Ethical stress and performing real people

$18.00 plus tax (Refund Policy)

Buy Article:


This article argues that actors playing real people find themselves subject to specific forms of ethical stress that they do not suffer from when playing fictional characters. It investigates particular aspects of ethical stress and examines what individual actors might mean by their common claim to feel a greater ‘responsibility’ when playing a real person. Ethical quandaries and anxieties lead actors to modify their usual approaches and their experience is often one of imaginative and emotional containment. This article also exposes the difficulty actors face in articulating their ethical dilemmas because of assumptions about their subordinate role in the production hierarchy. Lastly, this article makes a plea for ethics to be incorporated into actor-training courses and for acting theory to be revisited in respect of ethics.

Keywords: actors; ethical stress; identification; legitimacy; responsibility; unknowability

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of York

Publication date: April 25, 2011

More about this publication?
  • Performing Ethos is a refereed, interdisciplinary journal which considers ethical questions relating to contemporary theatre and live performance. Global in scope, it provides a unique forum for rigorous scholarship and serious reflection on the ethical dimensions of a wide range of performance practices from the politically and aesthetically radical to the mainstream.
  • Editorial Board
  • Information for Authors
  • Subscribe to this Title
  • ingentaconnect is not responsible for the content or availability of external websites
Related content



Share Content

Access Key

Free Content
Free content
New Content
New content
Open Access Content
Open access content
Subscribed Content
Subscribed content
Free Trial Content
Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
ingentaconnect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more