Many of us who went through the public schools in the US
have attended Theater classes.
All jokes aside for a bit,
I wanted to relate what I learned all those years ago
and how it has helped me through out my life.
If you did the same
or either had friends in theater
or at least knew someone who did,
you are well aware of the stigma associated
with the course.
Shunned by “polite society”,
or the “bad” kids,
the theater kids seem to stick out as “geeky”,
perhaps at least a little strange.
For the most part they were avoided
because they tended to relate to others in strange ways.
Is it because theater folk
are so very odd
they cannot relate to anything?
Is it because they are misunderstood?
For may part,
I was drawn the the Theater department
because of a sense of comradeship,
a chance to do something with others
which did not involve conflict.
Creating something with others
(like team sports)
gave me a sense of satisfaction
and an ability to relate to other people
on a level I understood.
As I worked with the Department and the classes,
I discovered there was a need
for all kinds of things
to be don for productions:
everything from understanding math,
geometry literature and so on,
but also applications:
wood shop, construction,
Everything had to go together and coordinate.
I found I could participate in many ways
using my abilities in visual arts and music.
Then there was acting.
I was allowed to experience the process
of the construction a character
and embody it.
Learning the lines was not enough,
I had to think outside myself.
I began to understand how all the various things
I was “doing”
(laughing, crying, self reflection)
were not the same thing as “being”.
Thinking outside myself
became more important as I grew older
and became an employee,
and a citizen.
we are taught how to use our emotions
to develop characters
in plays and pantomimes.
To do so means one must learn how emotions work
and to replicate them for the stage.
In doing so,
a “switch” is indicated,
which means one learns to
“turn them off and on”,
which is tricky.
It also infers
when a genuine emotion occurs,
you have the ability to change it
or hide it
as the situation presents itself.
Thus theater people find themselves
where they need to change the mood of the room
and are able to do so:
for good or ill.
When applied by a virtuous individual,
the results may benefit everyone.
One of the classic images of the theater
is the court jester.
In the old days
the court jester was a fellow
(the only one!)
who poked fun at the King.
The relationship between the two
was reflected in the costume
of the court jester:
he had a small puppet of himself,
typically making a happy face,
while the jester looks at the puppet
with a sad one.
When the king is jolly,
the jester has nothing to do
and is thus:
When the King is sad,
the jester is busily smiling
in his efforts to cheer him up.
These images go beyond “happy and sad”:
(in the those days)
was perceived as the embodiment
of the Land itself.
The Health and Happiness of the King
is translated into
the health and Happiness of
the Land and it’s People.
It was this which inspired
the SheVaCon amulet
I created a dozen years ago.
Watching how others behaved
and how I reacted taught me how
some are trapped in the personality they are inhabiting
and how others use their personalities as weapons against each other,
hoeing and refining;
sharpening them for damage.
Folks have found the right combination
of acting and charisma
can change the dynamic of a family,
Knowing what it is and how it works
can arm one’s self against deception.
Most important of all,
I learned how I trap myself
in my own perceptions.
By studying other personalities for the stage,
I learned how these are constructed
by both circumstance
and by choice,
and the danger of being trapped.
Theater prepared me to be wary of myself
because I had seen how others trick themselves
and doing things
which are against one’s own interests:
self and otherwise.
I learned to be vigilant
for new information
stay flexible enough to change
one’s course of action
should one discover
one is indeed: