My faith has been restored (at least for now). As part of my resolution to see a good amount of theatre before leaving New York, I went to see In The Wake at the Public on Tuesday night. Again, the tickets were free from Free Night of Theatre: New York, but I would have happily paid for them (not really, I don't *happily* pay for anything these days, but you know what I mean–it was worth it).
The content of the play didn't immediately appeal to me, as it was pretty heavy-handedly political, at least at first, but right off the bat I was pretty sure I'd enjoy it. There's something magical about stepping inside a theatre, sitting down in your seat and staring at a stage with a perfectly constructed New York apartment atop it, I don't care what anyone thinks about theatre or acting or plays or any of it, that's just plain and simply visually interesting. As the play went on, however, it started to bridge the gap of political-left-wing-New York into life goals and fears and forward motion, and that is where it really got me.
The main character (I won't give anything away, in case any of you are in New York and feel like going out to see it: ha!) is in a relationship that she begins to doubt, even though she realizes the uniqueness of it and how lucky she is to have the life that she has. She is struggling between the life pursuit of "making a difference" and "having her voice heard" and being a successful, giving person in the relationships around her. Well GOOD EVENING MANHATTAN! That was like a sucker punch to the...well, stomach. I mean, I had tears rolling down my face the entire second act (mostly because one of the actresses was so fucking stellar that I didn't know what to do with myself, but we'll get to that)!
This is my life right now. I mean, not immediately, but these are the things that I'm starting to really freak out about:
1) That I will have to ultimately have to choose between having the acting career that I've always dreamt about and a relationship/children.
2) That nothing *really* bad has ever happened to me my entire life and thus I am awaiting some colossal shitstorm of negativity and everyone that I care about will disappear from my life in one way or another.
3) That I will just give up, buy a Passat wagon (no offense), have a baby, name her something cool as a last ditch effort to appear interesting, marry a man who wears a suit to work every day (no offense), and spend six years of my life cutting hotdogs up into bite-sized pieces.
But that actress, oh man, that actress was everything that I want to be. I have no idea what her life is like, not a damn clue, but if I could make ONE person feel the way that she made me feel watching her then my life would be okay. Deirdre O'Connell is her name, in case you're interested. And yes, she has loads of film and tv credits (none of which she lists in her Playbill bio, by the way) and you might recognize her if you saw her, but probably not. Her performance, and this is a huge cliche that I'm about to throw at you, but her performance really did remind me of why I want to do this in the first place. Because, you know what, if given the right material you really can help people to see things in a new light, and you really can inspire people and bring them joy by letting them feel something.
And isn't that what art is?