POST: 'Bliss' - for a play about death, I sure felt alive

What's it about?

Is death as terrifying as we think... sure! Just not in the way you think. Bliss is about the pendulum swing from death towards consciousness then back - to reach the conclusion that nothing actually matters. 

What'd I experience?

Let's start before the play. I write creatively; it's what I do. As of late I've been trying to find inspiration in every crevice of my boring day to day. But today I had the chance to let loose, to let a theatre visit (which defied my norm) to free me like a cotton ball riding the wind. Although I was aware of the play, I really saw no sign of spiritual shifting in the day's forecast. I worked a miserable shift and hoped the remainder of the day would not smother my will to crawl into the next day. Did I look forward to Bliss at The Flea? Of course! Did I anticipate a spectacular occurrence in the midst of boredom? Not particularly. Do you expect a pleasant bathroom trip after Taco Bell? Didn't think so. Amazing things don't happen, that's what I told myself. 

So then picture me at the venue looking at my teenie weenie yellow ticket detailing the time of my play. I sure as heck was sleepy. I waddled into the theatre and felt a glimmer, I tried to ignore, as I walked to the top row to get a fuller picture. Something was special there, but also quite eerie and I'd be spewing complete lies if don't include wanting to crap my pants when the tribal music started. It was a play about death, but I sure felt alive enough for my heart beat to speed and my breath to slow. 

Lights dimming and then projections onto a screen (which I originally thought served as a curtain) made me inch closer and might have made me tad bit more excited. So there I was, eyes transfixed onto this psychedelic image waiting for it to be lifted, when all of a sudden lights turn on behind it revealing a dead shirtless male and a topless female. Because I'm a child at heart - I find it really funny when nipples, of all things, pull me from focus. I chuckled awkwardly and suddenly felt an awkwardness within myself as if I should cover my eyes or turn away but this was a day at the show, and anything goes.

The guy was dead and it made me uneasy when he came back to existence, or the limbo that was. Life after death sounds scary enough but his body was contorted into a position which, to me, displayed apparent suffering. I really don't want to die, especially if it means suffering. Then he spoke in a series of shrieks which kind of made me want to walk away because I was looking for bliss, as the title suggested, not torturous after death wandering. It wasn't a pretty sight and the man's rambling turned into a mental war field. It was him against himself and in my own seat it became me and against myself. He spoke of egocentric greed, human error. It made me feel dirty as if maybe I was guilty of the same. 

Everything on the stage felt like a metaphor for life, for my mental state. The question of existence and the ability to persist without collapsing onto myself is an everyday battle. For me, I really did not feel comfortable exploring this in the presence of others. Introspection was private, why would someone present it before me and make me vulnerable. But I took this particularly personally because it felt unwelcoming in theatre. It was unwelcome in my safe place.

The woman, all the while, twirled around him. It seemed that she wasn't a character because she had no lines. And to me her nudity suggested that she symbolized a natural entity. As he spoke and relinquished his flaws and resolved his inability to stay attached to earthly things - I felt a positive emotional shift. But the woman's expressionless face made me approach such a shift with doubt and confusion in my heart. If this happiness was altogether false, the play might as well have colored me dead because I was far too thrilled at this man's ability to let go of everything which made him human and just give up.


Want to see it?

$9 tickets thru OffOff@9

Bliss
@ The Flea Theater
thru Sept. 25