Sounds to me like you’re reading attitudes you might have into other peoples minds.
The Episcopalians kept the ad orientem setup for a long time after the Catholics abandoned it. I've attended both types of services both with the Piskies and the Catholics.
One almost immediately observes that there is a tendency for the priest to carry the pulpit/lectern attitude (where he is facing the people and communicating with them) over to the altar. One can observe this in mannerisms, tone of voice, body language, etc. and form a judgment accordingly. Of course, priests vary in personality so that the "emcee" effect can be greater or less, depending. But I have never seen ad libbing, casual posture, over-the-top theatrics, etc. on the altar from an ad orientem priest, while just off the top of my head I can think of several egregious offenders of the Broadway-style variety who celebrate facing the people.
Don't know if you have ever been in theater (I was for years in high school and college), but if you have you know the effort you make as a performer to engage your audience. I sure do notice it when our choir leaves the choir loft (where we sing for Mass) and go up front on the sanctuary steps for a choir concert. All those eyes!
There is also an intermediate orientation sometimes called "the Benedictine arrangement", where the priest is versus populum but a crucifix is placed on the altar between him and the people. One can immediately see a refocussing from the 'audience' to the crucifix.