saxikath: (theater)
[personal profile] saxikath
So, the Festival@First 6 one-act show is over. I've intentionally not posted much about the play I was in, because, well, the shock/surprise element was part of the experience, I thought. But now that it's over, I can talk about it some more.



The play I was in is called "Season's Greetings." It had never been performed publicly before; Theatre@First was the first group willing to tackle it. And it wasn't a unanimous decision among the group, as I understand it.

Why?

Well, any play that opens with the line, "Happy 9/11, Ellen!" is going to have issues.

And when it continues with two people discussing how to turn the day into a celebration, complete with the attack on the Towers replicated in cake, and "the Tower Day song," well, you could argue that it's inappropriate or offensive.

And when the third character talks about losing someone in the Towers, and her struggles to deal with the day every year, and the other two then (quite honestly) try to help by singing the song at her -- well, yeah. You can see why people had trouble with it.

I played the third character. My part consisted primarily of one monologue, briefly interrupted by a couple of lines from one of the other characters, and then a final reaction to the song (in which I called the other two "sick" and ran offstage). Gina, my character, lost a cousin in the Towers, and is faced with "trying to pretend it's just another Monday, or Tuesday, or Wednesday, or Thursday" every year. She wants to move on from the grief, to remember her cousin with joy and not with the anguish the day brings -- but she can't. She feels that "to forget would be to forget Antonio" -- she feels it would be selfish to let go of the grieving.

It was a tough part to play. The other two characters in the play get the laughs, albeit nervous ones, as they present the idea that perhaps it is time to change the way we look at the day, to make it into a celebration, to let it be a day where "no one is asking me to be afraid." My character is the straight woman, "the depressing one" as I tended to say. I had to pack a lot of emotion into a bare few minutes on stage, and I was always a bit shaky afterwards.

The play was controversial. People thought it was inappropriate. But I actually thought it was an interesting look at grief, both public and private, and how we deal with it. When is it okay to let go of the grief a bit, to remember the person lost without dwelling on the pain of losing them? And what is the responsibility of people not directly affected by an event such as 9/11, when faced with those who are? We all respond to grief differently; how do we deal with each other when we are doing those different kinds of grieving?

A lot to think about from one ten-minute play. I'm grateful to [livejournal.com profile] kalliejenn2 for letting me in on it, and [livejournal.com profile] urban_faerie_ and [livejournal.com profile] oakenguy for being great castmates.
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saxikath

January 2010

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