In Pursuit of Beauty

We all look for beauty. Beauty in a flower; beauty in a mountain; beauty in a jewel. Beauty in a lover’s eye.

They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder – so we may not agree on our terms. But whether it is the beauty of life, work, relationships, soul or even death – we and our roles are in pursuit of it.

Oscar Wilde claimed that each man kills the thing he loves – so we can kill beauty in our heady pursuit: landscapes, love, lovers – even the earth itself.

There may be beauty in danger: the high of drugs; the thrill of the chase; the lure of gold. (Gollum knew about that…)

The pursuit of beauty may become an addiction: the taste of food; the red velvet of wine; the joy of sex.

Parts of our lives are derelict of beauty – and it is by the absence of beauty that we define them. Even then beauty can be found in facing the truth, bravery or compassion.

I’ve just been watching Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight. (no spoilers!)Set in scenery of outstanding beauty and shot on 65mm it unleashes a terrible beauty in its violence (and in its humour). The roles are driven – like all human beings – by their own particular desire for beauty. The ‘Hangman’ wants a perfect hanging; the would-be sheriff wants his shiny badge; the General wants his dead son; the prisoner wants her freedom; the Major needs to find beauty in revenge – and has created beauty in a letter. There is some kind of redemption in the beauty of friendship – and a job done to perfection – at the end.

When we explore the dark and the cruel – we are measuring it against beauty. And whether we reach redemption or fail to rise up out of the depths is at the heart of drama. We and our roles look for it – or mourn its passing.


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About Mel Churcher

I am an acting coach, voice coach, actor and director.