I played the fool this week. I didn’t know I was cast in the role because I did not audition.
The Universe took a swig of bourbon and smiled impishly before leaning forward to declare, “I have written a stunning surreal play in which Joey is the unwitting star.”
Everyone applauded because everyone likes to be entertained.
The Universe pulled a manuscript from a tattered canvas bag and passed it around the room.
The fates and the fairies and the muses and all my guardian angels read the overview with captivated delight and they were like, “Ooh! How exciting! That Joey, she’s perfect for the role! She’s got such a sweet face, you never expect such moxie!”
And The Universe was all, “I know, right? But guess what?”
“I’ve given her laryngitis.”
“OH EM GEE, you’re brilliant!”
So The Universe made some popcorn and everyone settled in to see how it would go.
The curtain opens to a snow-covered section of the city.
The audience is enraptured as Joey faces the conflicts delivering the dreaded existential angst that all humans must suffer. The audience watches as she gets ignored, overlooked, criticized, cut-off in conversation, mansplained to. She repeats herself. She repeats herself. People misunderstand her. She misunderstands others. The shake machine is out of order. An SUV almost crashes into her car. The cough syrup has Red 40 in it. The button on her sleeve pops off. There are pickles on her fish sandwich. A mysterious stain appears on her gray tunic. She waits in lines. Her pear is bruised, the raspberries grow mold too soon, and the sausage has expired. Every day an alarm wakes her. She is flipped off by a small stranger child and resists returning the favor. She uses too many spoons to shovel the drive and clean off her car. She stubs her cold toe and cracks her toenail. She has to put gas in her car even though she’s forgotten her gloves. There are disagreements. Good news and bad news are both reported. She is placed in socially awkward situations and has strained conversations in public. Plans are broken. She is wrong and must apologize. She holds doors for people who do not say thank you. She slips and falls on ice. She is all dolled-up for nothing. The furnace goes out. People are late. People are early. People disappoint her. True tragedies range from people calling her before noon to people on the internet typing rude things.
Slowly, Joey regains her voice and finds she has more to say than usual.
Sure, Joey’s had a rough week, but the play could have just as easily been about all the things that went right and all the unexpected pleasures. The scenes that were scripted with happiness and good fortune far exceeded the negative ones, but those aren’t the ones highlighted — those aren’t the ones the audience is shown.
What if you’re the audience of your own play? Which perspective are you showin?
This play is an amalgamation of post-modern themes wherein our heroine panics and complains at the chasms between herself and others, yet she simultaneously longs for or alternates between wanting to be more connected or wanting to be completely alienated. Isn’t that wholly, incredibly common among humans?
To sum up, I am in a moody mood.
I love it when we’re both laughing at me, but sometimes I’m an extremist, srsly.
Happy Friday Everyone!