Sunday, 18 May 2008

Performance

I went to see the play Oleanna (David Mamet) yesterday. The script is fascinating in some of the points it makes and the play of power between people, and whether the rights of a person are truly advantages or just a projection onto them of what they should want from life. I guess it made me think of how a non-Christian might view their lives as freedom from a god that makes them obey rules, when actually they are in no position of freedom at all. I've heard it said that everyone lives with something as their god and worships something and that thing rules over them. Oleanna's themes reminded me of the "fish out of water" story - the fish wants to be "free" so jumps out of the water onto dry land - but gasping on the bank is no kind of freedom at all. This is supposed to illustrate that freedom is living how we were designed to live - in a relationship with God.

Anyway - I also enjoyed being back in a theatre again, just seeing a performance. I wish I could write a play because I think it is such an interesting and challenging way of conveying information and there are so many ways of playing with the audience-actor relationships. Or maybe directing, I like the challenge of finding meanings in plays and thinking about the context. (Although probably film direction is more my sort of thing because I love tiny visual details and being enveloped in a film which I think is very difficult to create on stage)... I just think the idea of watching other people is so strange and fascinating as it is something we do everyday, and as I sat in the theatre I was watching the other people reacting to the scene on stage and I in turn was reacting to them and I felt aware that other people could see how I was reacting and in a way I felt like I was acting too.

And I think I take too many of those thoughts into real life - I am so self conscious sometimes and it frustrates me. I sometimes feel like I am acting for people and sometimes I like that and I like to hide how I am inside, and sometimes I hate that because I act myself out of character and there is a conflict between the person I want to be seen as and the person I really am and the person I have been playing. Plus so often these people merge together and I get confused, and I convince myself that in acting I am being myself because that is who I am - someone who pretends. I guess what I would like to learn is how to be myself, and I'd like to learn what "myself" means, and I want to feel genuine. And really I'd like to stop wanting things and be satisfied with what I have and where I am. Maybe this isn't possible. I don't like to hear sentences beginning with, "You always..." - I would be annoyed if I was someone that always is or does the same thing. Unless it was a sort of A Little Princess (Frances Hodgson Burnett) situation -

Lavinia: You are always supposing things, Sara.

Sara: I know I am — I like it. There’s nothing so nice as supposing.

(Section from the play of the book, I thought it more fitting for a blog post on theatre. Although you must read the book, the more I think about it the more I realise how wonderful a story it is.)

Anyway, maybe I can't understand myself unless I become predictable. I think being content is a better and more realistic aim than trying to understand myself, partly because the more I come to understand myself, the more I annoy myself with my waffling and over-analytical thoughts....!

2 comments:

onar said...

mmm.. I'll keep on your watery metaphor to express my modest thought.. St. Paul once said that joy is like a subterranean flow of warm water, no matter how much the ocean will storm in the surface, that flow will stay there.... now, I do believe that we all need that warm flow, sth inside that gives equilibrium to our lives and keeps us going through all the difficulties of life. I believe once u've found it you are sorted, pretty much. Or to quote mulan, once you've found your center u are sure to win.
But I think everybody should, and actually do find their center in different things. I don't think the origin of the warm flow has to be God. It could be anything, as long as it gives u peace and joy.

On a different note.. I used to wear a mask, well not only one, different masks for each occasion. But now I realized it's not worthy. Get your feelings out, there is no need to hide, no need to act... no need to be unconfident. You are amazing and u should know it by this time, who cares what people think?
Find your center and the rest would come along.. xxx

caitlin said...

Thanks, that is a beautiful quote and I think there is truth in it - certainly I think everyone lives for something, whether it be a person or a set of values. You're right, it doesn't have to be God, I think many people (most people) are perfectly satisfied without God and with something else at the centre of their lives. But, if as I do, someone believes in a Creator, then surely the Creator the origin of their warm flow as they are the origin of everything else. And if God truly created everything then surely He should be the centre of our lives and living with anything else as the centre is disrespectful and deeply offensive, just as it would be painful to loving parents if we rejected them.

Or I guess to put it another way, it's all very well having a warm flow, and peace and joy is something that everyone should want, but if all things fade then to trust in something transient seems unsatisfactory. And I'm not just a Christian because of the warm flow (although a relationship with God does bring me a joy that can't be shaken because it is fixed, God is unchanging and I can be sure from historical evidence that He keeps his promises) but because I think Christianity offers truth and not just something that makes me feel spiritual or sorted.

Esther Jervis writes:
People have lost the sense that, ‘This is a world filled with both true and false notions and that we have a rational obligation to separate the two and a moral obligation to follow truth’, says Koukl. On this view, ‘Things aren't true or false; they're pleasant or unpleasant, appealing or unappealing, liked or disliked.’ The fact is that Christianity is not about what we most prefer. It ought not to be for you. ‘If your Christianity is what you prefer, you're entirely missing out on what Christianity is all about,’ Koukl. We believe that Christianity is true so we’re rationally and morally obligated to follow Christ.

And to your second point - yes :-) I think what you write about masks is so reassuring, thanks. It is true that it is useless to act because then people never get to know you for yourself, right? And if they don't want to know you, you can be reassured that those who do care about you do so because they like you for being yourself, and that you are not attracting false friends. and thats always good :-) xxx