The Actor, the Mirror and the Audience

One of the last things the actor sees before entering the stage is his own reflection in the mirror, while checking if his appearance matches the concept of his role.

It is not by chance that the room behind the curtain in Noh theatre is called kagami no ma (the room of the mirror), for it is the place where the actor enters his role, while putting on his mask in front of a large mirror.  There must be a process of synchronization involved, meant to bring in unison that what you are (an actor) with what you temporarily should become (the role).

At the end of the performance, the last thing the actor sees as he is about to retire from the stage is the audience – applauding the show most often than not. What a relief it must be to see smiling faces, with looks expressing enthusiasm in response to a good act. But what if the spectators are frowning? To all the ones who put their efforts into creating a performance, the audience is itself a mirror, reflecting the degree in which their work succeeded in moving the hearts of the viewers.

In all performing arts the mirror, either in its material form, or simply as a metaphor, works as a powerful and magical device, shared by all the ones involved, whether they are actors or members of the audience, or that somewhat suspicious instance called “the critic”. There are even artists who conceive their work as a mirror, trying to make the best possible use of the image reflected in it.

Whether you are already fascinated, as I am, by the world of the theatre or not yet, I invite you to read what the Mirror has to tell – as it witnesses the short-lived miracles created by talented people, all of whom seem to share the belief that dreams and illusions have the power to awaken and to enlighten.

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