It’s really, really easy to get tunnel vision. To agonize over your own choices and missteps like they’re the end of the world, and to browbeat yourself into inaction as you’re trying to decide something.
Because of that, Simon is pretty familiar. Every once in a while, you have to consider the consequences of your actions, and it can get terrifying. Honestly, the only thing that cancels it out is the fact that people around you, all the time, are also making choices, stepping into new things, blindly messing up in a million insignificant ways all at the same time. And when you let other people into your life, like Simon does Juliet, they can mess yours up too. In that way, the unknown is kind of exhilarating and wonderful--how boring would it be if you didn’t mess up every so often, or let others mess things up for you?
The idea, then, is to let people surprise you. To remember that as varied and sometimes terrifying your own path is, so is everyone else’s, and finding the points at which they intersect is kind of the best part. (Thanks for watching!)
- Autumn Siebold
The onslaught of horrendous events in 2020 has made life feel meaningless and devoid of hope for a lot of people lately. A lot of artists, including Samuel Beckett, felt the same way after World War II and thus, Theater of the Absurd was born. Absurdist plays focus on existentialism and the seemingly random meaningless of life. The world seems pretty ripe for that to make a comeback right about now. Footfalls is specifically an absurdist play that deals with mental health, disguised as a ghost story. May is shown as a character who is technically alive, but not really living. For those who live with mental health issues, this can be a familiar feeling. Throughout, she is tormented by the voice of her dying mother who might or might not be real. Similarly, when struggling with mental illness, it can be hard to determine whether the things your brain are telling you are real or not. I was drawn to this play because it really captured what it feels like to be mentally ill from the inside--something I have not seen in any show before. Hopefully, you also will find meaning in the messy meaninglessness of this play. Thanks for watching.
- Davis Williams
When I read the script: why-shoot-your-husband for the first time, I felt it was too weird to understand what kind of story it was. The process of each play is a relay marathon of mutual understanding, and the script is the baton. After a script was born from the mind of a playwright, it was passed on to the director, who interpreted it in his own way and then passed it on to the actors and other crew members. Finally, the script was delivered to the audience. Although the baton itself will not change much, the interpretation of it is constantly changing and evolving. There are a thousand Hamlets in a thousand people's eyes. After repeatedly reading the script and discussing it with the actors, my understanding of the script was established. The wonderful thing about studying the script was that every time I read it again, it brought me deeper feelings. The actors' understanding of the script is also reflected in my inspiration. At first glance, this is a story of suspense about a murder, but deeper is indeed an elegy about marriage. Like an onion, when you peel off its skin layer by layer, you never expect to shed tears. In this play, we have done our best to reduce the audience's confusion about the script, while fully retaining its innocent beauty and tactful mystery. However, as to which level the six-act play will gradually lead you to depends entirely on your inner eyes. The only guarantee is that this will be a journey of soul sharing after the baptism.
- Ziyi Chen
Why Shoot Your Husband? (Director)
Morning. Can you move yet?
I haven’t moved much since March. And as disheartening as the state of the world has been for the past year, be comforted: it has only been for half of a year on Mars. Score!
I, like you, have taken this half-Mars-year to do a lot of reflection. Contemplation.
Constantly quieting a very particular spiral of thoughts: what am I doing? What can I do? What is my purpose? Does what I do have meaning? Am I enough? Will things ever change? Will things ever get better?
You’re familiar with this existential void, I’m sure. We strive for purpose, we hope for recognition, we fear our own failings and also, the future. All of these things make us human. And “human” is definitely the first thing you think of when you think of the Mars rovers, right?
Opportunity (or “Oppy”) and Curiosity were sent up by NASA to the cold, unforgiving expanse of Mars to investigate climate, geology, and much more in their respective craters. They are brilliant, complex machines that have ambitious missions: to see if there was (or is!) life on Mars.
There seems to be so little overlap: they are six-wheeled, solar-powered, technologically advanced robots that live fundamentally different lives than we do. And yet, they can be just like us. They sing. They take selfies. They do their best. And in Rocks Algae Water Stars, they are a mirror to us as we navigate these extraordinary times: examining their relationships and their humanity. Their isolation just happens to be on a different planet.
I’ve spent a lot of time crying over the Mars rovers. This not only speaks volumes about me, but Opportunity and Curiosity and what they represent. I hope you see yourselves in them, and know it’s going to be okay.
There is something.
- Gracelyn Nguyen
Rocks Algae Water Stars (Director)
“Who in their right mind would direct a farce during a pandemic? They’re so physical.” “The show is set during the Bush administration, it’s not relevant anymore.” “You’re ugly, can’t spell, and I hate you.” Well thanks Mom, that means a lot.
I really wanted to direct a farce. Taking such a physical genre and doing it during a non-physical time is something that I thought was really interesting, and I was fortunate enough to find The Faucets of the Law. This show takes all the buffoonery of a farce and focuses it into one of the most buffoonish institutions in the world: the FBI. It makes total sense. What’s more farcical than a bloated bureaucracy bolstered by big b(g)overnment bashers?
The FBI has exploded in size and scope over the last 20 years as Big Surveillance has gotten bigger and the government has cared more and more about keeping tabs on their citizens. For years the morality of the government (and tech companies) being given the right to ignore privacy has been challenged, and we have nothing to show for it. Even the most symbolic and popular gesture, the pardoning of Edward Snowden, has never even been brought up on the federal stage, and any hopes of a watchdog agency to preserve the privacy of the public are at best a far off ideal and at worst an unrealistic fantasy.
Cary Pepper combines Monty Python levels of farce with Orwellian critique to give us this play that is as relevant now as when it was written, and it carries a clear message. I just hope it also carries a few laughs. Also, I’m not ugly and I got someone to spell check this for me, so screw you Mom.
Enjoy the show,
Faucets of the Law (Director)
P.S. My mom will be very upset if I do not make it clear that she has never said I was ugly or that she hated me, but she has told me I can’t spell many times when we reviewed for spelling tests.