Substitution (theatre)

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In theatre, substitution refers to the method of understanding elements in the life of one's character by comparing them to elements in one's own life. For example, if an actor is portraying a character who is being blackmailed, he or she could think back to some embarrassing or private fact about his or her own life, and mentally superimpose that onto the character's secret. This is associated with the realism-driven representational acting approach.

Substitution can be emotionally challenging, but supporters argue it produces a better and more sincere performance than trying to understand a character's motivations without reference to one's own life.