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In German theatre is also called: „Die Bretter die die Welt bedeuten.“, which roughly translates as „The planks that mean the world“. Planks being the wooden planks which make up the stage flooring.
What shad that mean? As everyone who stood there with passion knows: Everything.
I love being on stage, it is hardly comparable to anything else. It is like a book, the place of endless opportunity. Anything can happen, some things do, some things not and sometimes we are glad that they did, yet other times we abhoar any differences to what we had expected.
Not only volumes, but entire wings of libraries have been written about theatre, I surely cannot hope to emulate all of them or create some new insight with these few lines. No.
Yet maybe I can convey something of the magic.
It is all about the audience. There is a very special relationship going on between the actors and the audience. Without one another they are nothing. Which should not surprise, just like in a relationship of power, if no one is there to acknowledge the power, it is pointless and useless.
Do you know the movie Prestige? Hugh Jackmann and Christian Bale play very ambitious stage magicians in a time when magic was a work of handicraft and not computer science. I think it is one of the best movies of all time, still I can´t watch it very often. That even may be an exaggeration, as I never again have watched it since the first time around. And I possibly never will watch it again, because I despise it.
It has a good script, is very well filmed and directed, suberbly acted and the props are well made and look authentic. So why do I not like it?
Because all characters in this movie are cold-hearted bastards. There is not one likable person in it. I need a character I can sympathize with, if I am to like a story. Someone whose suffering I share and with whom I can triumph. I am very empathic that way and the absent compassion of all main cast hurts me very much.
Still that is what makes the movie so good. Now you must think me feeble-minded, I guess.
What makes the movie so awesome is the very last spoken dialogue:
“Do you understand, why we do this?”
I forgot this sentence, but the meaning is irrelevant.
“No. It is the expression on their faces.” (German: Es ist der Ausruck auf ihren Gesichtern.)
And that´s it. The characters sacrifice everything to their passion. Anything has to be done to outrival each other, to be the more famous magician, to enthrall the audience.
The moment you stand on stage and are applauded, the moment you see the joy and happiness you brought into these peoples hearts, it is a moving moment. It almost drives me to tears everytime I am up there. Hell, it even drives me to tears just thinking about this moment while I write this.
I think it is the knowledge to have brightened the life of someone else, if only for a moment. The world is a hotpot of misery, sorrow and suffering as it is. Most people make it even worse by thinking too much about it. It is hard to find solace and shelter in this dimension. So if you can help lift this misery for a brief time and maybe bring back hope and joy of living (for after all living is a great thing), you can, and should, be happy.
I am not finished with this topic, but my batteries are dying here in the train, so I will have to return later on. When? Good question. Time will tell, but it will go on.
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