While entering the theater, my boyfriend cut a few people off trying to get a front row seat. He totally left me high and dry, grabbed his seat, and then asked people to move to accommodate me. I ended up sitting between boyfriend innocently flirting with a woman (probably trying to avoid my cutting looks) on the left and the man that boyfriend knocked over on my right. Yippee. I felt completely ostracized and uncomfortable. But hey, wouldn’t you know it, this was just the emotional place I needed to be to really connect to the opening of Kassys performance of Kommer. Thanks boyfriend.
The only thing we know is that someone has died. We don’t know anything about him except that he had a significant other and his friends and family have all gathered to mourn. The dialogue was a saturation of what you might hear at any funeral and, for some reason, it was funny. The CD player played all the wrong songs. The guests expressed grief in varying amounts of humor, anger, busy-work, and distraction. The whole scene was entirely awkward and somehow ridiculously hilarious. Yet I kept thinking that there was nothing said or done on stage that had not been said or done in real life, just maybe toned down a little.
The show ends and the performance switches to video. In fact, the cast takes its curtain call via video screen, and the audience applauds them! In the video we see our actors retire backstage and discuss their performance and the audience. One-by-one, they all go home and we follow. Suddenly we are drawn into their worlds, their troubles, their collective sadness, only this time, no one is laughing. One woman deals with a dying mother and single parenthood; another obviously battles trouble with weight and health. While one man contemplates suicide another battles an eating disorder.
I found this performance to be extremely thought-provoking and walked away feeling overwhelmed. Kommer made me laugh and then broke my heart. Strange how we found comedy in the live performance and cried through the video. Why is an audience able to react more emotionally to film than to people on a stage in front of us? The film portion of the performance seemed more real simply because we were told that these were real people, behind the actors that had been on stage. In truth, they were still actors. The audience knows absolutely nothing about the real lives of the people who entertained us on stage. On a larger scale, I recognize that I know absolutely nothing about the real lives of people I am sharing space with. I have been completely avoiding the grumpy (totally projected, by the way) guy on my right. Maybe I should have asked him how he was doing and given him a hug.