Does Life Imitate Art? The Answer Is YES.

Does Life Imitate Art? The Answer Is YES.

Let's set the record straight.
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"Life imitates art far more than art imitates life"

- Oscar Wilde

Ahhh, the great debate over this fabulous quote by the great author, poet, and playwright Oscar Wilde. This quote has been chewed on by both sides and I'm here to say that I side with Wilde. Life imitates art and it's not the other way around.

From the moment we wake up in the morning, until we're off to bed, life is imitating art. To get into specifics, what I'm saying is that even if we don't realize it, the world is our stage and the ways in which we live embody acting. Here's why:

1. We're all pursuing objectives.

Life is all about making decisions....And owning those decisions. Just like Constantin Stanislavsky proclaimed in the early 20th century: how we make decisions on stage depends on which objectives we're pursuing. So much like acting, life is about finding which action you should play in different situations based on your objectives. This determines your success. When you march up to your boss to demand a raise, you have a handful of options to choose from as far as figuring out what action to play. We ask ourselves: "What do I want?" A raise. "How do I get what I want?" We have options! Do you want to play the pity card? Tell him you're drowning in debt? Or do you march right up to him and demand that raise with all of your force? We all have decisions to make, just like actors on stage, that influence the next move in our lives.

2. Life requires listening.

This is a tough one for people on and off of the stage. Not everyone off of the stage models good listening. Not everyone on stage has it mastered, but those who are on stage know the importance of listening and responding. This is perhaps a lesson that people can learn from actors! Actors know that unless the script dictates otherwise, they must listen to one another. A scene is most interesting when actors are listening and responding to one another. I wish this would cross over into everyday conversations and communication. Can you imagine a world where everyone mindfully listened to one another and responded, rather than talking over each other?! I know, I can't either.

3. We spend most of our time improvising.

How much of life is planned? How often does life go according to plan?! I think you can agree that life has it's own plan, regardless of how tightly we hold and try to control where it goes. The same holds true for acting and performing. I recently had the great experience of stage managing for the first time. The play I was fortunate enough to assist was Michael Frayn's 'Noises Off'. This play, for those of you who don't know, is a complete doozy! Most of the action seems like chaos, especially in the second act. During our rehearsals and run of this production, I caught myself wondering again and again... "Does life imitate art? Or does art imitate life?". You know my answer now. And for the record, we absolutely conquered this 'doozy'. Most of that was because of the cast's willingness to go with the flow, and improvise whenever needed. This can help so much off of the stage especially!

4. We spend some of our time impersonating the people around us.

Have you ever impersonated your boss, a friend, or a professor? Hopefully if you have, it was in good humor and you didn't get caught doing something awful! Some of the best acting can be seen in skits on SNL, like this one. Impersonating is a natural tendency. Tina Fey just happens to be famous and get paid when she does it.

5. Life is like a monologue.

Especially if you're a teacher or spend time orally presenting in some context, this is hard to deny. Telling a story about your weekend, trying to persuade someone to go out on Friday night, talking to yourself; these are all examples of what actors call a 'monologue'.

Like that dead guy Shakespeare once said, "All the world's a stage". Get out there and face the world with the acting skills you've already acclaimed!

Cover Image Credit: Klaus Frahm

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What Your Hogwarts House Says About You

Get yourself sorted and find out where you belong in the world of witchcraft and wizardry.
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Sorting at Hogwarts is a big deal. Being sorted into a house is essentially being placed into a family while you are away from home learning about witchcraft and wizardry. Your house is made up of the people you will live with, go to classes with, play Quidditch with and everything in between. You basically spend 24/7 with them. Your Hogwarts house is your home away from home.

When you get sorted into a house, it is based on your personality traits. The people in your house are typically like-minded people who display the same characteristics as you.

When you’re a first year at Hogwarts, the minute you set foot in the castle you are swept into the Great Hall to have the ancient Sorting Hat placed on your head. This Sorting Hat decides which “family” you’ll be spending your seven years with.

For some, it is very obvious which house they will be in, due to certain personality traits they possess. For others, they may exemplify traits that fit a multitude of houses and are uncertain where they may end up.

To find out where you belong, you can take the official "Harry Potter" Sorting Hat quiz at Pottermore.com. For all you muggles out there, these are the characteristics that the houses possess and what your house says about you:

Gryffindor: The house of the brave, loyal, courageous, adventurous, daring and chivalrous. Those who stand up for others are typically Gryffindors. Brave-hearted is the most well-known Gryffindor characteristic, and Gryffindors are also known for having a lot of nerve.

Gryffindors are people who hold a multitude of qualities alongside the ones listed, making them a very well-rounded house. People who are Gryffindors are often people who could fit nicely into another house but choose to tell the sorting hat they want Gryffindor (there's that bravery). "Do what is right" is the motto Gryffindors go by.

Being a Gryffindor means that you're probably the adventurous and courageous friend, and you are usually known for doing what is right.

Ravenclaw: The house is known for their wisdom, intelligence, creativity, cleverness and knowledge. Those who value brains over brawn can be found here. Ravenclaws often tend to be quite quirky as well. "Do what is wise" is the motto they strive to follow.

Though Ravenclaws can be know-it-alls sometimes, they most likely do know what the wisest decision is.

If you are known for being the quirky friend, the smartest in the group or just great at making wise decisions, you're definitely a Ravenclaw.

Hufflepuff: This house values hard work, dedication, fair play, patience, and loyalty. Hufflepuff’s are known for being just and true. "Do what is nice" is their motto.

Hufflepuff is known as the “nice house” and believes strongly in sparing peoples feelings and being kind. This is not to say that Hufflepuffs aren't smart or courageous. Hufflepuffs just enjoy making others happy and tend to be more patient towards people.

If you ever find that you are too nice for your own good and cannot bear to hurt someone’s feelings, congratulations, you are a Hufflepuff.

Slytherin: This is the house of the cunning, prideful, resourceful, ambitious, intelligent, and determined. Slytherin's love to be in charge and crave leadership. "Do what is necessary" is the motto of this house.

Slytherin is a fairly well-rounded house, similar to the other houses. They are loyal to those that are loyal to them just as Gryffindors are and are intelligent as Ravenclaws.

Slytherin house as a whole is not evil, despite how many dark wizards come out of this house. That is merely based on the choices of those wizards (so if your friend is a Slytherin, don’t judge, it doesn’t mean they are mean people). Slytherins do, however, have a tendency to be arrogant or prideful. This is most likely due to the fact that everyone in Slytherin is exceedingly proud to be there.

What Hogwarts house you’re in says a lot about the person you are, the traits you possess and how you may act in some situations. But in the end, your house is really just your home that is always there for you. Always.


Cover Image Credit: Warner Bros Pictures

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How Art Can Help You Take Care Of Yourself

It's time to go on a date with yourself.

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Art is a quintessential part of the human experience: it has something that has been present in human culture beginning from prehistoric times, from when human consciousness first entered the world. It is also something that transcends definition and intertwines with our play of life and the meaning of humanity. Art is an expression of feeling in its most ethereal meaning and "for fun" at its most basic.

Personally, as an Art History minor, art has been a dimension of life for me that I have explored deeply and holds a lot of meaning. Painting is a huge outlet and way to deal with stress for me, and appreciating fine art teaches me about the aspect of history and how all of history is tied together throughout paintings, sculptures, and photographs. It helps me center myself and remind me of the place I hold in this world and the curious aspect personal experience of history. However, art doesn't need to be the stereotypical idea of art: it can be expressed through dance, the learning of a new language, or the coloring of mandalas to ease stress.

The exploration of art and the artistic side of human nature is something that everyone has in them: it's written in our psychology. We have an entire side of our brain that is inclined toward feeling and abstract interpretation, so it's natural to assume that emotion and expression of art are intrinsically intertwined. Thus, experiencing art is a way to personally develop yourself, and can be an unfound way of finding out things about yourself.

Different ways to explore your artistic side can be very easy: as easy as 3rd-grade coloring books, coloring mandalas, or finger-painting. Recently, I participated in a lantern festival and being able to paint a small lantern was an amazing outlet from a stress-filled week and allowed me to express myself through something besides just communication. Writing is also another good way to express emotion and create art: many books are just art pieces, and can be another way to further develop yourself. Additionally, other small fun things like carving pumpkins (spooky season!) or even curating the perfect Instagram profile can be another way to express yourself.

Appreciating the small things in your life as art and self-expression help put you more in touch with yourself, which is easy to lose throughout the mundane cycles of college, work, and life in general. Keeping yourself in harmony and balance might seem like an earthy-crunchy concept, but self-care and self-love are vital in keeping the rest of your life ordered. Being mindful of yourself and your goals is something that I have always have had difficulty with, but working toward learning more about yourself is taking the first step.

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