All the world’s a stage, said the Stratford Bard
And we, my friends, are merely the players
Dramatis personae, life’s foot soldiers
We write and are written, given our parts
We play the characters and speak their lines.
The drama of the stage has two faces
The twin masks, comedy and tragedy,
Happiness and sadness, laughter and pain.
But the drama of life has many masks,
The masks we hide behind to play our roles.
From inner space we gaze as life unfolds
Watching from behind our masks, and hiding
Our true selves, doubts and insecurities.
Each one alone knows who and what they are
Each wears a mask that shields them from the world.
Player and character are not the same
The clown’s grinning mask hides the broken heart
The harsh, barked, order hides the fearful man
The roles we play hide who we really are
Crouched out of sight behind our public masks.
So as we watch masked others play their roles
We know that someone else peers from behind,
Their true and private selves hidden from view
We play our role as they play theirs but we
All know this show is but a masquerade.
So what if there’s no one behind the mask?
The player is the role, the character
Is the player? Could that be true of us?
Is there a true and private self behind
Our mask? Or the mask what we really are?
We learn to play a part as if on stage
The role we play becomes an iron cage.
The mask no longer hides authentic self
Between the mask and who I am, no gulf.
The mask becomes the mould that sets in stone
The lives we live and thought were ours alone.