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Sunday, 5 July 2015

All The World is a Stage

As I watched the end of a 1000-episode Taiwanese drama coming to a closure finally - after having dragged on for 3 years, a lot of emotions hit me suddenly, and I must say I am surprised. After all, I have never been much of a TV fan except some glimpses of them, or listening to them playing in the background while I do my stuff in the room. Furthermore, this was a Taiwanese drama series - I usually watch American or French TV, thank you.

But, one has got to admit, after catching glimpses of a drama series for three years, you kind of identify with the characters, sharing a familarity with them, like old friends. This feeling is probably akin to how some of us feel close to the characters in "Lord of the Rings" or some of those Superheroes flicks that go on and on.

We not only identify with the characters and their lifestyles, but inevitably, recognize the coincidences of their plights or habits with ours.  Well, I certainly found myself identifying very much with Becky in "Confessions of a Shopaholic" or Elle in "Legally Blonde", cliche as it may sound.


That's when it all hit me, how our lives alone are dramas on their own, and we are performing on an almost daily basis.  "All the world is a stage, and all the men and women merely players," quipped Shakespeare, centuries ago.

The only difference between our dramas is the number of viewers we have, monitoring our life's progress constantly. At home, whether we mingle with our neighbours or interact with our family members / housemates, we are performing, whether we like it or not. Whether we portray ourselves as loud and sloppy at home, whether we portray ourselves as considerate neighbours, we are acting, and people living with and around us are all privy to our behaviours. Whether we choose to smash the ceramic vase in a fit of anger to display our feelings, or whether we choose to portray a calm facade in times of crisis, it is a performance we put up.

When we commute to work, whether we dress up or not, we have audience. If we drive a swanky car and turn heads on the roads, we are putting on a show, and we revel in the attention garnered.  Whether we give up our seats for the needy due to kindness or fear of being glared at by watching eyes, it is an act - act of kindness, or act of social obligations, we are performing. At work, whether we look around to see if anyone is peeking at our laptop monitors, or put up a sales presentation, we are essentially performing as well. It is a different stage now, a professional one where stakeholders and reviews result in compliments or criticism, and has an impact on your "ratings".  Some of us put on a mask in these settings, just so our best sides are being portrayed to the audience at large; it does not matter whether we had a rough night or do not believe in the company's products at all - as long we we could pull off the show, we are deemed good.

The same goes for social  events, meetings with friends, or other functions that we attend. The ways we interact with others, the words we choose to utter, the clothes we choose to wear, and the people we choose to be seen with, are all part and parcel of a peformance. There are some who choose to play down on their wealth, to portray a humble and simple front; and there are those who may prefer to flaunt their wealth, putting up pretenses of possessions they may not have.


Some of us want to hide our sorrows and problems, whereas others create drama with their issues wherever they go. If we piece all these together, or have just that one watchful audience following all the events of our lives; it is all a very entertaining and meaningful drama.  The audience - whether people in real lives watching us from different angles, or followers on our social media platforms - form impressions based on the shows we put up, the facades we choose to exhibit. Therefore, like it or not, we are acting on a daily basis, performing for strangers, performing for people who know us, performing actively on life's stage, dancing the dance with steps that only we could master and singing the tunes that only our hearts know best.

Years later, we look back upon our own lives and deeds, viewing them like filmstrips running through our minds' eyes, and either rejoice in the beautiful memories or wonder why we did not put up a better performance when we could. You don't need to be an actor or actress to act well; just perform well on stage of life, in your own movie, and that would be akin to producing the best movie requiring the highest skills and accolade.


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