AS YOU LIKE IT
Act 11 Sc v11
All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms.
And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slipper’d pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.
What the Bard is saying in the first 4 lines is significant to contemporary media studies. He uses the metaphor of a Stage to say that we are all performers appearing in the Theatre of Life. In the monologue he goes on to describe 7 ages of man as a progression from infant to a 2nd childishness in old age. But the idea of Life as a Performance is something that is becoming a feature of everyday life for everyday people that are connected to social media, and not just celebrities who are created by the media machine. The lives of celebrities provide content for the traditional red carpet media,the paparazzi & tabloid journalism being the traditional main reporting methods. The media of course creates audiences that are sold on watching the lives of stars 24/7, even when they are not acting, singing or playing sport.This has been a historical feature of culture for years going back to the fame of Olympic Athletes & Playwrights in ancient Greece & Gladiators in ancient Rome. Nothing new with that.
But what Shakespeare is alluding to is that we are ALL Performers on a Stage somewhere in the world. Now with the Platform of Social Media we can see thatthere is some truth in this. On the Facebook stage you want friends to live your life out to, on Twitter you want to micro blog your life to followers.
Your Friends & Followers are your Audience, whether you think you are on a Stage or not you are performing by providing media content about your life to this audience.
Has social media tapped into the actor in all of us i wonder? We transform our lives into a performance art, for an audience that we will never meet in real life. Of course people do meet through social networks they come face to face with their audience in real life. Other than internet dating i have yet to hear of a positive outcome to this in real life.