Celebrity and the Interrupted Performance

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Celebrity and the Interrupted Performance

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The casting of celebrities in major roles on Broadway is a common practice, incentivized by the large box office draw of film stars. This paper explores how fixed conceptions of good acting and markers of cultural prestige play into the criticism that celebrity-actors receive. Looking closely at Daniel Radcliffe’s 2008 performance in Equus, Sir Ian McKellen’s 2013 performance in Waiting for Godot and Marina Abramović’s 2010 performance The Artist is Present, this paper details how fan-celebrity encounters exist alongside or within performances, as well as how these celebrities are written about differently by critics. The celebrity’s attempt to represent a character within a play is complicated by their status as an easily recognizable sign for either themselves or another character. It is far easier for the celebrity-actor to become part of the world of the play than the celebrity-character. Ultimately, this paper asks how fancelebrity encounters can be harnessed as an artistic choice to enhance a performance instead of being negated and pushed to the periphery as a pre- or post-theatre experience.


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Cooper, Elizabeth. (2016). Celebrity and the Interrupted Performance. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy, https://hdl.handle.net/11299/181402.

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