What are we talking about today?

Some days have themes. I don't necessarily post something in each of these topic areas every week.

Sunday: Church-related or spiritual things.
Monday: Running.
Tuesday: Books.
Wednesday: Transportation.
Friday: Green living.

30 January 2012

How Will You Perform Today?

I'm taking a class called "Intro to Theatre" this semester. It's an elective, entirely for fun (you'd think I would have learned not to take classes "for fun" after French, which nearly killed me), and I think I'll come to love this class, for all that it is at eight in the morning.

Wednesday's lecture was about defining theatre vs. performance. It was the sort of thing that seems obvious, but we rarely put into words. The gist is, not all performance is theatre, because life is all about performance.

I know! Makes sense, right? When I get up in the morning and get dressed, I'm performing a ritual, a restored behaviour, that we all do every day. The same goes for brushing my teeth, fixing my hair, and eating my breakfast. Routine, yes-- but still a ritual, still a performance.

And of course the performance is bigger than that, because these rituals I perform in my home have effects once I leave. What do the clothes I choose say about me? (In my case, they say, "This was the t-shirt at the front of my closet this morning".) What kind of performance am I making when I choose fresh breath and tidy hair over the less-pleasant alternatives? 

But it goes further than that, because these performances not only affect the performer, but also the audience. What does it do to you when someone near you is wearing a cheery colour and a bright smile because she had breakfast and is in a good mood? What about the opposite? Or how about the range of reactions when two people are wearing the same thing, from, "Hey, cool," to "How dare you?" Our performances all bump into each other, mixing and mingling at the edges, and bounce back to affect the respective performers in a new way. No wonder we all have sensory overload.

Do you ever think of life as a performance? What do you want your performance to say about you?


Anonymous said...

Life as performance art? Theatre imitating life? Yes, I have always been aware of life as performance. We all wear our masks.

Su said...

'Tis true.

The Golden Eagle said...

Interesting post!

I sometimes think of it as a performance; though not always. It depends on the situation and how serious it is.

Su said...

It could certainly be stretched to a fine point, and there is the matter of intentionality as well. If I'm sitting in a library reading, one might say I was performing, and they would be correct in that I'm giving off some aspect of my personality. But really, I'm just sitting there thinking about the book.

JEFritz said...

Hm, interesting. A lot of my life is performing not to be noticed (so shy!). And it truly is a performance. I work at it because I prefer to blend into the background, observe without being noticed (because I'm sneaky;). Really cool train of thought you've inspired.

Good luck with the 8 am. I only did that once. Literally once. I dropped the class that day. It was so not worth getting up that early.

Su said...

LOL @ dropping the class the same day. I'm programmed to be a morning person, but 18 months of college life has messed with my circadian rhythms a bit.

And I'm enjoying the thought of you sneaking around. Try not to let the TSA see you doing that. ;)