Theatre sucks. I don’t really like watching it much myself.
I think I have that opinion due to a lack of free time. A mother of two with a home day care doesn’t have that much time to herself outside of the house and therefore, theatre is not necessarily the place I run to when I do have opportunity to step through the front door child free.
So I watched a lot of theatre. A lot.
I didn’t like it all. But it was all relevant. It created conversation. It created reactions. And that’s really the point of theatre isn’t it? To create a reaction in it’s audience. To invoke a conversation, questions, possibilities, opportunities…
When I lived in NYC I went to see a particular theatre show a couple of times. It started in a dark room without chairs and a low ceiling. Audience members filed in and were warned they could get wet and or/participate in the action of the show. But it was unknown. It was unknown and terrifying…and an easy way to seek a thrill after a busy week of work in an overwhelming city that challenged your senses, sensibilities, and stamina.
It’s been two decades but I remember it starting with the sound of rain, and flashing lights, colours, water dripping through what turned out to be a paper covering…eventually small plastic frogs broke through and opened up the room to three story high ceilings and players displaying animalistic movements and sounds…They did everything they could to pull you away from the pavement of the city through music, movement, the smell of sweat…To suck you into an alternative reality that didn’t exercise your suspension of disbelief per-say but heightened your senses, forced you into an immediate state of ‘now’.
That is Theatre.
I remember thinking at the time that the only thing the show was missing was the sense of taste. I had this idea of the players beating on watermelons. Beating on them until they burst open. Ripping into the flesh of the fruit and feeding it to the audience. Metaphorically and literally.
I saw a show last night that reminded me of this experience…Offered an opportunity for an immediate emotional response. This show forced me to be present as I experienced the absurdity of their actions and I thoroughly loved it. Without knowing really anything about what the hell they were doing…and it didn’t matter. It didn’t matter only because they did know. They knew and they did it with full conviction.