Okay been fascinated by the Tax Forum so far. Quite an interesting idea and glad that the government is live streaming it! I don’t understand a lot of the more complex stuff, but it’s interesting to see how close business, government and unions are re the common goals.
But all that money talk got me thinking about something an old acting teacher of mine once said.
I know, I am doing it again. Starting somewhere and ending somewhere else. Life. Get used to it. Anyway, we were preparing for character exploration in a play we where rehearsing.
The play was set in America, so most of us where spending a long time trying to nail an accent that did not sound like it started in the mid west, travelled to California, and then ended in New York. To us fledgling actors, it was all about the accent. So much so, that we were making fatal errors with the characters.
So the acting teacher got us aside and started taking out banknotes.
“Money talks” he said.
Firstly, being an acting teacher, he really didn’t have a lot of notes. I provided the picture above as an illustration. So there he was flapping his five dollar and ten dollar note (he borrowed the ten from a student), and he asked us what do these tell you?
I looked carefully at the ten dollar note and noticed a white powdery coating at the edge. I was about to oust my fellow student as a cocaine fiend when he added a bit.
“What do these tell you about Australia?”
Interesting question which somehow got into a mini republic debate which he herded back to his original question.
“Alright” he said, taking out two quite clearly American notes. He put the notes together. “Now what do you see?”
I would at this stage like to tell you good readers that my smart acting classmates and I quickly discovered the message the teacher was telling us, but we didn’t. Not right away.
Obviously there are differences. The Australian currency is colourful. It has different personalities of course. And the Australian currency comes in different sizes.
Think about that.
Australian currency makes it clear. You pass a orange note and the person receiving it knows it is a 20 dollar bill. It’s like a safety net for the consumer and the seller. You even have tactile differences re size as well although this is more common in coins.
With the American note, the colours are relatively the same at first glance. You learn to recognise them by the image printed on it and not so much the obvious colour difference. In other words, if someone hands you a bill, you CHECK it. No safety net. It’s strictly every man for himself. The consumer has to beware of what he is handing over and the seller has to beware before accepting it.
Now this is fundamentally the same check with Australian currency, although the check is a quick colour glance. But the other thing the American currency does is get you aware of those personalities on their currency. Sure, we got the Queen, but who is on the 100 dollar note? The 50? Okay Kingsford-Smith is on the 20. But you get my point.
The acting teacher was basically trying to show us that we cant treat the characters as Australians with American accents. That there is more to creating a character then worrying about what is going on inside the person: that things around you take and chip and mould at that inner person to create the character we then present to the world.
In fact, he said he is more happier we portray American characters with Australian accents then the other way specifically because it was essential to how we attacked the play. These characters we were trying to step into the shoes of were fake from the start because we did not let them THINK like Americans.
With that in mind, we got our heads off trying to nail the accent and concentrate on the character. Know what the weird thing was? The more we stopped thinking about the accents, the more authentic they became.
Maybe thats the same with this tax forum. Maybe some people have to stop thinking about the problem and start concentrating on solutions. They might surprise us all.
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