All the world’s a stage

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By Ken Begley

“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts.”
- William Shakespeare

Community theater production seems to really have taken off here in central Kentucky. Washington County’s theater group is now joined by live theater in all of the surrounding counties, as well.

I never thought that watching plays would be my cup of tea. Yet they are. Plays are not as carefully crafted or scripted as those movies you see on television, but they have one unique feature that you won’t find elsewhere that I’ve noticed.

After most local plays, the cast will come off the stage, step out of character and greet the audience as they leave the theater. The cast members may play any one of hundreds of roles, but in the end, the lights always come up and everyone reverts back to whoever they are. It’s the reverting from character to real life that sometimes really seems to throw me off for a few minutes. I mean, one moment the actor is one person on stage, and then the next you meet someone totally different when the play is over. Sometimes it will startle me at the sudden change in personality.

For instance, a few years back, I was watching a really well-done musical down at the Opera House called “Les Misérables.” The whole cast did a fantastic job and the play ran over due to demand to see it as performed by primarily high school students.

Aaron Robinson played a major character called Javert. Javert was a policeman that pursues a criminal, wanting to bring him to justice as he saw it. Aaron has played a lot of different roles in many plays down at the Opera House, but this one was just about the best he ever had.

When the play ended, I remembered going up to tell him what a great job he did. Yet it felt a little odd to me because Aaron was no longer the French policeman Javert. Instead, he was back to being an eighth-grader. The change was just remarkable.

After that, I started having this really funny sensation wherever I went and dealt with folks, that we are really all part of a huge play; that we each have roles that we are playing. The result was that I never had the slightest feeling that anyone was more or less important than myself, no matter what their position in society may be.

You see what I mean?

We go around in life constantly measuring ourselves against others.

We see where the other lives, how much money they make, what job they have, how much influence they have, and so on, and then we rate our own lives against them.

The end result of such comparison is that we may become vain or bitter. It’s kind of stupid when you think about it, isn’t it?

The real truth is that what we have or don’t have up on the stage of life is unimportant. In the end, the lights will come up on all life; we will walk off of that stage and leave everything behind us.

So, being envious of someone is stupid, isn’t it? It’s like being up on the stage, playing a rich man and having all the other actors envying you for all your money, even though the play is about to end and the fantasy with it.

That’s life in a nutshell.

We have our entrance on this earth, play our part and after all is said and done, we will take our bows and exit the stage.

So, while we should all take life seriously, we shouldn’t be too concerned with fame and fortune here.

We should only hope that when we leave the stage, we played our role with decency, honor and love for each other.

We should only hope God will pat us on the shoulder during our exit and say, “Well done.”

Everything else here is just temporary.

It’s the next world we enter that is permanent.

So, don’t spend too much time worrying.

God never handed out a part to anyone that they couldn’t play.

Just play the part you got well.

See you next week.