I love the concept that our life is a play in which we play many parts. Shakespeare likened that we play seven parts from the suckling child to the lean an aged adult. Some of those parts we play become loved sections of each and everyone’s play. Many of us enjoyed playing the lover and may look forward or back to that part and at times relive those memories as if we are rewinding a movie of that play. We may return to each part reminiscing of those days or preparing for that moment when we can play something else. I had never really liked my play at times and felt that the character i was playing lacked something that would make the character more real and fill them out. Many of us feel disappointment in the direction or depth of the character that we play in life. Maybe the script is very superficial or leads us in a direction that just does not seem right. We turn to the script writer and complain and the others actors around us may give stern looks to get on with it as they quickly become impatient with us. A plea to the director may not even bring the result we wish. He however may feel the same as us that the lead character lacks a little something. He gives us permission to try the part a different way to ad-lib or get into a different character to bring the part to life. It is a brave move by the director as changing your part would lead to major changes in the role or the story could be lost, but committed to the lead actor he gives you permission to alter the part to fit you.
The remaining actors groan and a few may even storm off the stage in disgust as they assume you are destroying the play, which in turn could greatly affect them in their roles. it may even mean they have to change what they are doing, and nobody is comfortable with change.
The director lets the play continue and may even allow you to start from a more comfortable place in the script and slowly you interpret the character in your own personal way to develop the concepts of the play.
We may ask for more makeup or a change of costume to feel more at ease with the role we are playing. we may even get more in the character by changing our voice or our overall appearance to make the part ours and real for those watching. We may even convince those around us that we are that character, which entices some that left that we can carry this role a become a great thespian of the arts to play a part but change it enough to make it ours but not too much so that the meaning of the play is lost. It is a fine balance but all the great actors and actresses of the ages were able to pull it off so that the onlooker could not tell if you were acting or just being yourself.
We never know whether it will work or not until there is an audience seated in front of us and we take the last bow to thunderous applause or a stunned crowd. that is when the curtain will close on our play and will never be shown again. a one night only performance with you as the star.
Some of the other actors may never return to the show and while that may sadden us greatly we realise that ‘the show must go on’, but others watching may wish to take their place filling roles and adding their own personal interpretation to those roles bringing further life and color to the proceedings. We grow into the new role and become accustomed to the changes as to do those around us. New life is injected into the play and a new interpretation created and we gain confidence adding other facets to the role to embellish and create a character, which not only has depth and life, but is more ours.
Very soon the performance night arrives and the director waits impatiently in the wings watching as the show progresses his fingernails slowly being consumed as he watches the players and audience through the different acts until the end comes and the players return to the stage.
The last part is written by us as to whether we have played our part in the play and carried the role sufficiently to keep the audience’s attention and remain credible and true to ourselves.
Although we are the lead in our own play we can become dissatisfied with that part or the way we were originally asked to play it by life and those around us. Most would shut up and just play their part no matter what, but a rare few will stand and ask for permission to alter that role. It is a brave person to do that, and an extremely good actor to carry it off enough to allow the Director to allow an alteration to his precious play. Once changed we need to see it through with whatever changes we have requested to hang on to the bitter end even though we may feel uncomfortable from sometimes being alone, from derision from the other actors and the quiet nail chomping that we sometimes hear from the Director. All will work out in the end even though we might be riddled with self doubts as to whether we have done the right thing.
After all is said a done we need to listen to our hearts and follow them to avoid giving a half-hearted performance. We have a better chance of being happy with our life’s performance and bring pleasure to our own lives by being the amazing person that we sometimes hide away.
I end with a salutation from Polonius, which is from Hamlet.
‘This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Farewell, my blessing season this in thee!’