Actors who cannot make a living at their profession live in a manic conflict. A few infiltrate the community at large for economic reasons. They use their acting skills to survive by persuading gullible employers that they can perform the functions for which they receive payment. An examination of their motives leads to a better understanding of their scruples or lack of them. Especially, it explains the art of thespian lying.
Astute reporters maintain a balance between reason and good sense. Consequently, they seldom treat actors with respect or believe what they say. If they did then it would affect their objectivity. Believing actors at face value would result in fiction instead of reporting facts.
Like the mythical German prankster Eulenspiegel, actors behave as mischievous, loveable spirits. They move between child and adult mentalities. However, the term Eulenspiegelei has a sinister significance. Translated literally, it means "a mirror held in front of an owl." When owls, blind in daylight, cannot see their reflection they behave irrationally and sometimes dangerously. This illustrates the movement between person and persona - the role that an actor assumes or displays in public as distinguished from self. [The Trickster]
Like owls, some actors blindly reinvent themselves. They ignore reality. They reflect nothing except what they pretend to represent. Unable to earn a living in the theater they use their thespian skills to accept employment for which they have no qualifications or skills. They rely entirely upon lies to improve their economic condition. As landlords they deceive both their tenants and their directors. All their actions relate to egotistical self-interest and not the public good.
Konstantin Stanislavsky, the Russian actor and director, developed an innovative method of acting that emphasized thespian psychological motivation. He systematized the actor's search for authenticity by portraying a character different from his own. 
Here, using a similar method the author explores the behavior of professional actor and pathological liar Stephen Mitchell (aka Emile de Becque or Stefan or whatever name or position he fantasizes in his present state of mind). Mitchell has posed as a social worker, a mental health counselor, a child counselor, also as an apartment block manager at Council House, Seattle, where he presently works. Recently appointed a director of that non-profit corporation he has now given himself the title of executive director.
Using a kafkaesque management style and sated by uninformed reviews by his employers he believes that his show will run for ever. He constantly reinvents himself to give the impression of a self-possessed character projecting dignity, morality, and courage. One may classify him by facial expression and clothing but never know the devious and ruthless plans in his head. Any difference between him and his thespian persona emerges by accident and when exposed, hysteria.
Alex Johnson, a reporter with MSNBC, identified Mitchell’s persona when he described him after a first interview (19 Nov 03). Mitchell has apparently identified himself with the character A. in a previous edition of this essay. His hysteria and mental state surfaced when he responded with several irrational and misleading answers. He projected his own abhorrent behavior onto others. Johnson wrote:
Regardless of its literary provenance, it is difficult to square T-----l's characterization of "A" with Stephen Mitchell in person. A tall, slender former stage actor with a gentle demeanor, Mitchell says softly that nothing T-----l describes ever happened. He says T-----l is "guilty of everything he accuses others of." He would berate residents with demands that they come to his apartment for interviews, threatening to "write that you were manipulated by Mitchell" if they declined, Mitchell contends. At one point, Mitchell says, T-----l's diatribes and belligerence drove him to sleep with a baseball bat for fear of his life, adding, "I can't walk down the street and hear an English accent without turning around.
[The Old Man and the Screeds] [The Troubles of Trummel]
Mitchell does not threaten his audience with too much passion, instead, he reassures them that his dysfunction really translates as tranquility and safety. No inner reality, no genuineness, no glimpse into the soul exists. This clown needs power and considers his employment his stage and the tenants whom he tries to control as his audience. He has eliminated the fine line between fantasy and reality by feigning relaxed sincerity: not for theatrical portrayal but for economic self-interest.
It makes good sense to avoid actors with this disorder especially those who hold a modicum of power for fear of manipulation or victimization. Unfortunately, the projection of personal interest by the actor translates as a form of love to loveless people and makes them vulnerable. All actors love to act and acting probably ranks as their prime motivation.
The lack of a dividing line between performance and self has become the only real thing about Mitchell. He continually reinvents himself and lives his performance. He cannot move between self and persona instead he lives a perpetual illusion. This allows the trickster in him to outwit gullible residents by manipulating contemporary mores and social strata. Aldous Huxley described acting:
Abused as we abuse it at present, dramatic art is in no sense cathartic; it is merely a form of emotional masturbation. . . . It is the rarest thing to find a player who has not had his character affected for the worse by the practice of his profession. Nobody can make a habit of self-exhibition, nobody can exploit his personality for the sake of exercising a kind of hypnotic power over others, and remain untouched by the process. 
The term "histrionics" applies to theatrical arts and to behavior by mentally disturbed people in everyday life. An admirable art form can become a dangerous means of controlling people either through their gullibility or through economically instilled fear using irrational precepts.
[Another Jim Jones?]
Mitchell apparently suffers from a psychiatric condition called histrionic personality disorder: a dangerous phenomenon in people with power over others. It manifests in: excessively impressionistic speech (scripted without detail); discomfort when not the focal point (treats everyone as family); evocative physical appearance (constantly reinventing self); exaggerated emotionalism (always the victim); emotional shifting and shallowness (lies and contradictions); influenced by circumstances and others (needs a mentor or multiple parenting figures exemplified by constantly referring to approximately two hundred senior citizens as his grandparents); and, seductive or provocative behavior (love/hate relationships). 
Theatrical performances often provide entertainment and pleasure, however, creative attributes can also become pernicious tools. Mitchell uses his mastery of improvisation and deft use of misrepresentation to instill fear in those whom he controls - he believes his own lies. He scripted a murder scenario then applied it to an old lady and has applied other fantasies to tenants he does not like.
Ronald Reagan, a consummate actor, saluted a cemetery of Nazi dead with heartfelt solemnity and did not mention the tens of millions of victims of their vile regime. Mel Brooks extends that thinking into palatable shticks for both the masses and intellectuals. Like Reagan, Mitchell acts with seeming sincerity using a confusion of movie events and reality to further a secret political agenda. Reagan's behavior appeared as intellectual weakness but really ranked as thespian mastery.
Some educated intellectuals in a variety of nations considered Hitler and Stalin the quintessence of morality and truth. Contemporary “shtick” of the Mel Brooks variety encourages that type of thinking among “baby-boomer” pointy-heads and judges alike. Actors feed upon it. They use contrived performances to promote propaganda which becomes reality for them and their gullible audiences. This has happened at Council House, an apartment block for senior citizens that has become a veritable squirrel cage under the management of Stephen Mitchell and his predecessor Mark Mullen. [Introduction - Justice by Jiminy].
Gullible people rely on charismatic leaders to provide a fantastic alternative to reality. They need prominent and consistent exposure to that charisma. A single rubric that expresses business or theatrical success rests in a statement by Barnum:
I don't care what they say about me as long as they mention my name.
However, Mitchell does not only want his audience to mention his name he obsesses over them believing and admiring him. He also yearns for their unconditional love. To that end, he uses unlawful acts to silence detractors.
Mitchell has no destiny for stardom as a character actor. He has exceeded his capacity for the role that he has tried to play. His whole enterprise has turned into a cultic illusion, an incoherent dream like the plot of a surrealistic movie or play. He has failed to understand that scripting has very little to do with charismatic leadership.
Mitchell has neglected to understand that dysfunctional actors destroy ethical and political significance which leaves inquiring minds confused and resentful. Then, empathic association has no virtue or value for people trying to uplift society through rational thought and reasoned argument.
If rational people accept indoctrination then they give up their power and become irrational. They empower their "star" to rule. Their leader occupies a heroic thespian role. However, absolute power corrupts absolutely, both personally and symbolically. It relies upon a false credibility conceived in pathological lying - persistent lying that continues until lies become the liar's reality.
Then the audience follows the charismatic actor/leader in a magical, extraterrestrial, theatrical aura. This disguises the leader’s pathological need to destroy his detractors and to benefit followers as privileged cult members.
Dysfunctional actors turn lying into a universal principle, a Kafkaesque fantasy, to attain economic and political self-interest. As a pathological liar, Mitchell now believes every word that he utters to cover up the inner conflict that he has with truth. Cynically, he manipulates both his employers and his constituency - the former by false sincerity and the latter by fear and abuse through eviction and incarceration that he has deftly applied or threatened to dozens of tenants over an extended period.
Sincerity implies honesty and an absence of moral conflict. It can also harbor insensitivity or stupidity. Mitchell has now reached the limits of his imagination and can only revert to lying pathologically to anyone who questions him. Even a simple question results in a complex litany of lies. Actors know that if they change from lies to truth in mid-performance it utterly destroys the illusion. For the illusion to continue then the lying must also continue.
No longer relaxed, a requirement for thespian art, Mitchell has destroyed the receptivity of his audience and personal paranoia has replaced it. The truth has eroded his power because absolutists cannot survive without acceptance of their lying.
Legitimate theater uses a contrast of both truth and lies to illustrate reality. Ethical actors perform without destroying their audience. They define reality through deliberate lying to explain the underlying morality of a plot. All actors must lie to tell the story but most of them only lie in the persona. Through severe psychological dysfunction some of them carry that lying into their everyday lives.
Theater lies. It fabricates everything from calculated laughter to a flood of tears. The actor lies with apparent spontaneity knowing that fabrication of an important truth sometimes gives an audience a new understanding of reality. Good actors can pursue normal lives without assimilating the negative traits of their thespian roles.
Actors have not ranked highly over the centuries for their steady habits or opinions and most do not conform to social mores. Conversely, they have provided a positive record without which their art would disappear forever. However dull or morally delinquent an artist may be, in his moment of creation, when his work pierces to the truth, he cannot dissimulate - he cannot disguise his intentions. He becomes a dangerous person when he acts otherwise.
Modern despots distinguish themselves as absolute rulers unrestricted by any legal or constitutional process. In modern usage, the word carries connotations of cruel and oppressive policies. When despots despair in achieving their objectives, they rely upon human mediocrity to behave recklessly and violently. They suffer a great need to alleviate their distress. They develop the same fear that they have instilled in others through misuse of power.
Trotsky claimed that mediocrity caused Stalin to rise to his exalted position.  That position allowed Stalin to remark without restriction before signing almost 40,000 death warrants:
To choose one’s victims, to prepare one’s plan minutely, to slake an implacable vengeance, and then to go to bed . . . there is nothing sweeter in the world. 
The corruptive influence of absolute power allowed both Hitler and Stalin to live in their personae. It enabled them to dispense with humanity misanthropically through benevolent dictatorship. This resulted in the murder of millions of human beings.
Mitchell uses management techniques that include, tragedy, comedy, and farce. The relentless diet of crafted ideology and emotional play-acting disguised as role-playing causes Council House tenants to mistake fantasy for reality. They yield to coercive persuasion through sensory-perception. False insight then allows others to manipulate their minds and actions.
An avowed misanthrope under Mitchell’s direction in a consort with his attorney recently suborned more than forty Council House residents to commit perjury by swearing false legal declarations. Through coercion, they recognized and interpreted reality based upon persuasion.
Several devout members of that community have now recognized that manipulation and consulted their clergy. They now wish to withdraw their statements. However, they cannot do that without swearing another declaration admitting perjury. This type of entrapment takes place through a steady diet of disinformation characteristic of techniques used in Germany during the 1930s and 1940s.
Mitchell has graduated from simple lying to perjury and subornation then to complicity in homicide. Instead of his Emile de Becque persona basking on a warm desert island he must occupy a cold cell among accused murders and rapists in King County Jail, Washington, before they move him to a state penitentiary to serve out a long term. That will compare with the treatment that he has meted to political dissenters.
In jail he can sing “I’m in Love with a Wonderful Guy” to his heart’s content with all the other high-decibel, out-of-tune, and off-key songbirds he has as neighbors. Unfortunately, he has neither the intelligence and charm nor the rousing power and panache of a Robert Goulet - so the other prisoners will probably give this monster all the love that he craves.
Then The Jewish Transcript, with a Council House board member Jeff B-rkm-n as a director, can choreograph a repeat performance of its previous propaganda when they drooled over Mitchell’s performance in South Pacific - Rodgers and Hammerstein's timeless Broadway musical of wartime and romance - and Mitchell’s other phony achievements. [The Jewish Transcript]
Tolstoy wrote that the essence of art rests in the revelation of the artist's soul - a glimpse of god. However, actors who try to emulate god doom themselves to self-destruction. Moreover, they have no place in public or private employment. In a corrupt legal system, the unfettered vigilance of the fourth estate then comes into play to insure justice for those whom miscreants have destroyed or tried to destroy.
Essay inspired by "On Politics and the Art of Acting by Arthur Miller". Delivered by Miller as the 30th Jefferson Lecturer in the Humanities at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (26 Mar 01).