Kommer is not a theater piece followed by a video piece. Kommer is a single work about artists whose lives on stage may be more real than their lives off. That their post-show habitations and rituals are not unlike our own only adds to the impact that their everyday remains a shallow reflection of the world they create in performance.
In performance they play family members brought together by the mysterious death of “Holden”. The play begins with casual conversation but one by one the characters drop out, their stomachs no longer support them. They bow. They walk slowly to a plant box, lean all their weight into one hand and proceed to the back curtain. They reach out to nothing, move to the side curtain and then return to the stage.
Like the actors post-performance, I know the despair of a night drinking without friends, working an unrewarding day-job, visiting sick family, eating compulsively, exercising in an attempt to burn anxiety, and driving just to get out of the house. And yet these scenes in Kommer never became my own the way that first promenade became my own.
It is all too possible to become the stereotype of our selves. In so doing, we like the actors portrayed in Kommer become flat. However on stage their characters stretch catharsis to the point of absurdity. They acknowledge a reality that really is ridiculous. And through their portrayal, they experience the naked dualism of sorrow in a way that is far more real than the self-indulgent sorrows of their daily lives. There is a point on stage when one character (to great laughter) blurts out in all sincerity, “We are empathizing.” Indeed who, who hasn’t laughed, can really know heartache?
posted by: Marty Schnapf