting skills allows singers, dancers and comedians to make writers scripts, music and dance steps come alive. “There has been an increasing trend in opera generally to prevent singers acting. Great expressionistic acting of opera was demanded 15 years ago.

Now designers are getting stronger and singers are up against more physical restrictions. One director said, I don’t ever want to see any expressionistic acting ever again” (How I would Direct Wagner’s Ring, 2007).  A directors motive for such rigid instructions is more likely than not influenced by the organization paying the bills. The product, the costumes, songs, or anything else that may be advertised is to emphasized, not the performers talents. Very little financing of the shows come from ticket sales.


            Onstage performers who are expressive and entertaining can make the scripts, music, or choreography come alive and jump out at the audience. Performers who go through moves without expressions accomplish the same thing as a performing robot. By the time any performer brings the acts onstage in front of live audiences, the routine has become very monotonous to that person. Expressions, emotions, and connecting with the audiences makes the difference between boring the audience and entertaining the audience. Mechanical machines can perform or show rehearsed acts. Putting on a great performance demands actors who can do, or sing, or dance or act the scripts.                         



Crawford, Franklin. “Richard Schechner ’56 Promotes a New World of Performance Studies.” Cornell Chronicle 31 January 2002 Ithaca, New York accessed 9 October 2007


Editorial “Classical Star; The Next Generation Tunes up for Stardom”  Telegraph.CO.UK

11 October 2007 (United Kingdom) Accessed 11 October 2007


Editorial “Influential Drama Theorist, Richard Schechner” New York State Writers Institute; Department of Theatre. Standard Publishing Date (Albany New York) Date accessed 9 October 2007


Editorial “Spalding Gray” Telegraph. CO.UK 3 September 2004 (United Kingdom) Accessed 10 October 2007


Tomlinson, John. “How I Would Direct a Wagners Ring” Telegraph.CO.UK 26 September 2007) United Kingdom. Date accessed 10 October 2007


Related Topics

We can write a custom essay

According to Your Specific Requirements

Order an essay
Materials Daily
100,000+ Subjects
2000+ Topics
Free Plagiarism
All Materials
are Cataloged Well

Sorry, but copying text is forbidden on this website. If you need this or any other sample, we can send it to you via email.

By clicking "SEND", you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy. We'll occasionally send you account related and promo emails.
Sorry, but only registered users have full access

How about getting this access

Your Answer Is Very Helpful For Us
Thank You A Lot!


Emma Taylor


Hi there!
Would you like to get such a paper?
How about getting a customized one?

Can't find What you were Looking for?

Get access to our huge, continuously updated knowledge base

The next update will be in:
14 : 59 : 59