It’s a common sight these days: a man or woman walking down the street, hand covering their ear, talking to someone not present, on a cell phone. Or a couple out walking the dog, with one of them chatting to someone—again someone not present—on a cell phone, while the dog tugs at the other arm and the spouse walks along in silence and the day passes unnoticed.
I’ve asked myself, “What’s is happening here?” Surely this is a symbol of our deep need for connection, for intimacy. But often it comes at a time when we’re presented with the possibility of intimacy right here and now and we miss it because we’ve answered the cell phone in the check-out line, the airport, or on a subway, ignoring the present moment and whomever is standing right beside us.
This is where theatre comes in and offers us what film and television never can: the here and now experience of intimacy. It’s possible with theatre to create a present moment experience of being understood, seen, and heard; to create the preciousness of interpersonal safety that a person might feel in a therapist’s office, while in a social context; to satisfy in a real, visceral, present moment way our deep need for connection and intimacy and thereby effect social change; I dare say, to heal like the rituals of old.
This is the model of theatre I’ve been exploring for the last 10 years. A model that’s coalesced under the aegis of the work of Acting On Impulse Theatre Company and especially, under the guidance of Jerry Levy: we’ve melded the sociological and the psychological into our performances and the intimate settings of those performances. Come explore yourself with us.