Forget Meryl Streep. Forget Leonardo DiCaprio. Forget Bryan Cranston. Forget Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Forget any actor you’ve ever seen on-screen. To find the best actor alive, look in a mirror.
Shakespeare had it right. Earth is the largest stage ever built and we are the actors. Whether we burn bright and fast or grind through life with grit in our hair and no underwear, we act with exceptional skills. We have many mentors and influences along our path to greatness but there is no escaping how with each passing day, we sharpen our skill set.
As children, we think we are getting away with things only to realize later that we lacked the ability to really act. Same thing goes for our teenage years when we become confident that everything we do is so perfectly acted that no one can see through it. Not quite yet. It is in our 20s that we finally begin to perfect the craft of acting. We begin to see the errors we’ve made, we understand our tells and by now learning from them, we become “academy” ready.
We owe an assist to technology. The rise of the age of digital has not only sped up our alarming ability to act but given us the multiple roles to play. The continually perfect screenshot of our lives is as terrifying and envy-producing to friends and family as it is addicting to keep updating. Impossible life achievements are posted Facebook, our amazing interests are visually shown on Pinterest, our impeccable photography skills are demonstrated on Instagram, etc.
Social media, especially now that it is all interconnected, gives us platforms to be the play so many roles that we fall in love with our own personas. For example, even though Facebook is proven to make us unhappy, we see what others do and we must act accordingly to prove our worthiness. This mask, this act, is always on. In some respects, this is a good thing. We can literally be everything to everyone. We can be professional to employers, witty with our friends and, well, normal to our family. Great, right?
The problem is that it is entirely exhausting, just ask the recently retired Justin Bieber or Shia Lebeouf. We spend so much of our life acting that it is increasingly rare when we can actually just be yourself, or at least who we think we are. Spending time with true friends, and family for the fortunate, where we can just relax and be ourselves without any pretense is a true blessing. Relationships like these give us a necessary reprieve from acting where the stage goes away, at least momentarily. How wonderful.
The irony is that at a certain age, we become terrible actors. It is different for everyone but the truth is, at some point we lose the desire to act. Restaurant servers, other drivers and random strangers will see it first but the real you comes out. An entirely different actor emerges that cares not about politeness, or tact. This actor is not only more confrontational but a hell of a lot more interesting as well. This actor, like it or not, is a wart and all real person that throws the punches and isn’t pummeled by them. Befriend this actor immediately and dance until the curtains are closed.