Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Player Is Alive

a monologue comprised of various lines of The Player from Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead strung together by a great deal of my own interpretation.

There is no meaning in any of this. To be cast upon this stage to suffer the same dreary life again and again. To spew the same supposed profundities, to meet the same artificial personalities, to meet the same demise, every single time. What is there that can excuse this absurdity? Nothing ever varies. Life is aimed towards the point where everyone who is marked for death, dies. The bad, unhappily, the good, unluckily. We're people, you see. There is no choice involved. Events must play themselves out to aesthetic, moral and logical conclusion.

However, there is one talent that remains worth cultivating despite this unambiguity of our ending. One ability that creates that circumstance where, seen at the right angle, there escapes that thin beam of light which cracks the shell of mortality, allowing us to suspend disbelief and experience life as though it were not a mere tragedy. I am referring, of course, to the knack we are given for extracting significance from melodrama; a significance which it does not, in fact, contain. This is important, of course. Life does not itself contain these truths we see in art. Truth is only that which is taken to be true. There is nothing behind it but corpses and cadence. You cannot pretend to have anything more than this, this is where we all are. We have all been marked for death.

However, this in no way impedes us from honouring those truths we see as fit for pursuing. In fact, this is necessary. This is key. This is the single assumption which makes our existence viable. That we can suspend our disbelief, that we can trust in love, in art, and in unconvincing deaths. This is the currency of living; it is how we exploit the talents that are given to us in order to find that thin beam of light. We must perform life. If there is nothing to it, we must perform something, and believe there is. Are all the problems and situations we present the same over all time, trivial, run meaningless through repetition? Yes. But our context for them is never exactly the same, and thus we are never the same. Different people, even if they are the same people, are our observers every time. They deserve our full abilities, every time.

However, this creation of something important, something that flies in the face of tragedy, is not a task we are able to do on our own. This creation is only one side of a coin, the coin whose wealth we gain when performing something that inspires meaning. The other side is the reception of this creation. To simply create, to perform into the thin, unpopulated air, to pour our hearts down bottomless wells, to strip our souls bare in front of uncomprehending birds, this does absolutely nothing. Because of this, we depend. Our entire, self-construed meaning depends that someone is watching. That another body with a beating heart and thinking mind like ours sees what we have done and in some way, whether in hate, in love, or indifference, responds to it, then we are validated. Then we have succeeded at something larger than our one death. Though death might catch everything in the end, our one death will no longer be enough to catch all of us, who we are, which has since been seeded into the heart of another. And this is a crack in the impenetrable shell that is our own mortality.

That is what it means to mock death. To invite it in, for all ages and occasions. We do not fear death. Only when we fail to create this collaboration, this transaction of performance to reception, is death a threat to what we are. Only then does death impose itself upon us with its obscenity, when we fail to honour this truth we have invented. Only this idea of truth can create an ambiguity in our situation in which we might be allowed to believe that we have overcome tragedy. Meaning exists only where we believe we see it. Our only choice is whether or not to seek it. We are the players. That’s enough.

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