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Acting is the work of an actor, the person or people in the theatre or film who tell the story by portraying characters and, usually, speaking and/or singing the written text or play. From the Latin word actus meaning "to do", this is precisely what acting is. It is the doing or acting out of something, but rather than doing so as one's self, the actor places himself aside and assumes the role of another, commonly called a character. In acting, one subverts part of himself or herself to portray another, usually for the benefit of an audience[?], but also because it can bring one a sense of artistic satisfaction.

Actors are generally expected to possess a number of skills, including good vocal projection, clarity of speech, physical expressiveness, the ability to analyze and understand dramatic text, and the ability to emulate or generate emotional and physical conditions. Well rounded actors are often also skilled at singing, dancing, imitating dialects and accents, improvisation, observation and emulation, mime[?], stage combat, and performing classical texts such as Shakespeare. Many actors train at length in special programs or colleges to develop these skills, which have a wide range of different artistic philosophies and processes.

Modern pioneers in the area of acting have included Stanislavski[?], Straussberg[?], and Uta Hagen[?].

In law, the term "acting" refers to a situtation in which an official is holding an office temporarily without mandate. For example, in the United States if a governor of a state unexpectedly dies in office, the deputy governor may become "acting" governor until the next election.

see also: Acting President of the United States

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