‘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,’
I could ask a really deep, philosophical question like; why are we here? Still think about it by all means, but what I really want to ask is how and why we do things whilst we are here. I think Shakespeare had it right. All the world is a stage and we are all players or actors on it. Take away the fact that people do act as a living or for a job and just consider the ordinary, unscripted man/woman for a moment. We are here from the day of birth, or as Shakespeare calls it our ‘entrance’ and we do not leave until our end has come and we ‘exit’ from the stage. The world as a stage is a great metaphor I think. We all act from cot to coffin. Every day.
On a daily basis, we smile at certain people or scowl at others (not openly if you are of the polite kind 😉 ). We are acting. We are choosing to be a certain way with certain people. We are consciously thinking how to be. Our speech is a little different though and as I did my graduate degree on spoken language, I know that it is worlds (or stages) apart from a script. We naturally pause, we stutter, we splutter, we repeat things and sometimes we just say the completely wrong thing. In a script for a play or programme, none of that happens unless it has been included purposely for an effect. I have been thinking recently, as I decided on the topic for this blog, that more of this spontaneity should occur in soap operas and dramas. They are supposed to reflect ‘real life’, even if it is a more dramatic and exciting version of it. I think we should see, therefore, someone starting to walk to the shop mumbling to themself, then rapidly turning around because they left the oven on. We should see people shuffle on past a neighbour half saying hi and half avoiding eye contact because they aren’t in the mood to talk. We should see people stuttering when they speak because they can’t get their words out. Or saying the complete wrong thing out of social awkwardness. Obviously now, I am talking about actors on earth acting as another character and this thought process can get a little crazy. But I just mean, television programmes would do well to add a little more ‘human’ to their characters because even with our human mistakes and characteristics, we are still acting all the time.
We put on a ‘brave’ face when we need to face something we do not want to do. We put on a ‘serious’ face when someone is telling us a really boring, long-winded story and all we want to do is laugh. And I tell you something for free, I put on a ‘happy’ face at work all day, everyday. That doesn’t mean I am faking being happy because I love my job. But working with children normally means you have to exaggerate your feelings of happiness, confidence and positivity – and definitely patience 😉 because you may not be feeling those things one day but you have to be them to do your job well. So I play the part.
So Shakespeare was also right by saying ‘His acts being seven ages.’ Meaning, man and woman go through the seven stages of life and obviously acting differently through each one i.e. infancy, teenage years, adult hood. But I think, we also have many, many different roles to play in all stages of our life. I’ve mentioned a job role – but what about yourself outside of work? For example, I am a daughter. A sister. A grand-daughter. A girl friend. A friend. A niece. A cousin. There are seven more roles through life for you. And I act differently for each one. Not because I prefer certain family members to others – even though, naturally strength of relationship does also affect how we act – but I am supposed to act differently with my sister then I am with my boyfriend! We all know how to change how we are in a suitable way.
So who is the director of the play of life? Religious ones of you will say God. Definitly one option. Maybe fate is an option too. We are all meant to act certain ways at certain times for our lives to sketch itself out. Maybe there is a puppet master controlling our every move for giggles and sinister pleasure. Have you ever watched The Truman Show? We studied it at school and I remember not particularly liking it. Yet, I can’t shake the idea that someone could be watching us at every given moment. Not in a Big Brother kind of way but, like on the film, where the world is watching your everyday life, like a soap opera. And all your family and friends are ‘actors’ and your behaviour is being observed and analysed. I’ve always toyed with this idea and think what people would make of watching me all day. Not that I do anything particularly fascinating you know, but it makes me conscious of my moves! And if you think about it, you would think that when we are alone we are not acting and that is the one time that we are 100%, truly ourselves. But even then are we acting? I am sitting here now. Alone. I am writing this, but I am acting as a professional, writer who is rushing to get an article out on deadline. Our imaginations and thoughts mean we are acting all the time.
So, maybe the only time we don’t act is in our sleep. But even then we dream and play a part, usually as the leading role or as a part that our unconsious wants us to play on the real stage of life. We need to listen to our hearts and minds and act in the best way possible. Do not wait in the wings or become part of the audience of your life. Play the leading role and make the most of it before your final exit 🙂