The Irony Of Playing A Character


Progressively, at the end of post-postmodernism, it would be tragic for the actor not to address the irony in his or her portrayal of a character. There are reasons actors are cast as characters and so the actor is just as inherent in the character as the character is in the actor. We all know this, then why do we still take characters so seriously? (Or do we? / Who’s “we?”) For example, I was never watching Kevin Spacey as a politician; I was watching Kevin Spacey pretending to be what he thinks this character, which is just a projection of the screenwriter, ought to be. The easy access to reality doubles in everyday life, via sous and surveillance, make this ambiguity possible.

The prevalence of reality television: this was a big thing that scholars talked about when I was a baby. So then what is the value in its opposite, non-reality television, today, two decades later? Is there value?

People enjoy watching fictional stories still, under very fantastical or obviously non-fictional clauses… People still go to movie theatres and spend hours of their lifetime watching Netflix or HBO. I prefer short videos because then I don’t have to dedicate as much time watching something for a nice little start-middle-end package…

The amount of money and talent that goes into the production of music videos today is fascinating. Meanwhile, Hollywood is dying, filmmakers are constantly moaning about production costs, Bret Easton Ellis repeats “post-empire” a lot, and I’ve yet to see the genre that I, personally, would like to see emerge. Maybe Lana del Rey comes close to it with her ridiculous (but much-appreciated) short film. Beyonce with her “Visual Album.” I don’t watch short films, at all, really. Maybe the only problem is that short films are not popularized and therefore I cannot engage with their autobiography…

20 minutes with a story arc, that would be nice. 40 minutes, even. I thought “Her” should have been 40 minutes. Available for free. Interesting to watch. Western dramatic arcs are usually 90 to 120 minutes, so I wonder if or how this would change the structure in a shorter narrative. I’m not saying that I don’t appreciate anything over 40 minutes; I just don’t want to devote that much of my life to something so immobile. Rarely do I get excited about a director enough to go, “Sure, I’ll spend 3 hours with this guy, no problem.”

In 1666, people generally felt cheated if their theatre didn’t last minimum 5 hours. I would like to go back in time to see this. It would be like going to Cirque du Soliel mixed with Titanic mixed with a drag queen contest. Sometimes there would be trained swans on stage, performing tricks. Most importantly, I think, you would have the entertainment of being inside of the audience… You’d get free snacks, like organic locally grown fruits and nuts. People would be heckling and throwing tomatoes and being insane. On a good night, maybe church groups would be protesting outside.

No one wants to go home after getting drunk, watching swans and transvestites and beautiful musicians perform; I’m sure they partied v v hard afterwards.

After a good show, any good live show, an audience member should feel so elated and fresh that all they want to do is fuck. Inspired to be with humans. It is a human endeavor, after all. Social, cultural, communicative. What is the point, then, of going to see a show, without this element?

Today we know that the future is not bright. We know that humans are fucking up in so many ways, it’s almost too hard to process. We know shit’s gone beyond repair so what are we going to do about it, as a species? Jerk off and watch other people jerk off? Homework? Meditate? Jog? Jiu-jitsu? Get high? Get low? Get fucked? And fucked? And fucked?

I feel like we’re turning inside out, as a species. Hollywood is crumbling because the audience has access to smaller, more democratic networks. Just like buying locally grown produce sustains the environment and economy, entertaining locally would be sustainable too. Small film festival companies complain about this all the time. It’s not enough to say, “Wahhh, entertain locally,” though.

In order to entertain locally, I think, you actually have to entertain people. The people who want to be entertained. Locally.

Alongside technological progression, I feel we demand starker autobiographical elements in our media consumption and this extends into every sphere of social abstraction. As the voyeur becomes participatory in the experience of the subject matter, we see success. I used to enjoy seeing 24-hour theatre shows, wherein 20-minute plays were written, produced and performed all within 24 hours. Every performance was experimental, revealing the human’s capacity to work, interpret, memorize, etc. I like things with parameters because it makes whatever product satisfies within reference, no matter what.

I think it is only natural that new art forms emerge with shifts in cultural projectionism. Incorporating Oculus Rift into theatre would be magical. I don’t know.