The Actor as Paradigm?

  • Christopher Bigsby
Part of the Artificial Intelligence and Society book series (HCS)


The nature of theatre is such that its metaphoric force is frequently, if paradoxically, invoked. A simulation of reality, it assumes a paradigmatic force with respect to that reality until we seem trapped in a house of mirrors. Since we stage our lives before an audience, it is suggested, where should we look for a clue to our self-dramatizations but to the theatre. Since the theatre mimics the social world, which is the pre-condition for its existence, where should the actor turn for a clue to authenticity but to that world which he would convince us he reproduces and inhabits? The unease which such a circularity implies is disturbing precisely because it would seem to challenge the very notion of authenticity itself, because the deceit which we applaud is also the deceit which we would deplore. Living thus becomes a series of lies and plausibility what we require above all. And yet if what we seek is understanding of our social actions we could do worse than step through the curtains and enquire whether stage and auditorium, actor and audience, are not, indeed, merely versions of one another, offering, as they do, altered perspectives but perhaps not a radically transformed mode of being.


Practical Philosophy Parallel Universe High Wire Friendly Neighbour Performatic Skill 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 1995

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  • Christopher Bigsby

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