In light of the release of the new Hunger Games movie, Catching Fire, and due to conversations I've had with actor-y friends, I began thinking about what is real or not real. In the 3rd book of the series Peeta SPOILER ALERT loses sense of what is real and true. He doesn't know who to trust or who is really being their true selves. To help, Katniss and he have this 'game' where he asks questions about his life and she'll answer real or not real to help him pick up the pieces. In life I've noticed human beings go through the same thing. In a group of friends there is always deception, secrets, lies, back-stabbing. It shouldn't happen among friends - Christian friends especially - but it does. It's hard to know someone. Truly know exactly who they are and what they stand for. It's becoming more and more apparent to me that everyone is acting - always.
Theatre haters claim actors are hypocrites. That they act one way on stage even when that's not who we really are. They don't understand the concept of playing a character first of all, but more than that they don't understand life in general. In everyday life, a person acts a certain way around, say, their friends. Then if they're meeting someone new that they've never seen before, they act differently. They might act out to impress the person or be much more polite than they usually are. If they're around an elderly person they're more respectful. Small children, more playful and immature. For every different person or group of people we have a different personality for each one. Is that hypocritical? Are we ever truly being ourselves? Does anyone ever know who they really are? We change our behavior based on our surroundings, sometimes without even realizing it. We do this to perhaps conform to the social standards of our time or to make the people we're around feel comfortable. We are always acting our lives out - the only difference between life and the stage is the stage has a script and you aren't using your name.
Is this wrong? Is it wrong of us to act one way around someone and act a different way around someone else? I think it depends. It depends on how drastically we change. If our core values and beliefs change around certain people, then there's a problem. But if we change our behavior to make another feel more comfortable around us until they get to know us better, that's perhaps okay. Point is, all of us, at one time or other, are acting during our life. We pretend to be happy to see someone we really don't like, we pretend to act fine when we're having a terrible day. Everyone does it. All are actors.
So what makes stage acting so special? If everyone is acting all the time why do we go to the theatre? Performing is an escape from real life. Yet, we always find bits of ourselves in the characters we play. That's why it's so fascinating. Who knew one person has so many facets of behavioral traits that can be found in made up characters?!
So while you're going about your everyday life, think about what's real and not real. Remember that it's okay to be yourself - once you discover who you really are. It's a difficult point to wrap my mind around, but it's interesting to think about. Who's real and not real?