Gyllenhaal, Acting & Religion

I’ve been a huge fan of Jake Gyllenhaal since Donnie Darko, in a recent interview in the o paper he said:
“I don’t do (the job) for awards. I do it to learn about life. I think acting is an incredibly immature, selfish profession, but it helps you practice empathy. When toy do your research, you see what real people ate doing in the world. I’m hungry and excited to get to the core of the characters. ”
He’s sort of saying he learns by doing, walking round in another’s shoes.
In my reading on Pre reformation England, everyone was involved in celebrations, especially at Easter & Christmas with processions enacting bible stories. People carried branches on Palm Sunday, the cross was carried, everyone played a role.
All that ended with the Henrician then Edwardian reforms, religion became passive, for spectators, everything had to be explained, rather than learnt on the job, as it were.
This is what Jake is referring to. By understanding other people & situations deeply, we expand our empathy & become better people.
Can there be a better justification for teaching drama & arts in schools?

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