What'd I experience?
I went to see Her Requiem down in the Claire Tow Theater in the Lincoln Center. I went into the theater looking for my seat and was waiting for the woman beside me to settle in. All that time i hadn’t even taken a look at the actual stage I took a look and all that popped in my head was “DAMN!”. It was like the living room in a cabin. Everything was brown and it looked like everything was made out of wood. There was a book shelf around a door and the theater smelled really… lumbery. It was a bit chilly in the theater so I left my coat on and tried to sink in and heat up in my seat, the stage looked cozy. I had heard the term requiem before but forgot what it was exactly. I looked it up later, a requiem is basically a classical musical piece performed for the dead.
The show began with a banjo playing. The banjo really threw me off. Although the show started and ended with a banjo jingle, between each scene were requiems. An elderly woman lays down on the couch and falls asleep while a couple are playing some sort of board game that involves dice. At first it was hard to understand their lingo especially Dean’s. It started to clear up about five minutes in and then they started to speak of their seventeen year old daughter Caitlin. Caitlin had taken on the task to write a requiem. This seems pretty unusual for a seventeen year old girl. I didn't think she was old enough to be attempting such a task. In order to create a requiem, didn't one need to have years of experience - her father, Dean, did not think so.
Dean was extremely supportive of his daughter's attempt to write a requiem and he was very enthusiastic. Caitlin’s mother Allison was just as supportive but a bit more worried. She asked Dean, “Why a requiem? Did anyone die?” I would’ve asked the same thing. It was pretty spooky to me. Turns out requiems have a lot to do with the Catholic Church but this family did not seem religious at all. Dean pointed out that most of our great composers weren’t that religious. Good point. The build up to Caitlin's appearance in the play was immense, I was so anxious to see this girl already.
Turns out Caitlin was taking time off from school to work on this and she had to record sound clips for a blog to send to the school. The last time Allison asked her daughter how things were going with the piece, Caitlin simply responded “fine” with a “get off my ass” kind of tone. And Allison commented that Caitlin looked at her like she was a Philistine (a person who is indifferent to the arts).
Then comes the man that is assisting Caitlin with the requiem, Tommy. Tommy seemed like a nice fellow - way older then Caitlin though. Dean had approved of Tommy guiding her in this process. Tommy was very enthusiastic about Caitlin's work and seemed to get Dean’s hopes up. Saying things like... she sounded like no one in particular and her work is miraculous. As a recording artist, I liked their rich descriptions. Tommy was describing a piece and he mentioned how the piece starts with four simple notes to then introduce the listener into a whole new world. I knew exactly what he was talking about.
Dean started inviting people from a blog over to support Caitlin and have them crash in their barn. Most of these people were Edgar Allen Poe kind of people - they gave off that gothic vibe. There ended up being about thirty two of them. They had one leader that was speaking to Dean online for a while. Her name was Miritis Paima, which means death black in another language. Mirtis is from Madison, Wisconsin. Miritis had this really gothic look: skinny, pale, all black everything, and a very shivery monotone-like voice. She was responsible for the congregation in the barn. Miritis refused to meet Caitlin stating that “what she was doing was more important than who she was.”
Allison was (of course) freaking out a bit more when the congregation moved in. She did not want to make this bigger than it should be. She said that they did not know if Caitlin was going to achieve this. She was concerned about Dean’s enthusiasm towards Caitlin’s work. Dean was growing tired of Allison’s concerns and went on a huge rant and told her that “the only way to make it anywhere on this planet is to find something that can grab you by the nuts and pull you in.” This is what Dean believed the requiem was for Caitlin.
I loved it when Dean touched on the topic of school. He expressed a lot of students frustrations. Stating that school allowed you to “... sink into something incredible to then get pulled out of it after forty five minutes. The world is modified by forty five minute teases. I do not want to be alive if I can’t obsess over something. I totally agreed with the rant - it was beautiful but I did not like that he was screaming at Allison, I mean as a mother her concerns were reasonable. It was Dean’s job to make sure her mind was at ease, but that was a bit too much for Dean to handle it seemed to me.
Allison was very observant and told Dean that she thought Tommy was spending time in Caitlin’s bed. So, Dean asked Tommy if there was “anything going on between you and Caitlin besides music?” Tommy responded with a very quick... yes! No lying, just brute honesty! I don’t know if the kid had balls or if he was plain old stupid. This was a problem. Tommy was in his mid twenty’s and Caitlin was only seventeen. Tommy said that it’s what she wanted, and Dean.... approved!
With that, Allison decided to move out. She claimed that her “home was poisoned.” She thought that this was going too far. Death was lurking in the air. She just did not like the fact that a seventeen year old girl was shutting herself in her room and writing about death. They started to mention how cold it was getting. Not only was it getting cold on stage but the theater itself was starting to freeze. I could see a little bit of my breath at one point. This blew my mind. And creeped me out.
After that we finally get to meet Caitlin! The living room slid off to the right and Caitlins room appeared on stage. I was so excited to finally see what was going on in that room.
Caitlin was sitting on her bed and Tommy was beside her. She was a regular girl but she seemed very worn out mentally. She had a tired gaze. Everyone made her seem like she was in her room with thousands of papers on the ground writing like she had gone mad, but nope. And, of course, we get to see Tommy’s true colors. He was enthusiastic about Caitlin yet her played with her mind a lot. He called the people that were outside supporting Caitlin idiots. Turns out Caitlin was very aware of what was going on outside of her room. He said that her father was exploiting her talent, and he even started to lay out his plans for the life him and Caitlin were going to have up in Ireland. That’s when it started to get really creepy. There was even a weird vibe when they kissed. I have always said age is nothing but a number but in these circumstances... age was just the icing on the creepy cake.
Dean did the typical pissed off dad routine and confronted Tommy. Tommy tried to keep his cool but Dean swung that stick at Tommy but did not hit him. Tommy then claimed to have been co-writing the requiem for Caitlin. That certainly pissed Dean off and he rammed Tommy’s face into the edge of the wall busting it wide open. OH YES! BLOOD. Caitlin comes out of her room to Tommy’s rescue, Dean asks her if what he said was true, she says yes BUT that he just kept changing it. She said she felt like she was being eaten alive inside because the work was not hers. Tommy was banned from the house.
In the last scene Allison came back home, Miritis met Caitlin and Caitlin finished her requiem...ALL OF IT. Caitlin said there was something she had to tell her mother but she wanted to have them listen to the 73 minute long requiem... DAMN! It’s like an album. As they gathered around the computer the lights started to dim and that was the end of the play.I REALLY BELIEVED THAT I WAS GOING TO LISTEN TO AN AMAZING PIECE OF MUSIC! I was bummed out but once again it turns out that I had fallen too deep into the world before my eyes.