Theatre craft: blind actors, behind curtains.
“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages.”
As I sit down to write this, I can’t help but recall these lines that fit the situation perfectly; lines, by this immortal playwright, who left behind such a vast legacy of literary gems. And remembering Shakespeare, further made me reflect on: the exact role, and function of drama, and theatre, in today’s technology-driven world:
Is this art, of live performances, with a live audience, diminishing in popularity? With so much abundant entertainment at our disposal at the click of a button from the comforts of our homes?
As actors, would we choose to be in such spotlight when we can hide behind cameras that give us a hundred opportunities for re-takes until we’re satisfied with our performance?
Theatre, on the other hand, leaves us bare and exposed and in the moment. As soon as the curtains open, there are no re-takes, no second chances. Just each one of us, taking the stage, and playing our parts, before a live audience, that will judge us as characters, giving us just that One chance, for us to create an impression.
Incidentally, such is the case with Life too, isn’t it? Just the one chance to give it your best shot. To look your best, each new moment, so that we can create an impression on people. there is always someone watching and judging us: our families at home, inquisitive neighbours, co-passengers while we travel. Whether we are studying or working; there are eyes of colleagues, teachers, friends and strangers. Pares and pairs of eyes, constantly scrutinising and judging us, and building us in their minds: characters with strengths, weaknesses, habits and peculiarities.
And so, we try to do certain things To ensure we’re rated well by our audience. But more importantly, there are things we make sure we Don’t do, that might make us look odd, or unacceptable. These are things we do in darkness: behind the curtains so to speak. When we are sure we have no audience: like digging our noses, and scratching in all sorts of places. Like letting ourselves loose, and freeing ourselves of all the disciplinary constraints of being in the limelight all day.
But how do we know we’re being watched? Because we do the watching too. Taking in all that transpires around us. judging and building our own versions of characters and people, based on what we see of them, picking up tips from them, that might help us look more appealing and pleasant.
Theatre craft: blind actors, behind curtains