Perspective

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: March 08, 2016

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Submitted: March 08, 2016

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An actor nowadays is someone who adopts the personality of another and in the process, disregards personal bias in order to fully become their assigned character. He has a good short term memory, the ability to ‘learn and forget’ to assume different positions on issues and to fully represent the character they have become.

*****

His blonde hair swept out of his long face, Liam charged down the hallway, racing as fast as his gangling legs would take him, past blurred figures bathed in fluorescent light. Every stride in those worn converses brought him tantalisingly closer to his prize and out of the theatre, into the night.

‘Those people,’ he thought, ‘they’re just shells, and they don’t have a personality, they don’t live life for the thrill or for the prize.’ He pushed through the strange people, realising that he had no choice but to keep going, keep pushing. Experience had taught him to learn from the mistake of noticing them, but also to forget that it ever happened.

Thundering down the final staircase, he looked back and realised that none of his usual competitors were about. No Hartley, Amber or even Henry. This was his most efficient, precise run to date. He had played his part perfectly, stepped into his own personal reality of precision. He was no longer Liam. He was a winner and was going to win the prize once for all. “Learn and forget” he chanted to himself in ragged rasps.

The lights flickered, plunging Liam headfirst into darkness. That was all that was required.

Liam tripped.

He fell into a melange of legs and arms. Great swathes of its outer layer was sheared off in an instant, exposing the naked, raw parts that kept him moving. Liam’s pain receptors screamed in protest at this unjustifiable, illogical vilification of his body. Red pooled around his body, congealing. This implosion of his body, this destruction of such a holy vessel transmuted into tangible pain felt by all around.

A crushing feeling enveloped his consciousness, blocking out the pain.

He had lost. He had failed to fulfil his role, to play his part.

As he fumbled in the darkness, Liam finally grasped his situation. The enormity of his reality and the magnitude of his mistake swamped his consciousness. He did not know what to do. This had never happened to anyone he knew. There was no direct action for him to take, no obvious decision after his failure. Laughing, he mused on the fact that he had obviously forgotten rather than learnt.

“I have lost what I am, what I love and what I do. Now, I feel nothing, does that in turn make me nothing?” Liam was still unaware of the figures all crouched around his body. At that point, Liam did felt like he was nothing, that he was so insignificant that he could do nothing. He for once longed to be like those people he ran past, just to be like them, so that even though he might be insignificant and small, that he would know it and except it.

Even through his convulsions of self-pity, Liam was still oblivious to the fact that those people he longed to be, the strange people he had raced past were standing around him, experiencing the same realisation about their insignificance that he did.

*****

 I watched Liam race through the theatre again. Although we all wanted to get out to of there, Liam always took it too seriously. He put in so much effort for what, one, two minutes free time before we caught up to him. I always remember when Liam passes us, face red, sweat pouring off him, he always “Learn and forget” like some sort of mantra. It still freaks me out. It’s like all he does is forget all he learns.

On reflection however, Liam did seem to take things out of proportion, as he was an actor like the rest of us, he somehow thought that life was one big show, a never-ending concert. It’s a shame really, because I don’t know what else he does, his friends, his hobbies and his life, if you can call it that, was all consumed by his big Game and ‘the prize’.

Thud. Liam’s fallen over again. I rub my hands in anticipation. Here comes the drama.

Sure enough, I wasn’t disappointed. We could hear his screams from this far back and he’s giving it his all, as usual. “I have failed. My role is unfulfilled.” Liam’s childish voice travels far in the corridors of the old building. Sensing a riot from my colleagues, if this monologue continued, I ran towards the voice. He’s my brother, not my responsibility.

When I reach Liam, after being subjected to his usual rants about his holy vessel being vilified and his criminally insane laughter, he says something so profound and true that I freeze, transfixed.

“If I am totally devoted to the Game and the prize, what am I?” Liam’s unexpected wisdom causes sympathy to rise out of my desolate heart. It’s so true for him and his life that I am speechless, but what he says next…

“I have lost what I am, what I love and what I do. Now, I feel nothing, does that in turn make me nothing?” How could someone so single-minded decide, in a moment of near delusion produce such a question? One that tugs at the fabrics of my soul? Shocked gasps forced me to realise that he had actually said those words and that I wasn’t imagining. My friends’ reaction was the same as mine. Shock.

*****

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new sights, but in looking with new eyes. - Marcel Proust

The actor’s true personality has no voice. The actor is but a vessel for other people’s ideas, passions, ethics and ultimately; life.


© Copyright 2020 AztecWarrior. All rights reserved.

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