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  1. Unregistered
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    #1

    Talking "act somebody off the screen"

    "act somebody off the screen"

    Tell me the usage of this and its meaning. Is it an idiom? What would be its variations?

  2. kfredson's Avatar

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    #2

    Re: "act somebody off the screen"

    Quote Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
    "act somebody off the screen"

    Tell me the usage of this and its meaning. Is it an idiom? What would be its variations?
    I would call it an expression rather than an idiom. I'd like to see the entire context of the statement, but this is an expression we would use if we saw someone in a movie perform so powerfully that the other performer almost disappears from our view. The one is so strong that the other one appears very weak in comparison.

    We also use the verb "to upstage" someone when we want to describe a performer who is acting more powerfully than the other person on stage. The expression you cite takes it even further.


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    #3

    Re: "act somebody off the screen"

    Quote Originally Posted by kfredson View Post
    I would call it an expression rather than an idiom. I'd like to see the entire context of the statement, but this is an expression we would use if we saw someone in a movie perform so powerfully that the other performer almost disappears from our view. The one is so strong that the other one appears very weak in comparison.

    We also use the verb "to upstage" someone when we want to describe a performer who is acting more powerfully than the other person on stage. The expression you cite takes it even further.
    Hi!
    Happy New Year!

    Would it be the same as "steal the show/spotlight"?

  3. BobK's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: "act somebody off the screen"

    Quote Originally Posted by omasta View Post
    Hi!
    Happy New Year!

    Would it be the same as "steal the show/spotlight"?
    Similar, but not quite the same. Someone who steals the show is just the most notable performer, whereas upstaging usually involves intention. The term comes from the the stage directions 'upstage' (further away from the audience) and 'downstage' (nearer the audience). A bit-part actor who was upstage of the main action might do something (e.g. react violently to the main focus of attention....), so as to attract the notice of someone in the audience (an impresario, a critic, an agent, a casting director...).

    I've never met 'stealing the spotlight'; I've met 'hogging the limelight' though - and as 'limelight' refers to old technology (producing a fierce flame by burning calcium carbonate) I imagine the 'spotlight' version may be a New World thing (just a guess).

    b
    Last edited by BobK; 03-Jan-2010 at 16:37. Reason: Fix typo


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    #5

    Re: "act somebody off the screen"

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    Similar, but not quite the same. Someone who steals the show is just the most notable performer, whereas upstaging usually involves intention. The term comes from the the stage directions 'upstage' further away from the audience) and 'downstage' (nearer the audience). A bit-part actor who was upstage of the main action might do something (e.g. react violently to the main focus of attention....), so as to attract the notice of someone in the audience (an impresario, a critic, an agent, a casting director...).

    I've never met 'stealing the spotlight'; I've met 'hogging the limelight' though - and as 'limelight' refers to old technology (producing a fierce flame by burning calcium carbonate) I imagine the 'spotlight' version may be a New World thing (just a guess).

    b
    Hi!

    Thank you very much for your response.

    I've found this: "steal the spotlight and steal the show: to give the best performance in a show, play, or some other event; to get attention for oneself" in Harrap's American Idioms Dictionary by Richard A. Spears, 1987 edition.

  4. BobK's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: "act somebody off the screen"

    Aha... American idioms - not my strong point.

    b


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    #7

    Re: "act somebody off the screen"

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    ...The term comes from the the stage directions 'upstage' (further away from the audience) and 'downstage' (nearer the audience). A bit-part actor who was upstage of the main action might do something (e.g. react violently to the main focus of attention....), so as to attract the notice of someone in the audience (an impresario, a critic, an agent, a casting director...)...
    I learned a similar reason for the term 'upstage':

    As you said, upstage refers to the back of the stage, downstage refers to the front (if you're wondering why 'up-' and 'down-', its because a theatre's stage slopes upwards from the front to the back so that even if you are standing at the back of the stage, you can be seen by all audience members). What I learned was that if actors kept moving upstage, it would require the other actors on stage to face the back, thus drawing the attention away from the other actors' acting and focussing the audiences attention on the upstage actor.

    Since this literal meaning, it has come to mean an actor who intentionally tries to draw the attention to him/her, and away from others.

  5. kfredson's Avatar

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    #8

    Re: "act somebody off the screen"

    Quote Originally Posted by Linguist__ View Post
    I learned a similar reason for the term 'upstage':

    As you said, upstage refers to the back of the stage, downstage refers to the front (if you're wondering why 'up-' and 'down-', its because a theatre's stage slopes upwards from the front to the back so that even if you are standing at the back of the stage, you can be seen by all audience members). What I learned was that if actors kept moving upstage, it would require the other actors on stage to face the back, thus drawing the attention away from the other actors' acting and focussing the audiences attention on the upstage actor.

    Since this literal meaning, it has come to mean an actor who intentionally tries to draw the attention to him/her, and away from others.
    Yes, this appears to be how "to upstage" originated. But I wonder if things have changed. Today if I were wishing to upstage my fellow actors I would tend to move down closer to the audience (downstage) to make them focus on me more. Strange. (Maybe that's why I didn't get better reviews!)

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