Too much light makes me need to adjust my attitude

I have been trying to get out of an all-or-nothing rut in my life. The way I think, there are only two options for all things, basically boiled down and reduced to a nice consommé of “good” or “bad”. For example, considering myself “successful” or “unsuccessful” based on crazy high standards I have for my career goals. Or loving or hating something – a movie, a TV show, a book. My life leaves little room for gray area. And randomly, my office was cleaning out stacks of old magazines and I found a year-old Real Simple magazine that had an article about how not to see life in black and white terms, so even the magazine gods are trying to tell me to stop being rigid. I even struggle with this blog, lord help me. But it’s true: I emotionally struggle with a blog. What do I want it to say about me? Should it ONLY display my hilariosity or should I show people that I also have a poetic soul that cries in the night and wants to change the course of humanity? Will people accept my puns as an art form or will they be judged horribly? Eh. To that I can only say, if you don’t like the way I blog, stay off the sidewalk! See? It’s that kind of statement I worry about making because it only further proves my dorkiness. But also, I’m making that into a bumper sticker for subscribers of WordPress to put on their computers. “My Other Blog is a Broom” sticker comes free with purchase!

Having a narrow view of life is limiting, but I bet you people with a healthy outlook on life knew that. I have just always thought it necessary to give things labels instead of just letting them roll and happen and organically just be. Healthy, no? I am a label whore. Michael of Kors I Hated Crash. Marc Jacobviously I am a Failure. This is especially difficult for me when it comes to comedy because I have super high standards, for both what I create and for what I watch. Of course no one person can be a fair judge for everything but as I write that sentence I realize that that assessment of life is one that I have yet to actually accept. If someone were to say that aloud to me I’d brush it off with a pat to their arm and a dismissive “Ohhhh-ho-KAY”. Creativity is subjective and exists because it is judge-able, though. Isn’t that the point?

Last Friday I saw Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind, whose goal was to showcase 30 plays in 60 minutes. At the top of the show, one of the cast members described what we were going to see and explained that not every play was funny, not every play was dramatic, not every play was even good, but he encouraged us to take away from the show what we wanted. While in a way that felt like a disclaimer, it was what I, as an audience member needed to hear. I went in thinking I was seeing a comedy show (how black and white of me to think a show can only be comedy or drama), had I continued to think that way I would have been disappointed.
I always think of when dramatic actors say “It’s so much harder to do comedy than drama”. Maybe. But what they don’t know is that it’s harder for an audience member to watch comedy than to watch drama. The expectations are higher. You, the performer, expect an audible reaction and sometimes we can’t live up to that expectation. I appreciated the dramatic and visual scenes from this show for that reason – they were obviously not trying to be funny and they worked. Some of the scenes were monologues about personal lives or politics, some wordless physical movements (whose value should never be underestimated), and some were just musical freakouts that took place beyond the theatrical fourth wall (a wall that was down for the entire show).

I think many writers and directors work a clear angle of humor or tragedy, black or white, whatever, and Too Much Light snuggles into all those angles, whichever ones they happen to be feeling when they write their material. There was a huge gray scale of variety which doesn’t often happen often in most shows. While sometimes the gray seems muddy as a result of some jokes trying to force their way in , it never stays that way for long, there’s no time for that in this show. The next scene has already started and it’s an entirely different shade.

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