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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 10, Issue 2 (May 1, 1935)

Elusive Illusion

Elusive Illusion.

If the world is a stage, the stage is a world to which man turns to forget the exigencies of existence:—

His world forgetting, by his world forgot, “pro tem” to face the footlights or the “movie lot,” where each one acts a part—Gog and Magog, contorts his face and mouths his monologue. Each player is a hero conquering, a jester or a gangster or a king; an Alexander living once again, a grandee swanking in the ports o' Spain; a “clown,” like Charlie Chaplin, in a part portraying “laughter with a broken heart”; a villain—or a mother white of hair, whose motif is the ever “vacant chair”; or else the slap-stick men, who gag their wag through reel on reel of light and lissom play; a miser, or a mistress of a king, a factory girl—who has her foolish fling among the champagne bubbles and—alack! goes gay, until the hero plucks her back. The humble hero, struggling to attain some greatness which is prisoned in his brain—until at last he takes Success to wife, in ways which wouldn't stand the test of Life. But that's the secret joy which acting lends; the mummers twisting life to suit their ends.

We see the things unfold, before our eyes, which in our hearts we know for happy lies. We know that real existence doesn't move within a preordained and logic groove; we know that Sin so often reaps the things which we were taught that only Virtue brings; we know that Cinderella, in real life, can never be the Prince's wedded wife; we also know that slick Coincidence thrives only in the world of high pretence. And so we all believe “the play's the thing,” because it gets Illusion on the wing, and gives us all the heart-beats and the glee of things as we would wish such things to be. For instance on the screen and on the “board” we know that love will reap its due reward, and all the wounds and worries of the heart (which every lover suffers) are the part which they must play to whet our appetites for love requited and the might of Right. We know that in the country of Illusion, the more the pain of striving and confusion, the surer do mischance and pain afford the satisfaction of a just reward; and that's the reason why we like to see life lived as truly as it ought to be.