The Academy may not recognize your amazing gifts, but…

What is performance in everyday life, and what does it do for us?

Quality of Doubleness

… most people are natural actors. It’s how we develop a sense of self, and how we maintain our roles in families and social and professional circles. Even the word “role” points to performance. I suppose you can imagine a person raised by wolves who, you argue, is NOT an actor, but I’d argue back that wolves live in social hierarchies and have rules, and whoever lives among wolves as a wolf will still have to perform status, if nothing else.

Acting is something you already do, whether you’re aware of it or not. Let me explain what I mean. Humans are social creatures. Human society is structured through rituals and symbols. We are, as Kenneth Burke once said, the symbol-making, symbol-using, symbol-misusing animal. We use symbolic interaction to communicate meaning. Symbols (language, gestures and ways of moving, facial expressions, objects and images, structures, sounds and combinations of sounds)—the meanings…

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