Sunday, October 19, 2008

Imagine that.

I love acting.

I love opening that new script for the very first time, getting fitted for a costume, and blocking scenes for tedious hours on end. And then there's the adrenaline rush of opening night, the stage lights (which will always hold a certain charming appeal), the forgotten prop, the caked-on make-up, the five-second costume change, the hard-earned audience laughter, and the mic tape on my face.

But what I love most about acting is--the acting. I'm enthralled with becoming another person. It's a mysterious journey that begins with reading my character's lines off a page of the script and ends when I actually embody her--moving and responding and thinking and looking like this total stranger.

Okay, you're judging me now, aren't you? Was it when I said "embody her"? Yes, that's strange, I'll admit. But think about it: When you were little, you could drop to your knees and bark like a dog and chase an imaginary ball, and no one thought twice about it. You became a dog for those few minutes--and it was stinkin' fun!

But somewhere along the line, we all grew up and stopped... imagining. We learned the harder side of life and we learned the danger of being innocent and naive, and in the process we suffocated our imaginations. Being realistic and pragmatic defined our adulthood.

But then, how do we even begin to deal with eternal realities if we can no longer imagine? If experience and reason alone dictate reality, what are we to do with the miraculous, the supernatural, the infinite?

Which is why I love acting. I'm forced to exercise my atrophied imagination, to think outside my little world, to wonder and explore and create to my heart's content.

And in the process, I understand a bit more of what it means to take on another identity. God has given me a perfect script in His holy Scriptures, and He has cast me as His new creation. This righteous creation could not be more different than my old sinful self. For me, the toughest part of acting is to think like another person. It may be easy to act like them, but to think like them? In the same way, it's relatively easy to act like a Christian, but to think like one? To react and respond like one? To have impulses and desires like one? I must let the Author's script and Spirit shape my heart and mind until the new creation upstages the old.

When a director casts me as a penniless widow, well, then--a penniless widow I will be. When my God, Creator, Sustainer, and Lord tells me I am a new creation--well, then, a new creation I will be. I will study the Script, I will think new thoughts, and I will act in obedience for the applause of One great audience.