One of the most widely acclaimed stage movies which was previously made as a musical is “The Phantom of the Opera (2004)”.It was originally based on Gaston Leroux’s novel “Le Fantôme de l’Opéra“.The setting of novel was based on the rumours that Leroux had heard about an actual Paris opera house from the time it was constructed.
However what struck me in the entire book and movie was that the story revolved around characters who were masked onstage i.e. a masquerade. In fact on going through the lyrics from “Masquerade” song enacted in the scenes of the opera, it is impossible not to wonder if our lives revolve like one huge masquerade ball.
“Masquerade!Paper faces on parade.
Masquerade!Hide your face, so the world will never find you!
Masquerade!Every face a different shade.
Masquerade!Look around,there’s another mask behind you!
Flash of mauve,Splash of puce.
Fool and king,Ghoul and goose.
Green and black,Queen and priest.
Trace of rouge,Face of beast, Faces.
Take your turn.Take a ride.
On a merry – go – round In an inhuman race…….”
At times our life resembles like a masquerade party; rich with excitement and grandiosity, filled with enigma and spectacles!! Yet the reality is that we live in a world where very often people adorn their masks as a shield to their true self. This begs the question: Who to trust ? Who to believe ? Who is who ? is it another facade, another mask to hide behind?
In fact, St. Paul writes to the Corinthians, “14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.” (2 Corinthians 11:14-15 New International Version (NIV))
It is a sad and lonely game we play hiding the real us, masking ourselves with different masks and hiding the real authentic us. In fact, the real “us” is shadowed by the more tempting aspects of the world namely power, fame, strength, meanness and worst of all, “the people pleaser” or the doormat mask. Do we need the masks or do we don on the mask using the pretext of society ? The answer may be difficult but will echo our characters from within.