Minister's Moment: Actors and Imitators
Actors and Imitators
1 Corinthians 4:16-17
1 Thessalonians 1:6-7
When I was in graduate school, one of my closest friends was a theatre major. I used to kid him about being a liar. After all, actors say things that aren’t true, things they don’t believe. It’s the nature of the art. He would respond by saying that he told the character’s truth—and that was a fair statement. When he prepared for a role, he sought to discover what the character believed, and then say his lines within that framework.
The important phrase here is that an actor “assumes a role.” The actor knows he is not that character (theatre phrase: the creation of an illusion), and we know the actor is not that character (theatre phrase: willing suspension of disbelief). We all accept that acting (not lying!) is what is happening, and enter into a theatrical relationship with the actor, who attempts to make the character believable without becoming the person he is portraying. There is always that separation where the actor says to himself, “I know I’m who I am, not who the character is.”