Tinker, Taylor, Soldier, Sailor, Rich man, Poor man, Beggar man, Thief.
A role is anything you identify with, which has a beginning and an end. It becomes the past and moves into the future. It squeezes out the present in between. It is anything that can be put after “I am....” or “I was...” or I will be...” It is the dwelling place of the Ego.
You are not born playing a role, unless the karmic pressure is enormous.
Being born is being part of the continuous flow of reality in present time.
Reality lasts forever as a variable continuum and is always there underneath the roles (you can have cancer while acting Hamlet or stockbroker) or between roles (you can have a real broken nose if, between sitting waiting for a bus and jumping on the bus, you trip and fall on your face).
Roles have beginnings and ends. Reality is forever...
So what is Reality?. Buddhists call it Suffering. Some call it “fun”, some a “drag”, a “veil of tears”, an “accident”, “a wondrous miracle”..
First of all, it is Not its Name. It is whatever is truly here and now at all times. Call it what you like...
Roles can be projected onto others (so that they will conform to a role you yourself are playing). An excuse is a role. “That is the enemy! Therefore I can (have to) kill him.”
While you are playing a role, you draw in memories, “facts”, environment, and especially people that will support it. Or, if all else fails, will OPPOSE it.
Even if your role is a monologue (in the centre of) an empty stage, the least you can get by with is one member of audience.
Otherwise, the caretaker will come in and turn off the lights.