What's it about?
Empathitrax follows a couple who takes a new drug that allows them to understand each other's feelings through touch.
What'd I experience?
As soon as I read the summary for this show I was interested. I'm a big fan of "wonder drug" stories, because they almost always end in tragedy. Not that I'm like addicted to tragedy or something, it's just that in these types of scenarios the drug is always really enticing and almost always something I would still take even if I know the consequence. So I had to see what was up with this show to see if this is one of those scenarios that I would totally ruin my life for.
The purpose of the drug in this show was to help couples get more intimate by being able to tell what each other is feeling through contact. It sounds pretty amazing actually, even on a totally non intimate level. No longer having to deal with the whole "are you mad?" or "what's wrong?" thing with the obvious lies of "no" and "nothing." Just touch your singificant other and you won't have to deal with that whole annoying nonsense anymore. Or let's say that you want to express how you really feel about someone but you can't quite put it into words. Just grab their hand and all of a sudden they are filled with the same emotion that you feel. Isn't that just adorable? Who wouldn't want that?
That's a bit of where the problem with this drug comes in. It doesn't necessarily "show" your emotion to your partner, it just copies your feelings onto them. This could mean that some of the feelings that are built from this might not be genuine. Let's say a girl and I happen to both be taking the drug. I am unsure if I like her that much, but she is really into me. If I touch her, all of a sudden I'm going to be filled with the feeling that I'm in love with this girl just because she feels it. From then on I'm just going to assume "oh I must love this girl because I felt this way" all the while the feeling was totally faked. It's kind of morbid, in a way, but I can still see how it could be beneficial to established couples who have been together for a while.
Speaking of, this was the exact case for the main characters of the show, Him and Her. I'm not just saying that because I forgot their names or anything, that was legitimately their names (I love that by the way, when something has characters called by their identity like in The Road where the father was Father and the boy was Boy. It could seem kind of lazy to some but I think it actually adds to a character. Plus it saves the trouble of having to remember names. ;)
I had one of those cool moments that only comes from me not doing any research before going to the show, where I was not expecting to recognize any of the cast. As soon as Him walked onto stage I realized it was none other than Liam McPoyle from Always Sunny. For the people who know what I'm talking about, yeah I was excited. Getting back to the topic at hand, though, Him and Her had been together for 10 years and were looking to patch up their relationship that was getting kind of rocky. So, they take the drug, which I think is okay in this case because the love is already there and genuine. Unsurprisingly though, things kind of goes to shit.
Seeing someone's true feelings isn't always the best option. So of course there's a few fights that follow, but even though the problems are resolved the lingering issue is still there. That's when we find out that Her has been struggling with depression, and since they share emotions, it has been slowly seeping into Him. Boy the grammar of that last sentence really bugged me just because of the names. But yeah, after the drug pretty much slowly destroys the mental and emotional state of both of them, they decide it's better to just ween themselves off of it.
This is where the thing I really loved about this play showed - sometimes it isn't good to try and make things "perfect." Imperfection is what this world is made up of, so the act of trying to make something perfect is just pointless, especially when it comes to interactions between two people. Humans are probably the most flawed thing on this planet, so being able to see every single little aspect about a person is just going to increase their flaws rather than heal them. In cases like this it 's better to have those few things that you keep hidden. It's a necessary evil of life, but a bit of secrecy and illusion can actually be healthier than complete openness.