Thursday, January 23, 2014

Profile of a Hero

As we delve into the rehearsal process for Signature in the Schools latest production, Hero Worship, we begin to uncover various questions we have in regards to the heroes we respect and admire. Why do heroes have such a powerful hold on our imaginations? Why has every culture for thousands of years created their own heroes?

Many different writers, psychologists, and historians have speculated as to why “the hero” is such an enduring and inspirational character. One of the most influential individuals on the subject is Carl Jung.

Carl Jung was a psychologist in the early 1900s. He argued against the theory that all humans begin with a tabula rasa, or a blank slate, in their brains that society and personal experiences influence over the course of their life. Instead, Jung suggested that there are some common internal ideas that are part of the human species, called “archetypes”.

Jung believed that throughout the biological evolution of humans, there are some common experiences we have shared as a species that have been programmed into our brain, and that is why they keep appearing in culture. Some of Jung’s archetypes include:

·        The Wise Old Man
·        The Devil
·        The Hero

Often people and characters are a combination of different archetypes. But Jung’s theory gives us a way to start defining what a hero is and why heroes seem to pop up everywhere. Due to the historical connection with these archetypes, human beings often have powerful emotional responses to them. For instance, when we watch a hero succeed in a film it makes us feel proud and confident. We aspire to be like that hero.

As we move farther along into the development and rehearsal process of Hero Worship, expect to hear more about the “heroic monomyth” and how various heroic theories hold up to what people consider to be heroes throughout history.

Hero Worship performs March 10th and March 17th at 8:00 PM. Tickets are free but reservations are required. To reserve seats, call 703-820-9771. Reservations are available beginning February 10th.


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