Thursday, October 06, 2005

Ten Times Larger than Life by TM Edwin Ebreo

You probably heard this phrase before… I first heard it when I joined a theater group back in college. Our stage director always tell us to act 10 times larger than life. This means make big movements and exaggerate emotions because when we occupy the stage, the audience in the last row can only see us as 12 inch moving figures that if we do not exaggerate our movements and acting, it will be very difficult to get their attention. He told us that we are performing for an imaginary old lady seated in the last row who has poor eyesight and hard at hearing and that we ought to give her our best performance. He said that the poor old lady must feel the story, our happiness, our anguish and the message we are trying to convey or else we would have wasted her ticket.

“Acting is believing,” that is what he said. Before you can convince your audience that you are the role you are playing, you must first convince yourself. If your role is that of a beggar, you don’t just act like a beggar, you also, think like a beggar, feel like a beggar, even smell like a beggar. You must carry his burden, see yourself experiencing his pains, then and only then can you effectively play his role. I personally experienced this when I played a role in the play Ang Paglilitis ni Mang Serapio which won the first National Drama Competition in CCP, but that’s another story.

What did I learn from my short stint as a stage actor? When I went out into the real world I realized that everything my director told me still holds true. We need to act 10 times larger than life. I saw that the world is indeed a stage and all of us actors. The only good thing about this life stage is that we get to choose our role. We can choose to take big roles or small ones. We can choose to be heroes or villains or damsels in distress. Yes, we do not write our own stories, God does, but we have a hand in it whenever we choose how to respond to each situation presented to us. The plot thickens as we bring excitement to our own stories when we choose to face life’s challenges rather than succumb to them. Each of us has a story to tell. The ending could be happy or sad, successful or tragic. Endings are important as we all strive to make it a happy one but what’s more important is the fight we put in along the way.

As my stage director used to say, act 10 times larger than life. That is the way to affect others by your performance. Do not settle for mediocrity; strive for a performance worthy of an encore. What does this mean? Just like how people play roles in our lives, we also play roles in theirs. We should strive to touch their lives in the way we want our lives to be touched. Help in big and small ways, be your best for your sake and the sake of others. That my friends is a life performance worthy of an encore, for that is the way for people to want us to reappear in their own play.

So, what is your story? How are things unfolding? How are you at adding excitement into your life’s story? How do you want others to brand it? Adventure? Fantasy, Comedy, Suspense thriller or horror? You decide. What ever role you desire, pursue it believe in it, give it your best, act 10 times larger than life and, oh, Break a leg!

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