The lights come on - It's show time. I’m excited! Kaytlin comes on and, as the room becomes quiet, I'm eager to hear her speak. After a twenty second pause, which felt eternal, she begins to tell her story. Kaytlin speaks about her childhood growing up in North Carolina. Being the only child led her to making a decision at the age of seventeen - to become an escort.
Before the play even started the audience and I witnessed a man on stage pace back and forth for about 20 minutes. Of course, I found this pretty intriguing. The lights dimmed but the question in my mind remained still, “Do I really matter?”
It’s always a pleasant surprise to relate to a culture that I would have never expected to associate with. The last little quirk that made going to this play all the more memorable was the attention to detail the crew and cast had to its audience. Unholy hell was it literally Hell outside the church doors (puns on fire - puns on puns) and it's the first time I have ever been offered a free cup of cold water even rarer a frozen balloon. YES - a frozen water balloon.
As the initial shock of learning that this was a comedy/musical fades, I find myself getting really into it. Characters come and go, and soon Jesus is born. At this point in the show, which I thought was actually the end of the show, a thought finds its way racing into my head that invades my brain for the rest of the show. What kind of toys did Joseph make for Jesus?
The play opens with a train car scene - one guy sitting reading a book and another standing and holding a pole. Suddenly, two guys break into the scene yelling “What time is it? SHOW TIME!” They rip off their clothes revealing tutus and do an intricate, choreographed ballet routine. I died laughing. It was a twist on the usual train entertainment that most New Yorkers experience.
I am introduced to three extremely different characters and immediately I bestow upon each of them a word. The first to be introduced, Masha, had me overcome with a heavy feeling of restlessness. Despite this, her character’s humor clashing with her slight sadness made me feel right at home and she became my favorite.
One of the moments that I connected with the most was when Miss Levy talked about her self-doubt regarding being a teacher because it meant she had failed… after all “those who can’t do, teach” right? Oh boy, if I had a penny for every time I hear that. As an aspiring teacher I’m all too familiar with the phrase.
A dancer portraying a little girl is the focal point and she interacts with butterflies and basks in their beauty and life. The part of the dance that shows all the butterflies dying, actually had me crying. The raw emotion on the dancers faces with the thuds of the drums in the music, it was so heartbreaking.
I spent the vast majority of the 80-minute performance bellowing with laughter. The mix of stand up comedy, small skits, spoken word-style poetry and musical numbers thrilled me. I found myself constantly surprised by the variety the duo unleashed. At some point in the early beginnings of the show, they started singing about the “bowl-cut blues”, and I remembered my lovely bowl shaped haircut at five years old. Not a great look.
As the show continues, all I keep thinking is “This is exactly how I am”. I am a messy combination of both of these characters. Stubborn but hopelessly romantic. Passionate but also reserved. There are moments of longing, hope, uncertainty and overthinking that are a part of a vicious emotional cycle that I am all too familiar with.