Breaking The Fourth WallPosted: November 12, 2012
Chatting isn’t really my strong suit. I’m more of a people watcher. I watch and fill in the blanks.
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.
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.