Honestly when I (pretend to) watch television or a film on my television set, I’m usually doing something else. I’m not mult-tasking, I’m just bored.
I do watch Glee on Hulu (commercial-free). I also admit to watching tons of 2-5 minute videos on YouTube, and have even been sucked into multi-part series on such topics as religion, mathematics, and evolution. Okay, I admit it. I’m a geek.
However when I witness a movie or a play in a theater I do expect to engage; become completely and emotionally involved with the story to the extent that I may lose myself in it.
I believe that if I commit as deeply to the script, direction, and performances, as the production does itself, my experience whether good or bad, will have done what I sought when I purchased the ticket; I will have been moved.
Have you ever not gone to the theater because of subconscious or conscious emotional and physical trauma directly related to the world of the play, and going there again is too frightening to contemplate?
Last year I actually got lost driving to go witness a local production of Edson’s WIT. I mean, I literally drove around in circles. Of course it was night and I was glasses-less; my stigmatisms made being lost even more surreal. Of course it was the year of my ten-year-cancer-free mark, and I guess I was too freaked out to witness somebody else’s cathartic moment.
The first time I experienced this type of physical reaction of “do not see that play” was around 1991. The event that I am currently avoiding closes this weekend. How do I explain to a respected colleague that his highly-touted and “fun” theater event is actually a traumatic reminder of something that I remember happening to me when I was five-years-old? I can’t and I probably won’t.
While I admit to feeling perplexed when I read about writing from a consumerist point-of-view, I do understand their motive. I just happen to want to write plays that address great trauma with humor, because that is my life experience.
For even as much as I attempt to avoid reliving these events as an audience member, these are the stories that pour out of my subconscious through my fingertips into my computer. I write plays even I don’t want to witness. Ah, the irony.