Author

Ella Embry

Date of Award

5-2018

Degree Type

Honors College Thesis

Department

Theatre

First Advisor

Stephen Judd,

Second Advisor

Steven Chesnut, Ph.D

Advisor Department

Theatre; Educational Research and Administration

Abstract

Both actors and psychologists devote enormous amounts of time to understanding how people think, act, and respond even if for completely different reasons. While there are psychological studies that look at the way clothing influences attraction, aggression, and attitude, none of it looks critically at theatrical performance. Costuming is a vital part of the theatrical process that has yet to be studied empirically. As such, my study is an inter-disciplinary endeavor dedicated to developing an understanding of exactly how and whether costuming affects an actor’s personality perception as a way to contribute to the field of psychology, future theatrical performances, and general knowledge. I achieved this through an interview process utilizing both graduate and undergraduate student-actors at The University of Southern Mississippi who had been cast in the Spring 2018 show You Can’t Take It With You. I closely observed and detailed the change of an actor's sense of self, from identifying as their own personality to identifying as their character’s personality after putting on their costume for a theatrical production as a unique phenomenon. The main data I reviewed and used as evidence was the participants’ usage of first-person pronouns; because, when a person internalizes an experience or feeling they use the first person. Upon review of the data and a thorough analysis, I concluded that there is a noticeable relationship between a shift in sense of self and the participants’ degree of costuming.

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