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Topic: How long can you keep it up?
Message: Posted by: gsidhe (Sep 6, 2007 10:54AM)
Your character that is.
Working period venues (Like my main stomping grounds, the Ren Faire circuit) can mean hours and hours without breaking character. Frequently, from the time the faire opens on Saturday Morning all the way until tear down on Sunday night, I am in character. Some of the pirate fests are even worse because they go from 10 AM until 2 AM, Friday evening through late Sunday evening. You are in the public eye at all times, even on breaks.
Even when all the patrons are gone, the dialect sticks. It seems to be more of a bother to drop it, and then ramp it up again. It is easier to just keep it.
It is kind of like being in a live (sur)reality show. Someone is always watching.
What is the longest that you have had to maintain a period character?
For me...It is about 2 1/2 days.
It was one of the best paying shows I have ever had, but overall completely exhausting. By maintaining character, I mean full dress, dialect and habits/mannerisms.
Just curious,
Gwyd
Message: Posted by: Silly Walter the Polar Bear (Sep 6, 2007 09:22PM)
Catchy thread title. Imagine my disappointment when I read the rest of it. Seriously, it's hard to stay in character for any real length of time, at least it is for me. 2 1/2 days may not be the record, but it is impressive nonetheless.

I know some actors maintain character for weeks at a time, but most of them are nuts anyways.
Message: Posted by: rickmagic1 (Sep 9, 2007 12:58AM)
I've done Civil War reenactments doing the same thing...in my 1860's clothes all day! And wool gets itchy in 90* weather!
Message: Posted by: Big Daddy Cool (Sep 9, 2007 05:43PM)
Same thing for me Gwyd. Actually Big Daddy Cool has so spilled over into my 24/7 life that I am the character more than I am not. Only my close friends and family really ever see the "real" John.
Message: Posted by: Professor Piper (Sep 9, 2007 10:34PM)
I've been "Professor Piper" since 1993...

I don't really know who I am anymore...

I'm told I was once relatively sane.

I couldn't tell you, I 'checked out' a while back.

Prof. Piper
(The worlds only: Singing, Juggling, Fire-Breathing, Magical, Ventriloquizing, Chef)
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Oct 17, 2007 04:47AM)
I was in Nashville a couple of years ago. I saw the Real John. It was next to the bar, near the back of the restaurant.
Message: Posted by: SpellbinderEntertainment (Oct 24, 2007 05:25PM)
Great topic!

Well, the President of the United States has to keep his character going 24/7 for about four years (eight if he’s got a good character going).

The Marx Brothers rarely fell out of character.

For me the trick to keep from committing suicide
(in character of course)
is the word “persona”.

The difference for me being that a full-on character (as I might elect for a play) is very far from me, in personality, habits, age, voice.. even perhaps height, weight, or gender.

It’s hard to keep going with all that after the curtain falls.

With a Persona, you are taking aspects of your own personality and physicality and magnifying some traits and minimizing other traits.

So at the core, there is still some “truth” of who you are as a human-being still evident, just shifted around.

Even if one persona might be farther afield than another, it is easier to play parts of you for an extended period of time, than something that is totally far from you for a long period.

This also brings up practical considerations, like designing costumes and maybe wigs that are “you” as well as your character/persona feel good wearing, so you are comfortable and feel somewhat natural living in them hour after hour or day after day.

Some of the old-time greats never let down their guard for a moment,
some celebrities today do the same.

I guess, if you’re “inventing” a new skin to wear and live in on stage,
make sure it fits and is comfortable for extended wear.

Magically,
Walt
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Nov 10, 2007 12:27AM)
Staying in character is like anything else that you do as a performer. The more you do it, the better you get at it.

One trick that you can use is this. Find an article of clothing that is part of what your character wears. Make a mental association of that with your character. You will find that you can put your character on or off with that article of clothing.

You don't have to be in character when there are no patrons in the park or at the show. Once the gates are closed, you can become yourself again. The exception is the reenactor who is in character during the entire event. But, even then, you do sleep, don't you? ;)
Message: Posted by: Philip Hilton (Nov 11, 2007 08:41AM)
I find a lot depends on where you are and I do remember years ago when I was part of a non magical comedy duo, we did a Laurel & Hardy tribute act and we would stay in character for days on end. As has been said, at times it was easier being our characters Stan and Ollie that it was being ourselves, which is a bit odd I must admit lol, never said I was normal Yuk! What an awful thought. I think as long as you believe in your character, it will become a part of you for those moments you need to clothe yourself in it.
Cheers Phil
Message: Posted by: Mick Ayres (Dec 7, 2007 08:28PM)
For some time, I have been performing in character full-time for the Walt Disney Company at their vacation resort on Hilton Head Island. In 2000, I created a character named 'Blue' who is an "island codger" (a soft-spoken but opinionated southern gentleman that looks like he just came in from fishing in a nearby creek). Disney bit the hook...so Blue has been blending tall tales, traditional music, magic and mentalism in a way that the Disney guests have come to love (my contract was just renewed for the eighth year, so it's working so far).

'Blue' has become such a part of my everyday life that, in a very real sense, I find it difficult to NOT bring 'Blue' home with me. Fortunately, there's plenty of overlap between my character-role and the real me...so this isn't quite as creepy as it might seem at first glance. From what I'm reading on this thread, I ain't alone in this dilemma.

Glad to be in y'all's company, gentlemen...

Best,
Mick Ayres

PS: By the way, Mr. Palmer, my article of clothing is a straw plantation hat...works like, well--magic.
Message: Posted by: ERIC (Feb 28, 2008 12:33PM)
[quote]
Fortunately, there's plenty of overlap between my character-role and the real me...
[/quote]
I think therein lies the key. The closer your character is to YOU, the easier it is. There is a reason that we tell newbies to "Be yourself" or to "find one aspect of your personality and embellish it." That is what "Finding your character" is all about.

True alter egos are harder I think.
Message: Posted by: magicwatcher2005 (Mar 10, 2008 07:01PM)
I was taught that your best character is just a amplified vesion of yourself.
Message: Posted by: Bill Fienning (Mar 29, 2008 11:38PM)
The late Tony Andruzzi played the Andruzzi character 24/7. I would have asked a magician-friend who knew him as Tom Palmer if he ever slipped out of the Andruzzi character, but he died several years ago.
Message: Posted by: QED (May 1, 2008 05:10PM)
I find it a bit odd that nobody has mentioned Chung Ling Soo in this conversation, who played the part so well that nobody doubted who he was until he died.
Message: Posted by: Danny Archer (Sep 16, 2008 09:30PM)
My character is a tough guy from South Philly (Gino Mozzarell). I can stay in character as long as the gig lasts, at least so far.

For me the hardest part was learning to ad lib in character.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Oct 6, 2008 12:00AM)
[quote]
On 2008-03-29 23:38, Bill Fienning wrote:
The late Tony Andruzzi played the Andruzzi character 24/7. I would have asked a magician-friend who knew him as Tom Palmer if he ever slipped out of the Andruzzi character, but he died several years ago.
[/quote]
I think that was the only time Andruzzi slipped out of character.
[quote]
On 2008-09-16 21:30, Danny Archer wrote:
My character is a tough guy from South Philly (Gino Mozzarell) ...
I can stay in character as long as the gig lasts... at least so far...

for me the hardest part was learning to ad lib in charcter...
[/quote]
This is an interesting thing. Once you get into character, let your character write your lines.
Message: Posted by: Big Daddy Cool (Feb 27, 2009 10:04AM)
So, this may be a good place to bring this out. My friend Jason recently shared this thought with me... We create characters everyday. We put on masks and play roles in our real lives. In a job interview we assume aspects of our personality we was to emphasis. In sales meetings with clients, we play a role. On a date we make a concerted effort to only show the positive parts of our personality. As husbands/wives, as brothers/sisters, as partents/children we all play different roles.

The more I have thought about it, the more I have realized it to be true. You are who you want to be.
Message: Posted by: critter (Feb 27, 2009 12:38PM)
In psychology there is a lot of discussion between who you think you are, who others think you are, and who you really are.
Message: Posted by: MagiUlysses (Feb 28, 2009 02:19PM)
Greetings and Salutations,

BDC, Erving Goffman first proposed your friend's theory in the late 50s -- the Presentation of Self, which is basically what your friend said. To wit, we all play roles, and on any give day we can play multiple parts. Or, as Shakespeare wrote: "All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts …" – Jaques, As You Like It, Act 2, Scene 7, 139–143 (Macrone, 1990)

I wrote a term paper on the subject last semester and this semester I am turning it into a research paper as part of my Master's work. It's a clever way of analyzing communication and interaction, where Goffman compares human intercourse (that's a master's term for interaction), to actors on the stage.

Endlessly fascinating!

Wow! I sort of feel like Racherbaumer!

Joe Zeman aka
The Mage Ulysses
Message: Posted by: critter (Mar 4, 2009 11:24AM)
It all goes back to Freuds notion of Ego though, doesn't it?
Message: Posted by: Big Daddy Cool (Mar 4, 2009 12:42PM)
[quote]
On 2008-09-16 21:30, Danny Archer wrote:
My character is a tough guy from South Philly (Gino Mozzarell). I can stay in character as long as the gig lasts, at least so far.

For me the hardest part was learning to ad lib in character.
[/quote]
Danny, that was the easiest part for me...

What ultimately helped you or what "clicked" with you to help you learn this?

BTW, I think BDC and Gino need to get together some time...
Message: Posted by: MagiUlysses (Mar 4, 2009 02:36PM)
Greeting and Salutations Critter,

No in any of the research that I've come across but it's an interesting idea.

Joe Zeman aka
The Mage Ulysses
Message: Posted by: critter (Mar 4, 2009 06:17PM)
I think that any identity issues have to be traced back, ultimately, to the Ego as defined by Freud.
Whether filtered through Erickson, Jung, whatever, self identity and masks always go back to this root.
At least, that's how I see it.
Message: Posted by: thegreatnippulini (Apr 21, 2009 10:04AM)
The Great Nippulini is actually a retired sideshow performer who only exists onstage. I on the other hand own The Great Nippulini as a business (this gets interesting... pay attention). If you (Joe Schmoe working as the Great Zamboni) owns a BUSINESS and registers the ficticious name, you can open a business account at any bank. Now, let's say Joe Schmoe here wants to keep his personal life as it is; personal. Joe does a major show and earns 4 digits (how lucky is Joe). Now Joe here can request that the check be written to the Great Zamboni as it is not HIM, but a business venture. Now this may bring up more questions, including our friends at the IRS. (It gets better), be able to prove that your "business" has earned less than the company spends for four years and your business technically becomes a hobby and is therefore tax free.

Am I the Great Nippulini? Only onstage. Do I own the Great Nippulini? For the rest of my life I will (as a hobby, tax free).
Message: Posted by: jasonmcconnie (Dec 15, 2011 01:19AM)
It's fun and lucrative to play magical characters but I must agree with magicwatcher2005;
[quote]
On 2008-03-10 19:01, magicwatcher2005 wrote:
I was taught that your best character is just an amplified version of yourself.
[/quote]
The timing and nuances you have learned must be adapted to the character you are playing. It requires dividing your attention even further. Definitely more challenging.
Message: Posted by: jugglestruck (Jan 30, 2012 08:28AM)
At a juggling convention I once saw a New Zealander called Rumplestiltskin start his show at 7.00pm. He is a very wacky performer, manic and hypnotic. Most of the audience went to bed at about midnight and he was still going.....they got up and watched him the next day until about 4.00pm. He even went to the toilet in a dustbin on stage.....
He is quite famous for doing this!
Message: Posted by: superpixel (Feb 11, 2012 10:41AM)
Thanks for this thread, I'm about to tour with a hardcore Harry Potter rap band (yes, put those together and such a thing exists, and isn't even that rare -- look up "nerdcore") and I'm developing a wizard character that is slightly different than my normal persona. A bit darker, but still a smara$$. From my days in the theater I've found that establishing a specific look and backstory help a LOT. I had to do a lot of discussion with the band, too, and found out that while on tour we may be mingling before/after with the crowd, and I'll be in character than as well. And if someone wants to see something close up... boom.

But I also agree that the best characters will be modifications/amplifications of yourself. I have a bit of Ron Weasley's snark, so that is helpful ;) But my character is somewhat haunted by the past, like Sirius Black. I was going to play even darker, but thankfully that's not what the band wants. The "show" sort of presumes everyone in the audience is a wizard, not a muggle.

Anyway, I agree that if your character is so far afield from your own self you are going to have to work that much harder to nail the performance, on TOP of the technical aspects of the magic...
And that Rumplestiltskin cat sounds like a ball of lightning!
Message: Posted by: Jim Sparx (Mar 1, 2012 10:23AM)
My wife thinks I'm a pain in the arse 24/7...
During my strip club touring days in the sixties I was in character even when I had a day off. I think it began in grade school, through college and graduate school playing the class clown. Even now when I walk through the women's section at Walmart I have a squeaker in my mouth and I'll squeeze a brassiere while making the squeaker sound. I always do this when there is a large crowd of shoppers in that section. The Mexican women thinks it is hilarious. The wife refuses to talk to me unless she is telling me to do something. Life is fun and it is to be enjoyed. Be in character 24/7 (unless your psychotic).
Message: Posted by: Jim Sparx (Mar 6, 2012 12:41PM)
[quote]
On 2009-02-27 10:04, Big Daddy Cool wrote:
The more I have thought about it, the more I have realized it to be true. You are who you want to be.
[/quote]

Also, according to my cats and dogs, you are what you smell like.
Message: Posted by: Motley Mage (May 1, 2012 04:01PM)
[quote]
On 2007-12-07 20:28, Mick Ayres wrote:
For some time, I have been performing in character full-time for the Walt Disney Company at their vacation resort on Hilton Head Island. In 2000, I created a character named 'Blue' who is an "island codger" (a soft-spoken but opinionated southern gentleman that looks like he just came in from fishing in a nearby creek).

Howdy, Mick--I do hope you are still roaming about the tidewater flats up that way. (And still on the Café.)

My family and I had the pleasure of spending an evening listening to Mr. Blue (or B'Lou) Crabbe spin tales at Hilton Head a number of years ago. The next day I was walking around the property wearing a khaki camp shirt, cargo short, and a straw hat when a young child, maybe six years old, ran up to me and asked for my autograph. Fortunately, Blue was nearby and I steered her toward him. I did, though, seriously consider seeing if Disney needed a stand-in for his days off. . .