Monday, May 22, 2006

Authority

A major theme of my emerging acting career seems to be what we can call, 'the nature of authority.' I find myself being cast as authority figures--e.g., cop, military officers, God, fathers--for whom status is an obvious practical tool and organizing principle; he and the other characters on stage treat his status as a tangible thing for which they must account, and to which they are accountable.

My first reaction to seeing this theme emerge in my work was not frustration with being 'type cast'--which I take to be a wonderful opportunity, really--but to feel taken back at the irony of it. I've never done well with authority figures, myself. I've both looked up to them and tried to please them while resenting and fearing them. And, I've avoided being one, as I preferred, instead, to keep to myself--arms behind my back--and let the world pass around me willy nilly; as long as others left me alone I was happy to leave them alone. Still am. The irony of being cast as authority figures when I've struggled with the idea of authority in both myself and others is almost too fine.

But, what is irony other than a call to opportunity, anyway? In the distance between sign and content lie arable fields, which I am happy to plow. My entire career may turn out to be an exploration of the nature of authority from various perspectives.

In MADE CROOKED, David Wheeler abuses his authority as father, lover, and heir to a family fortune. He uses his status to abet both abuse and neglect of those he purports to love. For the next film in which I act (or write), I'm thinking that I'd like to explore what it means to avoid taking on authority in the first place, with what would seem to be benign neglect, but transpires to be the refusal to accept one's calling (i.e., the old story of the hero's journey, I suppose.)

Possible theme: True authority is a call to action made on one by others (false authority being a means to stymie others, who are asking for true authortiy to be exercised.)

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1 comment:

The Thane of Ross said...

Gosh, David -- sometimes I feel you must be my Jewish counterpart! I can really relate to the irony you mention. What's really funny is that I'm constantly being cast as husbands and fathers. Not only have I been neither, but I definitely have "issues" regarding children and parents (and -- gulp -- relationships). Perhaps my higher power has been making these roles available to me for a reason.

Good post!