I can see what my difficulty is with the idea of a meme.
My first educational experience defined acting in a simple way ‘acting is a training for life.’
The classroom takes a variety of forms from a rehearsal room at the school, a stage, a cathedral, the intensive care ward at a sick children’s hospital. Lots of different spaces.
The definition is simple, the situation in which you act on these words is highly complex.
Understanding is vital. Its drawn from acting in the environment not from a text-book.
A vital principle seems to be missing from the meme. Why?
What is so different about the situation science finds itself in here?
I think I can use my definition and say that science is also a training for life. I don’t think I am dealing with a different kind of thing. Acting and science look similar here. Both seek to demonstrate something.
The method of instruction and demonstration is very different. The skill of a drama teacher seems to rest in understanding and selecting the space in which things will find themselves. It’s not based on a series of verbal instructions.
Learning to swim in such waters using these methods is not without its difficulties. To speak requires movement. Learning the correct way to move regulates stress. It governs the whole processes.
Family resemblance here is helpful.
A Stash of Wild Things
“Contrasting a medieval wild man with a wren an ostrich and a penguin.”
Acting in its most uncontrolled form is penguin like. Stress affects arm movement. The muscles of the shoulder in a stressed subject will not move properly. The arms will be able to flap below the elbows as if an attempt to take of is being undertaken. The upper arms glued to the side.
The leg muscles tighten restricting movement further to a small circle within a much larger space on the stage.
The muscles of the throat also constrict when under intense stress this results in a hoarse croaking effect.
This is known as penguin acting or penguin style. It’s acting in its most raw and basic form.
It is to flap like a bird and sound like a bird. Not all birds are alike and it is to be suspected the wild man does not sound like a nightingale.
A magpie does not sound like a nightingale its throat is coarse and constricted (according to the poets). The claiks geese (barnacle goose) claiks like the sound of a bad and repetitive sermon. etc.
Penguin acting is a term used in the contemporary theatre. It is drawn from observation and perfectly describes this performance style.
To observe, to make memorable, to inform, to entertain. Wild men are bird like. They act in life and are drawn from life.
It is a foolish thing, without art or craft and the lesson is in its error. It cannot let go of its grief or come to terms with the space it finds itself in.