What’s it about?
In the wake of the death of a celebrated writer, I Will Look Forward to This Later tells a story of aging and the legacies left behind in death.
What'd I experience?
A few minutes past eight o’clock, three people enter the theatre and take three of six seats in the front row. A moment later one of them, a youngish man in a black suit, stands up and walks up the steps to the stage where he very systematically folds up a large ladder standing in the middle of the stage and places it against a wall. Putting the ladder down he picks up a microphone and stand and carries it over to the front of the stage as the theatre slowly darkens and a funeral begins.
What unfolds in the next hour or so is a story that I can’t say I relate to at all – at least not yet. It’s very much about things like aging, legacy, and love that transcends societal bounds, but I don’t think I will even think about all of that until later in life, let alone look forward to it. Nonetheless, I really, really liked it.
I could recall all of the different moments that made I Will Look Forward to This Later but I’ll leave it to a strange highlight that weaved through the whole show: following the funeral, as a son of the now deceased is getting drunk at a bar, a man with a tail walks in through the audience, heading toward the bar. This is the ghost of Wyatt Holloway, the man whose death has left his family and friends to figure out if all the pain he caused them was worth all the love he gave them. Throughout the rest of the show, Wyatt makes several visits from the dead as his sons Robert and Sam, his wife Betsy, his young lover Miranda, and his old friend/former lover Agatha try to make sense of their lives in the wake of his passing. He comes to each of them at different moments to sometimes explain his faults, but mostly just to be an insensitive and snide asshole. Yet his presence is not unwelcome; everyone is relieved to see him, relieved to not have to deal with his death without him.
I found myself not directly relating to any of the people on stage, but somehow the character I wanted to see most of myself in was the 90-year-old Agatha who is still so open to the possibilities of life that when a much younger man, Robert, falls in love with her, she responds by falling in love with him. Ideally, I think I should have seen something of myself in the youngest woman in the play, Miranda, an aspiring artist and Wyatt's final lover. But clutching to her relationship with the much-older Wyatt in a way that I can’t comprehend or justify, Miranda seemed far too naïve to be anything like me.
Strangely enough, as soon as the show ended, an old man sitting next to me quietly informed me that he’s going to see a movie and asked if I’d like to join him. I’m not Miranda (not yet!) and so I said “nope” through a half-chuckle and walked out of the theatre as gracefully as I could.