What is a persona to you?

Discussion in 'Magic Forum' started by levivoltz, Nov 16, 2016.


Should your persona be your real personality?

  1. Yes

  2. No

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  1. Okay so this could and does bring up a few questions:

    1. What is a persona?
    2. Is it something you like to put on during performances?
    3. Or is it just your personality?
    4. Does this enhance your audience's experience in a good way?
    5. If you have a different persona to your personality, then what is yours and why?

    I am very interested to hear your thoughts and opinions.
    The very core question is, do you think persona and personality is or are the same thing?
  2. The definition is:
    The answer to your questions are very subjective. Will it enhance the audience's experience? Sure, if it's done well and the character suits the performance. If not, then it probably won't enhance much of anything and could be detrimental. Is it something you put on? Some people adopt a totally different performance persona or character when they begin performing, others use their own personality, and still others just amplify an aspect of their own personality and use that. It really depends on the performer's goals and the goals of the performance itself.

    My stage persona is just an amplified version of my general personality. It's basically the same 'me' you'd encounter anywhere, except I am louder and I say more of the things that pop into my head, and I dress a bit nicer and style my hair. But the things I talk about on stage are the same things I talk about with my friends at a party or around a camp fire.

    Shameless plug - I wrote a short book on character development. Link is in my signature.
    levivoltz likes this.
  3. Haha Yes I know who you are. You are Christopher Thisse. And I know your book on ellusionist. That is a major reason I was asking these questions, to get others thinking about ut
  4. When you think about it, we act differently around different people. Our parents, our friends, our significant others and our coworkers. We each have multiple personas that when combined make up the whole of our personality.

    In performance, your persona is a selection of your traits and an amplicification of those traits. Have you ever heard someone described as "larger than life?" Yeah, a performance persona is exactly that.
  5. Thank you for input. I love the analogue/quote you used. Though essentially you are saying you are yourself, but just more of yourself?
  6. I think it "depends"! If you are an extrovert, I am suspect your persona stays pretty much the same, even when performing...as that is the nature of an extrovert! If you fall on the side of being an introvert, then performing is a real challenge and the easiest way to deal with that is to develop a different persona for performing. One that you practice extensively to develop enough confidence to make the change. Of course few people are complete extroverts or complete introverts so this comment must be adjusted to account for where ones personality really lies.......at least that's my $0.02 worth....
    levivoltz likes this.
  7. Very interesting thought.
    I suppose creating someone your not would make it easier as an introvert, to perform

    I am really loving people's input!
  8. It is a little more complicated than that. I'm saying that you should develop a character that is based on various parts of your personality and then magnify those parts of your personality.

    I have an active imagination and a playful side, I love accumulating knowledge and I have a great appreciation for self-depricating humor and bad puns. My performance character is a guide to imagination - someone who asks the audience to come out and play and experience wonder. My presentations are filled with useless information, a touch of insecurity and a lot of jokes and puns that I know are bad. That is all tied together with a smile that conveys that I care about my audience.
    levivoltz likes this.
  9. Oooooooh Okay that makes sense
  10. Introversion and extroversion don't play as large a role as may be thought. Introverts recoup energy by spending time alone, extroverts recoup energy by interacting with others. You can be a shy extrovert or an outgoing introvert, and both are pretty common. I'm very introverted, but I perform regularly. It's just that after a performance I hole away for a while with a stiff drink and some mindless entertainment.

    I think being more comfortable on stage with a drastically different persona than your normal life persona happens when someone feels the need to hide behind a mask to perform - ie. insecurity. Developing a character also creates comfort because by default if you've put the work into creating a stage character you're more practiced than if you're just winging it as "yourself". It means you've thought about how you will speak, how you will move, how you will dress, and so on.

    My style on stage is a sort of eccentric, esoteric, witty book worm. My scripts tend to explore odd historic information showing connections across cultures, some trivia, and a dash of social commentary. I project the persona of someone who is really excited about the things I've learned and I really want to show the audience, and obviously they must be just as excited as I am. Which, coincidentally, is pretty much me when I've been drinking and someone gets me talking about a subject I'm interested in.
    Levent Suberk and levivoltz like this.
  11. I am not sure about your disagreement with me regarding Introverts and Extroverts.....as it is inconsistent with my life experience and training. Regardless, using Alcohol and mindless entertainment to unwind probably is not the best choice. Don't get me wrong, I do take a drink from time to time....but not to help unwind or to get me talking....but to each his own!
    levivoltz likes this.
  12. To be completely frank I neither seek nor desire your approval for my lifestyle choices, nor do I appreciate the judgmental tone to the post. You may want to update your information, though, if you are behind on recent studies regarding introversion/extroversion.

    To bring this topic back on subject -

    The most entertaining people on stage are people who seem to give us a peek at their personal selves which makes us feel like we are connecting with them. Because of this, the easiest way to create a stage persona is to take an aspect (or collection of aspects) of your existing personality and amplify it (or them). Just as RealityOne and myself have done. Who we are on stage is not that different to who we are day-to-day, it's just a bit more amplified and out there.

    If you caught me at a party or the bar or other social area and asked me about hypnosis, or new age energy concepts, or Victorian seances - you would get a conversation that sounded a lot like me on stage, just without the effects (Or at least, without most of them - I rarely do much casual performance). This is because I take my genuine interests and I build my show around them. Chances are, if there is something you are interested in, lots of other people are interested in it to. Or in the very least, if you are interested they will listen to you talk about it, just because it's enjoyable to hear someone talk about something they love.
    levivoltz likes this.
  13. I don't necessarily think that the most entertaining people on stage are the ones that give us a peek at their personal selves. In fact, some of the most entertaining stage performers are nothing at all like their personal selves.

    Examples of who I'm referring to are Dan Sperry, Shin Lim, David Blaine, Joaquin Ayala, and Darcy Oake. Granted they are more "serious" performers which isn't my style quite yet but they are different people on stage than who they are if you meet them at a convention or are having lunch with them. I mean Shin Lim's character doesn't speak at all as if he was a mysterious shaman and yet he has one of the most celebrated modern acts. If you meet him in real life he's just a chill regular dude.

    I'm not saying there isn't any merit to sharing a bit of yourself on stage. Penn and Teller, Scott Alexander, and even Copperfield to an extent are somewhat similar in real life to their stage personas. I'm just saying that being someone completely unlike yourself, acting out a character that you made up, still has a lot of entertainment value.
    levivoltz likes this.
  14. I'm really loving the discussion.
    Though I agree with Thisse on the introvert, extrovert subject. As the
    of my relatives are psychologists, and this topic has come up before.

    They literally say the same thing as Thisse, it's about how they regain energy that makes them introvert or extrovert.

    I'm learning a lot from everyone though. So thank you all, for your great discussion
  15. For me, my "persona" is just my own personality but louder, more amplified. Someone able to have some level of control over the audience. It's easier for me to do this because I tend to do this naturally when I perform.
    levivoltz likes this.
  16. I'm much the same :)
  17. I'm also very introverted. My idea of a good time involves either a book with a glass of Jack Daniels with Honey or a couple of close friends sharing a good dinner and bottle of wine. However, if I'm in a performance situation you would never guess that I'm an introvert. After the performance, I'm exhasted.
    The Magic X and levivoltz like this.
  19. So you're saying Dan Sperry isn't a goth rocker kind of guy who likes morbid imagery? David Blaine isn't someone who loves mystery and mysticism? Shin Lim doesn't appreciate the beauty of well choreographed
    compositions? I don't know anything about Darcy or Joaquin.

    What I mean is, they are sharing their interests and passions with you when they perform. That doesn't mean they can't have exaggerated or even drastically different personalities on stage, it just means the best performances are fueled by personal experience and personal connection.
    levivoltz likes this.
  20. You're straw manning me here since that is not at all what my post said. The point I was trying to make is the people that are stage are different from who they are in real life. They dress different, talk different, and act differently. It's like they become a different person.

    Whether it's rock music or well choreographed compositions is just something they feel best compliments their acts. The fact that they like it outside of their performance character does not dictate whether they use it in a show or not.

    But we're splitting hairs here at this point. The point I was trying to make is their are merits to playing a character completely different from who you are separately.

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