Wednesday, April 25, 2012

the reason i want to act (part 4)

as noted in a previous entry about 24, the course that intrigued me the most in high school was us history.  not only is the united states the most powerful nation in the world, shaping much of the history in the past 150 years, its story is in my view one of the most compelling.  much of the conflict and strife in america has come from differences in points of view and its political structure.  it has almost been a great social experiment to see how people interacted, sometimes united and other times not, in running this country.  in no way am i suggesting that the way things have played out in this country have lived up to its ideals, but i believe that this country was the birthplace of the idea that everyone's voice should be heard, and that everyone has a story, in the tenet that "all men are created equal."

i am convinced that the entertainment industry thrives and continue to thrives in america because of the way our culture is engineered.  our freedom of speech and amalgamation of different cultures all over the world provide a constant source of conflict, which in turn create a wide opportunity for storytelling.  forced interaction between different groups of people is no better illustrated than in new york city, where thousands of groups of people congregate in a small 5 mile radius.  it is no coincidence that new york is considered by many to be the cultural center of america, and perhaps i am slightly biased, but i consider it to be the cultural center of the world.

living in a place like america, and more specifically areas such as new york, forces you to look at the viewpoints of many different kinds of people, as opposed to an area where the population is a bit more homogenized.  isolationism is easy when you view people who are different as "other", those people with stories you can't relate to, because you've never heard them.  when you live among the "other", you start to understand more where they are coming from.

of course i personally have my own biases, growing up in a specific korean household living under certain socioeconomic standards, but i do think that to some extent, that whenever i view conflict between different groups of people, i try to list all the different arguments of each side, and try to understand where each party is coming from.  there are definitely stories of people i don't understand, and probably will never fully grasp, but that's one of the reasons i want to be acting and in the field of storytelling.  film and theater have been the medium of our time today where ideas are disseminated, a video going viral can attempt to advertise to the masses about strife in africa, or present the story of a kid being an entrepreneur with a lot cardboard and tape.  

i want to be able to educate myself about other people's stories, by playing and writing about different characters.  right now i have a vague idea about humanity, the idea that there is something similar to all of our stories, and that at the heart of it, any one person will have some sort of inkling what it is like to be any other person in the world.  in acting, i want to find humanity in others, and hopefully in turn help others to do the same.