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Breaking The Fourth Wall

Chatting isn’t really my strong suit. I’m more of a people watcher. I watch and fill in the blanks.

Comedy and tragedy masks

The same play has been running for 51 years. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now, I’m not exactly a hermit. It’d be more accurate to say that I start slowly with most folks. I can hold my own once I connect, but until I do, I watch.

Being a quiet observer is entertaining. There are so many people in my world who I don’t know. I see them; I form impressions based on what I see and who they’re with. Since I don’t interact with them all that much, I decide what they’re up to as our paths intersect and divide.

In a way, going through life as I do is like moving through a play. I’ve watched this production for fifty-one years. My play has no real plot, but I give it exceptional reviews.  I’m not sure about the director’s artistic vision because I have no sense of where the play is going. Each act is different and barely related to the last.

Some of the actors appear almost daily. Others take a cameo role and are never seen again.

A few days ago, a plot twist came up in my play. I never saw it coming. You see, I don’t get involved in the play. I just watch it as my world goes by me. A few days ago, the play got involved with me.

Excuse Me. I Don’t Think This Is Allowed.

English: Fourth one Fourth entrance steps in t...

A wall. Not sure which, but I know it isn’t the fourth. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was minding my business, letting the world entertain me. The play went on around me as usual. Then one of the actors looked right at me and said “how’s it goin’?” I recovered from the surprise quickly enough to tell him I was fine and hoped he was. I meant both of those things, but I didn’t tell him that I was uncomfortable with him breaking the fourth wall. The dialogue continued, and this actor made it clear that he was going to press the boundaries of audience interaction.

“You slept pretty good last night, didn’t you?” I said that, as a matter of fact, I had. “That wasn’t true earlier in the week. A couple of us were talking. You looked like shit. It’s obvious you caught up last night.”

A couple of us? I got him to confirm that he’d said that. He was really messing up the idea that I move invisibly through the worlds of most people. A couple of them saw me and appraised me on a regular basis. “Glad you’re feeling better, son. You really did look like shit. Make sure you get enough sleep.”

I moved on after I thanked him. He was right, I had put in quite a bit of extra time at work. I felt better once I made up for that with some extra rest.

The idea that I’m not as invisible to strangers as I’d previously believed will take some getting used to. Once I do, I intend to be a better actor in other people’s plays. Step one to being a better actor – take my fellow actor’s advice, get some rest.

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15 Comments on “Breaking The Fourth Wall”

  1. Laura says:

    As you improve as an actor, you’ll probably find that encounters like this happen more frequently. You should probably start carrying autographed pictures of yourself to give to your fans.

  2. Michelle Gillies says:

    To become a better actor requires a lot of rehearsal. You may become exhausted and need even more rest.
    It is true, you never know who is watching.

  3. Snoring Dog Studio says:

    I pray that my audience keeps their comments to themselves, unless I’ve got a hole in the seat of my pants or a “kick me” sign on my back. I realize that my show is for free, but no noise from the peanut gallery, please.

  4. Debbie says:

    So you’re catching the audience’s attention — and their comments, huh? Sounds like your play is involving you whether you want it to or not. Perhaps they’re just concerned, though, and not really assuming the stalker’s stance. Yeah, let’s call it that. In the meantime, more sleep is something we all could use!

  5. robincoyle says:

    I HATE it when someone tells me I look tired. HATE it. I think it is akin to saying, “Wow, you are getting gray.” Or, “Are you putting on weight?” They should say, “Here is the name of my hairdresser.” Or, “They are making clothes so much smaller these days.”

  6. Along time ago when I was trying to make friends with an observer someone told me I should approach her like I had the flu instead of bounding forward with an out stretched hand and bucket full of enthusiasm to pour over her…in others words enter her reality quietly. Oh Sheesh, it was so hard and one of my first attempts was to slowly walk over, pat her leg and tell she looked tired. Big Fail. It was worth it to me to get it right and eventually I did although we were never good friends. I am not a great observer, I try but it’s not natural but I do tend to notice those that are watching, and taking it in, and I hope I have learned to enter there reality a little slower. Regarding sleep…maybe too much late night theater—observing. Just a thought. 😀

  7. […] Omawarison brought ~ “Some things that are good aren’t good together, like Chinese food and cheese.” ~ Omawarison’s son […]

  8. Wendy says:

    Sounds like your director is dabbling with improvisation. You may discover you have a talent for ad-libbing. Break a leg!


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