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Acting And Mimicry:
 Expressions - Part 1

 Expressions - Part 2

 The Smile—the Laugh

 Love In Its Different States And Expressions

 Intellectual And Other Expressions

 General Expressions

 Effects Of Pathological States On The Expressions

 Read More Articles About: Acting And Mimicry

General Expressions

( Originally Published Early 1900's )

Impatience, Restlessness, Desire, are all general expressions in which the richness of mimicry is dependent upon the source or cause of the emotion. So we may be impatient in love, in pain, and in varied states of the soul and mind.

Impatience is a state of nervousness which is characterized by uncertain movements and gestures. The walk is nervous, irregular, and the gesture seems to explode. The look is distracted, the forehead wrinkled. When impatience is the beginning of anger or rage, as it often is, we pull the hair, bite the fin ;ers, strike the table with the fists, etc.

The mimicry of desire bears a strong resemblance to the cause producing it. In the desire to be loved, the mimicry of impatience will be associated with the one of love. In the desire for vengeance, hate will combine with eagerness to accomplish one's purpose.

Desire, prompted by noble sentiments, is characterized by having the eyebrows drawn close together, the eyes wider open than usual, the nostrils raised and contracted toward the eyes, and the mouth half open.

Agitation and Anxiety are more general expressions whose mimicry Is very similar to the one of impatience.

The state of waiting shows a combination of desire and impatience.

Different complex states of mind like vanity, conceit, jealousy, avarice, revenge, suspicion, ambition, humility, etc., can all be classified as general expressions. Some of the, e might be classified under simulated expressions, for, since they represent, if not always low instincts, at least ignoble impulses, people usually try to conceal them. Blushing, wavering eyes, restless with uneasy motion, forehead wrinkled, eyebrows lowering, eyelids partly closed, fronwning, etc., are the chief characteristics of their expressions. Their mimicry, however, according to Darwin, is not distinct enough to allow detailed description.

Arrogance; Pride.—The peacock and the turkey cock are the emblems of pride The body and head are erect, the trunk is enlarged to its fullest extent, the walk is measured. The mouth is closed, the expression is a frowning one, and there are always signs of contempt written on the countenance. The proud man is overconfident, looks down upon others, and l is every motion is artificially sure. Basilio ve lo giura in "Barber of Seville" is an example of conceit.

Humility is, of course, the direct opposite of the expression worn by pride.

Helplessness and Impotence.—' Ehe idea of helplessness or of the impossible is expressed by quickly raising both shoulders, ben ling the elbows in toward the body, and raising open hands, turning them outward with the fingers separated. The head is held to one side, the eyebrows elevated, wrinkles cross the brow, and the mouth is almost wide open.

Lack of Understanding is similarly expressed.

Hypocrisy, Falsity, etc.—The most trying feature to control in all the simulated expressions of daily life is the eye. Being the mirror of the soul, it with difficulty obeys the thought or will power in adapting itself to expressions of hypocrisy and falsity. For instance, in simulated anger, the eyebrows will be wrinkled, and the mouth may show the usual signs of anger, but one look will be sufficient for a keen observer to discover that the feeling is feigned

The simulated expressions can be love, hate, admiration, pity, etc. On the stage these are presented by an exaggerated mimicry and gesture suited to the state or feeling simula ted. However, the mimicry and gesture must lack sincerity. Some people, especially among the business class, wear a never-failing mask behind which they cover their real sentiments, thoughts and ideas. This may be called the first degree of hypocrisy. The hypocrite on the stage must have some special characteristics that will at once indicate him. So the look of such a type is a shifting one; the head is held slightly down, an artificial, forced smile adorns the lips, and a hesitancy governs his entire attitude.

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