Acting and the Human Condition

Naturally, Shakespeare got it right. Everybody is an actor. He expounded that notion in his original and poetic way in lines familiar to all of us in his play, “As You Like It,” Here are a few of them:

“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…..”

Not that the idea was original with the Bard. He just expressed it way better than anyone else! But it had new meaning to me when I began to think about acting after Jordan Rich brought up the subject in the last podcast. Thinking about it, I thought how much we all act all the time. Take lying. That is acting. We do it every day, sometimes for good, sometimes for bad, sometimes out of habit. We often lie to save a friend’s feelings, or to hide from others what we’re doing. Hitler lied to amass power he used to annihilate millions in the Holocaust, and bring on WWII! Haven’t all dictators lied forever? So too do leaders of free countries like America and England lie to save the day. Think FDR and Churchill. Perhaps the most prevalent form of lying are the lies we tell ourselves to deceive ourselves as to who we really are, and what our true thoughts and feelings are, which causes so much insecurity and indecision. All of this might be defined as acting off the stage. Acting on the stage is defined as a craft, even an art, but if what I’ve said above is meaningful, one might reasonably ask, why do we need stage actors? Aren’t they merely dramatizing what we know to be true. Well, no. They are doing something profoundly more important! What is it that they do that invokes names like Shakespeare himself, not to mention a host of Greek playwrights like Euripides, Aeschylus, and Aristophanes who lived two and a half millennia ago, musicians like Mozart and Verdi, and all the folks who support dramatic, musical and poetic presentations the world over – the playwrights, scriptwriters composers, librettists, editors, singers, dancers, actors, and others, of the highest order of artistic abilty. Why is it I choose too call such people “reactors,” as much as actors. Listen to this podcast and you’ll find out why all people owe a special debt to all actors and their cohorts the world over, and why all societies honor the acting art in whatever form it is presented.

People – Always People