Sunday, December 4, 2016

A Panic, A Play And A Point

Lynn Ferguson wrote a play a while back. Before I married her. Before I even met her. That play is just as relevant now, if not more so, than it was back then.

But when you tell someone in Los Angeles that your wife's doing a one-woman theatre show... 

You're met with a glimmer of panic in their eyes.  They freeze, making no facial movements, trying desperately to hide their panic. They're picturing in their mind that time they went to a lovely friend's play... and lost 2 hours of their life whilst their normally amazing friend subjected them to to their complete acting range of accents, silly voices, anger, shouting, top hat wearing and tap dancing... And all in a tiny theatre where to exit would mean walking in front of the stage. 

There is no cage, in any jail, that makes you feel as trapped as you do in such a situation.

I reduce the panic by saying, "It's a play about a woman falling in love with a fish."

15-20% of the panic is lifted. Comedy in LA can be just as excruciating as any play... however the venues usually have an easier escape route!

I don't know what to say at this point.

"It's won awards" I say feebly.

"It's played to sold-out venues in Edinburgh, Melbourne, Hong Kong and London." I say proudly.

"It's only 55 minutes long." I say desperately.

If the panic hasn't gone then nothing can reduce it now!
On Thursday (Dec 1st) Lynn started a three Thursday run at the Sidewalk Studio Theatre.

Lynn chips away at the panic of being trapped in a small theatre from the moment you enter. She's not hidden away. She's talking to friends and being introduced to their friends. She hasn't broken the 4th wall, she doesn't believe it exists. 

It's difficult to describe the journey exactly but:
  1. You find yourself laughing, laughing a lot,
  2. You start to feel an affinity with that woman who falls in love with a fish, 
  3. You start to get annoyed at a society that doesn't tolerate difference,
  4. You understand the isolation and the choices being made,
  5. You never want to eat fish again! (perhaps),
And then you find that you don't want to leave that tiny theatre... and you want to talk to everyone... especially Lynn.

David (the fish) is interchangeable with any difference that you or your friends have endured. 

Race, religion, sexuality, gender identity, political view... 

We're all different and this play helps us see the joy in the differences.