William Shakespeare – Jaques in ‘As You Like It’:
‘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’
My life’s a play; I’m an actor. Family, friends, my local community look on as the audience; they usually seem critical… I observe myself; I’m an exceedingly critical audience… My Christian faith says that God is both audience and director…
Today’s a new scene. It’s not a rehearsal… it’s the actual performance.
Stephen Schwartz – Glinda, the good witch, in ‘Wicked’:
I’ve heard it said
That people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led
To those who help us most to grow
If we let them
And we help them in return
Who can say if I’ve been changed for the better?
But because I knew you
I have been changed for good
Today’s unrehearsed performance is not just about me. I act alongside other actors. My performance affects theirs; their performance affects mine. My hope and prayer is that we are both ‘changed for good’.
Marilynne Robinson – Rev John Ames in ‘Gilead’:
‘Calvin said somewhere that each of us is an actor on a stage and that God is the audience. That metaphor has always interested me, because it makes artists of our behaviour, and the reaction of God to us might be thought to be aesthetic rather than morally judgemental… I do like Calvin’s image… because it suggests how God might actually enjoy us.’
Musing: I often think that my audience – whether others, myself or God – is critical. Ames’ audience isn’t judgemental but appreciative.
Today I must help others to enjoy today’s scene by being authentic, true to my character. I must enjoy my performance, not with smugness or arrogance, but contentment with my role, appreciating my fellow actors.
My faith looks to the divine Director’s approval: ‘Well done good and faithful actor.’