Actors or re-enactors?

Posted by on Oct 6, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

Actors or re-enactors?

All the world’s a stage, indeed, and haven’t we all found ourselves embroiled in dramas of one sort or another or observing them play out?   

The language we use always has a message, and sometimes we speak of not getting sucked into another’s drama, or we talk of melodrama or of the roles we play.   

A while back, as I was thinking about such matters and observing another level of my own personal drama,  the quirky side of me saw a scenario something like this:




Two actors are in the cafe after a performance and a third person, not a performer in the play in question, joins them. The conversation is centred around the play, but the third party soon realizes that the other two are still “in character”. Not only that, but they are also still partly in the characters that they played, together, in a few previous plays.

actorsAll the various characters and their interactions are getting rather muddled, and the observer realizes that the actors seem to have forgotten that they were simply that: actors. They have identified so closely with their parts that they are letting one merge into another and forgetting who they are in “reality”.

“But you betrayed me, slept with my wife, had me murdered, gossiped about me” or whatever. “Look what you did to me five plays ago! “

The observer is slightly amused but also rather discomfited by the fact that these actors have lost sight of themselves, have literally got caught up in their various roles, and have become, in real terms, re-en-actors rather than actors.

If these actors forget their true identity, they may even go home to their families ‘in character’ and children may not understand why Dad is acting like the Artful Dodger or Mom like Lady Godiva! Their partner may say to them, “You are not Batman here, (or Lady Godiva); that is who you are on stage”, or ‘”I’m married to you, the real you, not Homer (or whoever!) and I’m not Marge!”





The Master Actor

stage 1The point of this, as I was giggling at the possible scenarios, is that often when one finds oneself in any kind of energetic or victim-victimizer tussle, it is so easy to become a re-en-actor rather than an actor. 

The true Master Actor, in the theatrical sense, is one who has played many diverse roles, has learnt from them all and knows when to draw on appropriate experiences in one role to enhance another. Never losing that inner centeredness, s/he engages fully in each part but from a stance of connection with the actor within.  If s/he loses that inner centeredness, the roles get muddled, and you might get, for example, a Lady Macbeth who hasn’t quite let go of her previous role as Florence Nightingale!    

Master Actors require the discipline to be fully in empowerment, in terms of the roles they play, and this requires full engagement but also with full non-attachment, a balance which only comes with time and experience.




In the present moment

worldsastageSound familiar?   For me, at least, this sounds like a good analogy for some of what integrity is about, as well as being a really helpful key to handling the dramas in which we are engaged.    It requires, ideally, being fully in the present moment (i.e.  in the current ‘play’) yet being able to draw on the experiences and learning of other roles we have played.  

This is ideal, of course, because we all still have so many unhealed and unconscious reflex actions, but I have found it a really helpful metaphor when observing how I react to circumstances.     Am I acting ( in the sense of conscious mastery) or “re-acting” ( re-en-acting)?    If it is the latter, then, hopefully without self-judgment, I can catch myself and see the overlays I am projecting onto the current situation.

Another aspect of re-en-acting, in this context, is that it locks me in time, in the past.

If, for example, I hold a grudge against someone from year to year, or from life-time to life-time, (or jealousy, revenge, obsessive infatuation or any other life-draining energy), I am entangling the past and the present and bringing a bit of both into the future.  

Ultimately, I am sabotaging myself more than the other person, who may or may not continue to wish to play Samson to my Delilah or Laurel to my Hardy.  







It is very rarely that a week goes by that another actor or re-en-actor choice does not come up for me.  

Sometimes it takes longer than others to cop on to the dynamics, but ultimately it comes back to the fact that if I aspire towards integrity and empowerment, it means acknowledging that I am the script writer and producer.

If others are in my drama, that is a combination of their choice and mine, but I have the choice of whether to be, in any situation, actor or re-en-actor, in other words, to decide between being in my own power and stillness, the eternal present, or locked in time (harping on the past or trying to control the future with any given person or situation).

For me, at least, I realize, from this actor/re-actor analogy, that the greatest service I can give, is to become more of an actor and less of a re-en-actor.

If I engage in gossip, finger-pointing, competition or any kind of top-dog or underdog scenario, then I am a re-en-actor and not seeing the current situation accurately.

If one thinks of the analogy of a Swiss watch, actions and behaviors which come from that inner point of power and stillness are like the oil which facilitates the smooth flowing of the various wheels within wheels.  

Re-actions or re-en-actions, on the other hand, clog up the smooth functioning of the watch.




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