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Multiple Realities: The Changing Life Worlds of Actors

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This is an empirical phenomenological interview study into the experiences of professional actors as they create and perform roles for the stage. Prior research was inadequate for capturing actors’ changing life worlds over time. Analyzing the interviews using the descriptive phenomenological method yielded general structural descriptions and pointed to the relevance of Schütz’s description of multiple realities. Being cast in a role changes the pace and goals of actors’ everyday worlds and leads the actors intermittently and with intention to enter other realities—fictional, theoretical, and/or pictorial. A province unique to acting is the drama world in which the actors live incarnate as their characters. The drama world is infused pre-reflectively with discoveries from other provinces of meaning, unfolds spontaneously, and, in performance, has the audience as horizon. The drama world and the experiences that give rise to it provide new material for comparative phenomenological analysis of various forms of imagining.

Affiliations: 1: Sarah Lawrence College


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