Our Lives Our Theatre

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You find yourself in Greece, in the ancient times. It is the afternoon and there is nothing to do, so naturally, you are going to the theatre. You sit on one of the grades and before too long, the show starts. The play is good. Funny. Suddenly everything seems so familiar. The principal character is you, and this is your life.

In Ancient Greek theatre, plays were written with exactly this objective: the reaching of the “catharsis“, the moment when the audience would relate themselves with one, or all of the characters. The point of the story, and most importantly the “catharsis“, was to relate the people with what was going on in the stage. Later on, in medieval and Elizabethan theatre, this didn’t change one bit, the characters were just transformed into prototypes. We meet the Harlequin, the Columbine and Pierrot, characters from the Commedia De´ll Are theatre, and to which the audience relates itself with, just as it happened in Ancient Greece.

We travel a few hundred years forward and find ourselves in the year 2010. Modern life. People are the same; we see the world full of Columbines, Harlequins and look! There goes Pierrot! These prototypes still have a relation with those we know today, and probably always will. Without your control, they are present in your everyday life:

You sit. It is the first day of school and English class has just started. Next to you sits a guy who seems very familiar. Almost immediately he tells a joke, one that makes everyone in the room burst with laughter. You stare. He no longer wears clothes with vibrant colors or diamond figures, and his mask has disappeared from his face, but he remains the same. The comedian of the play: the Harlequin. In ancient theatre he led the play and made the audience laugh. Today, he is the guy you have met a hundred times. The funny one, the clown of the class, always telling a joke. Sometimes followed by the ladies, but always with that lack of security, that which he hides with his only mean of defense: comedy.

You lean back a little and next to him you glimpse a long strand of hair. Of course, you think, she is right there. Everyone knows this girl: always in pursuit of the Harlequin and always looking over her shoulder. Called by many names (Columbine, Francesca, Olivia, and many others I don’t want to mention.) She is seen with a different guy every week, one she doesn’t care about but uses to make the Harlequin jealous. The prototype fits. As she was in ancient times, the Columbine is the girl that uses her looks to manipulate everyone around her. What she wants, she gets, not caring who she hurts in the way.

You watch this scene with hateful eyes, and when you think that maybe life is not always the same, maybe there is hope for us after all, maybe only these two people fit the prototype, you see him. Poor Pierrot. Watching the girl with hopeful but heartbroken eyes. You are the only one who notices him. He is always sad, always alone. He has the brains, but never the girl. This is Pierrot, the character who, in Elizabethan theatre, was represented as melancholic and although in love with the Columbine, she leaves him time after time to be with someone else. The profile, for this case, is also the same: the guy in every class that is shy, smart, in love with the girl, but alone.

These are clear examples of the life today and of the past, when Greek and Elizabethan theatre represented everyday life and the characters were prototypes, repeated a million times in the external world. It is now the modern age, the year 2010. We have technology, different fashions, elements to make our lives easier, even the language is different, but us, the people, are the same.

Our life is a play, or if we want to modernize it, a movie. We stay trapped in these roles, most of the times without realizing it. We put on a mask and read the dialogue; even though we try to live our life the way we want it, life is like the theatre.

Six am, the alarm clock wakes you up from your blissful sleep. You go through your usual routine to get to school. You arrive, put one foot inside the class and you hear “Curtain Call! Let the show begin!“





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