What's it about?
There is something incredibly enticing about watching people grow before you.
Seven children are presented to the audience. These children are introduced as wide-eyed and innocent, very naturally they begin to grow but it's told through the motions of everyday life. They start off as interesting children, become rebellious teenagers, mediocre adults, and finally wise elders. The children were encapsulated in a two-way mirrored box where the audience is able to watch them grow and live their lives. The children are watched but they cannot see outside their box, their world. They are directed by a cold and distant voice prompting them with demands and hard hitting questions.
What'd I experience?
The play has ended.
I get up from my seat and make my way out of the theater. I position myself next to a dirty fire hydrant and take a very deep breath.
I look around and observe all the people piling out of the theater fully immersed in their conversations and try to listen to their exuberant and abundant opinions spilling out of their mouths about the play we had just experienced.
I listen but I can’t seem to make out the words coming out of their mouths.
I look down at my hands and observe the Playbill I had been gripping tightly throughout the play. The shine from the sun glinting off the slick hot pink and white printed page.
I reach into my pocket and grab my phone, ignoring all the notifications from friends and family. All I want is to open Snapchat and take a quick picture to add to my story.
And I do just that.
I position the Playbill so everyone can see the bright and graphically loud words “BEFORE YOUR VERY EYES” displayed across the page. My fingers fly across the touchscreen to type a very quick simple message.
“If you want to feel insignificant watch this play”
That is how this play had made me feel. Insignificant.
This play’s whole spiel is the following…We’re all born so small, so innocent, so pure. While we are children our mothers and our fathers have coddled us--told each of us we’re special, we’re loved, and we’re perfect. As life goes on we learn that everyone else was told the same thing, that everyone else is special in their very own way. As teenagers we retaliate against the world, thrashing and fighting against everything we come into contact with. Testing the boundaries of the things we once loved and cherished. As adults, many of us come to terms with our mediocrity and live our unexceptional lives day by day. As elders we look back on our lives and retell the same wonderful stories over and over again like a broken record.
I have known that I’m not a special snowflake for a long time now. Being “one in a million” is no longer a big deal because if you think about it statistically there are about 7 billion people in the world. During the play the cold British animatronic voice says it, flat out, no remorse, to everyone in the room. The idea of not being special is probably a very normal thought but it’s nonetheless a private thought. During the play however, it’s dumped into the air and all of a sudden it really hits me. I’m not special. I’m not going to grow up to do anything fantastical. My footprint on this earth will slowly be trampled upon over and over again until finally it’s unrecognizable.
Flash forward 5 hours and I’m home alone enjoying my favorite meal and watching a gameplay of Undertale by my favorite Youtuber. A perfect Saturday night. In the gaming world Undertale is very insignificant. It’s a quirky, pixelated, RPG indie game that many people would gaze past on Steam. But here I was peacefully watching, here I was happily rooting for these pixelated characters, here I was totally and utterly in love with every single thing this game had to offer.
Something clicked in me.
I have been thinking about things in the wrong light. I might be insignificant in the broad spectrum of things but who cares? That doesn’t mean I am not special. In the small circle of people I interact with I am significant, I am special, and I am an interesting person. Just like this relatively insignificant game -- to those who take the first step and give it a chance they soon realize it’s emotionally powerful and uplifting piece of art and that it is worth your precious time. Just like this relatively insignificant play, it might not be The Lion King or Aladdin but it doesn’t take away from the sheer beauty or grip it has.
This is for those of you who feel like you might not matter, for those of you that think “why should I try when there’s no way I can be any better.” This is for those who like me want to strive to be fantastical in any way possible. You might not be the next Gandhi or Martin Luther King Jr. but in your life you still hold the power to make a difference. You mean things to people even when you might not mean anything to yourself. Your footprint will stay visible to those who wish to see it. Make a difference to the people you know, be that wonderful indie game or be that beautiful play.
Because you are special.
Because you are important.
Because you are significant.
And like Undertale has so beautifully coined, let these kind words “fill you with determination.”