Someone asked me recently, if coming back to the same theater where I did BLASTED gave me what they called “a PTSD reaction.” I was shocked, at the time: I said, actually, the opposite. It’s like seeing your best friend in the world after five years apart. I said, it’s like coming home, if home were your favorite place on earth.
I can understand the question, though. It seems like putting oneself through these trials onstage every night could be damaging, maybe irreparably so. And listen, it’s hard. It’s exhausting and terrifying, and during BLASTED I felt nauseous for about three months and had crazy nightmares. But I also felt lifted up beyond almost any comprehension. It was transcendence. Sharing something truly profound with 75 people every night in a small, special, sacred space. It’s spiritual. It’s church.
I’m having that same feeling now, with MARIE, and I have to tell you this is why I do this. The possibility that a bunch of strangers in a room can experience transcendence together. Sometimes I wonder if the terror and the exhaustion are the necessary cost, like maybe you can’t have the spiritual stuff without spending everything you’ve got, like a sacrifice. I don’t know if that’s true or not. But I do know that it is very rare.
Soho Rep. is rare, too. They keep the tickets affordable, they keep the artists at the center of the work, they take big huge gorgeous risks in their programming. Because they know that this chance to touch something profound and connect us all and lift us all up together is a gift. They believe. This is their church. I have never had such a perfect, pure experience. From beginning to end. And not just once, but twice.
Okay, I used the word “gift.” Here’s the thing. They need ones from you. From us, the folks that come looking for that perfect moment. When the hair on the back of your neck stands up and you get the chills. You gasp. You stop breathing. You see god.
To me, that’s worth a lot. I’ll pay everything I got, every night of the week and twice on Saturday. In blood and sweat and tears. I hope you’ll join me and support Soho Rep. by giving what you can. I promise it’s easier than doing BLASTED.