“Filled with razor-sharp banter, Pulitzer Prize finalist Jon Robin Baitz’s riveting work was declared “the best new play on Broadway” by The New York Times.” – Arts Club website description
Last night I took myself out for a date.
I have to admit I’m pretty good company…though I have been known to snork at inappropriate times.
I took the #84 bus down 2nd Avenue, walked up Fir, then Granville and soon I was at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Theatre to see Other Desert Cities. (If, by any chance, this play comes to your ‘hood, might I respectfully suggest you please run out and see it? Unfortunately, here in Vancouver, it is over in two days).
Family dynamics – such a wonderful catch-all phrase – is certainly a good place to start for a description of this banter-rich play. But more correctly, Other Desert Cities was about the facades and lies and deceptions we create within our families. The lies we tell ourselves, the other members of our family and to people looking in from the outside.
It’s got me thinking (again!) about the story we tell ourselves, the ‘truth’ of our beginnings. As this play so wonderfully revealed, we never have the whole story…especially about our parents. We spend a lot of time ascribing motivations to others (most often wrongly), when so often we don’t even understand our own motivations.
Too, we tend to get stuck in our role within our family of origin and continue to play out that story line, whether consciously or not, as the ‘funny’ one, the ‘victim’, the ‘smart’ or the ‘crazy’ one, the ‘responsible’ sibling…on it goes ad nauseum. If we do not take the time to gain enough perspective to see ourselves objectively, we continue playing out those roles right up until our final exit.
As revealed in this clever script, the trick at discovering this truth of our lives is to gain distance and compassion for our own humanity and the others in our family. And, in order to heal…we must first feel.
Our mission, should we choose to accept it, is to dig beneath the shiny gloss of those old photos, to ask different questions and understand our own part in it all; an enviably good trick – especially if you can pull it off.
But then, it’s good to have goals right?