This week, I was invited to check out a play over at Arts Court. I will confess here and now that despite my best efforts, I don’t make it to the theatre often. Usually in a year, I’m good for one “big” performance at the NAC and one “small” performance, usually at Arts Court. All of this to say, this is not a review from a theatre critic.
The play in question was Third Wall Theatre’s Woyzeck’s Head, only an hour long, with three exceptionally hard-working cast members. Some might consider it a bit difficult to watch. I found it a bit difficult to watch.
Here’s why: my life is not a terribly difficult one. This morning I considered the process of cooking my own breakfast to be too arduous a task, so I bought a breakfast sandwich. From a drive-through.
Should you choose to see this piece, over the course of an hour, you will watch a man suffer exceptional humiliation and pain. He is tortured emotionally, mentally, and physically.
“So what?” you might say. “I watch Game of Thrones every Sunday,” you may think.
It’s incredibly different when it’s a real human being, not ten feet away from where you’re sitting.
As part of my aforementioned privileged existence, I very rarely witness human beings suffering inhuman conditions. Lives that are much, much harder than my own seem very far away, generally speaking. Seeing misery and anguish in person stirs something in you, even as you remember that it’s just a performance. So yes, you’ll be uncomfortable. It’s testament to how talented the performers are that they can make you feel that way.
Not into seeing a human being suffer for an hour? I get that. Particularly if you’re not a “theatre person”, this may or may not be the one to start with. I’m not making the case for any one performance today: I just want to make the case for stepping out of your comfort zone. Theatre does that, without fail. April 29th & 30th are the last days for Woyzeck’s Head, but just a reminder that Ottawa has an awesome Fringe Festival from June 15 to 26, 2016 that everyone should build into their summer plans.
Any performances to send my way? Let me know!