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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Character I'd Like to Play

Alfalfa - Our Gang

What kind of character do you think you'd most enjoy portraying in a play? Why? How are you like, or unlike, the character? (Serendipity Bible 10th Anniversary Edition page 913).

Let's begin at the top with the movie Jesus of Nazareth. Would I like to play Jesus? Jesus went around being the son of God and, even so, many good law-abiding people did not like him. He was too controversial among the respectable for my comfort zone. So then, would I want to be Superman who is a more universally liked “savior of the world?” He receives wide acclaim from good, law-abiding folk. But Superman is too unrelievedly “Super” for my taste. Yet I definitely want to betray a character with good outcomes. I do not want to assume any kind of tragic role.

Comedy, then, will be the thing. What movie, what play, what TV series could do the trick? I much admired Axel Foley in the Beverly Hills Cop movie series. Eddie Murphy, as much as I genuinely admire him, simply for me represents an unreachable star. I need a more homely type.

Some years ago I was a faithful fan of the British TV comedy series Rumpole of the Bailey (1975–1992). (Click here for the Wikipedia entry about the series.) If I could play any character in the world, it would be Rumpole, “an ageing London barrister who defends any and all clients.” He was a character who did genuine good without being goody-goody. He was just tolerated by his colleagues who universally felt assured of their unquestioned superiority. In a group of people impressed by class, he was not—though he had lots of it in an idiosyncratic sort of way. He had clients some of his fellow lawyers would not fain to be associated with that he ably defended. In terms of respect, he was kind of the Rodney Dangerfield of lawyers. Married, he had a wife Hilda—"She Who Must Be Obeyed.” He had spunk, spirit, and courage and on occasion could turn a powerful phrase. He had a weakness for ennobling literature. Following are a few short clips. Much longer videos can be found on YouTube.

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