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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Periods & styles of Magic » » How long can you keep it up? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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gsidhe
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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
Silly Walter the Polar Bear
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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.
rickmagic1
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I've done Civil War reenactments doing the same thing...in my 1860's clothes all day! And wool gets itchy in 90* weather!
Rick Green

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Big Daddy Cool
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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.
Swing hard, swing often, and we'll catch ya on the Flip-Side!
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Professor Piper
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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)
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Bill Palmer
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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.
"The Swatter"

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SpellbinderEntertainment
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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
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Bill Palmer
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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? Smile
"The Swatter"

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My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

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Philip Hilton
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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
Mick Ayres
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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.
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ERIC
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Quote:
Fortunately, there's plenty of overlap between my character-role and the real me...

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.
magicwatcher2005
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I was taught that your best character is just a amplified vesion of yourself.
Bill Fienning
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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.
Bill Fienning

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QED
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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.
David Quidas
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Danny Archer
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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.
Bill Palmer
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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.

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...

This is an interesting thing. Once you get into character, let your character write your lines.
"The Swatter"

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My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
Big Daddy Cool
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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.
Swing hard, swing often, and we'll catch ya on the Flip-Side!
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critter
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In psychology there is a lot of discussion between who you think you are, who others think you are, and who you really are.
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MagiUlysses
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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
critter
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It all goes back to Freuds notion of Ego though, doesn't it?
"Courtesy is as much a mark of a gentleman as courage."
-Theodore Roosevelt

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