All the World's an Audience

By | Thursday, January 11, 2024 Leave a Comment

Shakespeare famously wrote in As You Like It, "All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players..." So famously, in fact, that to quote it can often seem trite. All the world may well be a stage, but in As You Like It, Shakespeare makes no mention of the viewers of our performance.

I often wonder about an imaginary audience for my life. I wonder what my audience knows that I don't know. When watching a movie or play, we might see the protagonist about to make a blunder, or after making a mistake that they don't even realize, or looking under the bed when they really should have walked away. We, the audience, often know things that Shakespeare's players don't.

Sometimes we wince as we watch, because the awful scene that is unfolding wouldn't have happened if only the characters were aware of some hidden fact that the author has clued us into. Oh, if only she knew that he secretly loves her; if only the platoon knew that the seemingly peaceful field is a trap; if only the ensign wearing the red shirt knew that it is always the red shirt crewperson that dies a horrible death right after transporting down to the planet from the Starship Enterprise.

What does my audience know? If I could ask them, what would they tell me? What blunders am I making? What should I realize that I don't. What am I missing? What am I forgetting? What do I think is important, but is actually irrelevant? What critical detail did I miss?

Is my audience wincing as they watch me go through my life? Do they wish that they could reach through the screen, grab my collar and yell... something. Something vital. Something that would make my life right now so much better; something that could save me, or a friend, or a loved-one from a terrible future. Or, if not a terrible future, possibly just a disappointing one. When the play is over will my audience leave the theater thinking, "that Andrew character made some pretty bonehead mistakes", or perhaps, "what a pity, I expected so much more."

Newer Post Older Post Home

0 Comments - Add yours!:

We love getting comments! Thank you. Your comment may require moderation. If so, we will get to it as soon as possible.