What's it about?
What would you do if your significant other or your best friend or your mother one day vanished into thin air? They tell you “I’m going out to buy groceries” and then you don’t see or hear from them in almost a month? This is the premise of Abyss.
What'd I experience?
You are plopped into a scene three days after the disappearance of Karla, the redhead who loves to draw three hearts, from her apartment in Berlin. You watch the story unfold as her three closest friends rush to find her. As each day passes our characters fall slowly deeper and deeper into the abyss - love, loss and the realization that life isn’t what you had once thought it to be.
November 13th, 2015.
A day after I had seen the play. The day of the Paris attacks.
It's a bit eerie for something of this magnitude to happen right after watching a play that directly deals with death, loss, helplessness and forgiveness. When I woke up that morning my mind was occupied by Abyss. The ideas I had from the night prior were freely floating in my mind, trying to conceptualize into a piece for all to read. And then I heard about the attacks in Paris. Almost instantly it seemed that everywhere I looked there were remnants of this horrific event. No longer was my head fully occupied with the loss from the play but now those ideas were coming to a bittersweet harmonization with real life tragic events.
Those left behind - in the play, in Paris or anywhere else in the world - feel the first initial shock of loss.The burden of that heavy feeling of dread washes over them as they try to tell themselves this is all just a dream. But sadly it is not. When a person experiences loss it is not the only thing that they experience. Loss comes with a whole band of other unwanted emotions such as fear, anger, sadness, and loneliness.
But they are not alone. We all collectively mourn for those who are left behind and those who are lost. Because loss is universal.
I have seen that humans have the remarkable ability to empathize with anyone and anything, real or fake. It does not matter where you’re from, who you are, what color you are, or how much money you make. It does not matter if we don’t personally know the lost or those left behind. It doesn't matter if it's just a character in an Off Broadway play. None of the logistics matter because - loss will always be loss.
However, I noticed in Abyss and in life is that the beautiful thing about tragedy is that once it happens the world is more aware of each other’s presence. For just a short while people are no longer absorbed in their own problems, for just a short while everyone is wrapped up in the horror and we opens our eyes to acknowledge someone else’s sorrow.
What I also notice, is that tragedy, loss, and fear brings forth two strong emotions. Love and Hate.
In the play, a direct effect of the loss experienced was love. Once our three characters were aware of the oncoming loss they stuck together through the hardest of times with love not just for Karla but for each other. They could have picked the hateful feelings within them to fuel their search but they didn’t.
In the real world, when we experience a level of loss of this magnitude that statement still seems to hold true. Some people find comfort in hate while others find the same comfort in love. At the end of the day we are all afraid, the fear fuels our actions whether we are aware of it or not.
In fact, the very same fear is fueling me to write this particular piece right now.
I fear for those who are suffering in Paris. I fear for the lost Syrian refugees. I fear for the men and women who fear for their lives in Mizzou. I fear for those in Japan. I fear for those in Baghdad. I fear for those in Beirut. I fear for the lives of every innocent Muslim man, woman, and child during the upcoming months. I fear that not everyone will pick the comfort of love over the easy comfort of hate.
There is so much depth to this world and why shouldn’t there be? There are 7 billion people on this Earth, all of which live and breathe a different life. So much life to discover, experience, and care for. But only when there is a tragedy do we remember the existence of other people in this world. No one is exempt from this statement, not you and not me.
The world is a wonderful and beautiful abyss that is full of so much life but also so much suffering. It’s about time we realize that all lives matter all the time and not just during the moments of suffering and tragedy.