What's it about?
A one-women show that comments on the brutality and senselessness of wars.
What'd I experience?
It was an interesting coincidence that I'd been watching Netflix's Documentary series Making a Murderer, and then got the chance to watch Sanctuary.
As I rushed into the theater it was just the ticket man (dude who scans your ticket) sitting there at the far end of the room - just staring. As I proceeded to my seat, which was placed right behind the tech team - picture a long table with screens covering 30% of my view- I noticed how cool the set was. I have been to other shows that did the all-in-one type of set: two or more settings that remain on stage at all times. But this one seemed so efficient. It had a grit and contrast to it, with a typical suburban kitchen smack in the middle of sediments that resembled a mountainous regions.
The woman, herself, played a total of 3 characters: a soccer mum, a war correspondent, and a Kosovo native captured in an underground cell. The mum is bombarded by the 24/7 news that happens to be broadcasting the Kosovan woman as she begs for her kidnappers to do no harm to her family. The war correspondent shows a much more detached approach at reporting the chaos in the war torn southeastern Europe.
To me, the message of the show was about the senselessness of civil wars that fuel hate within small nations. However, I couldn’t shake a sense I got from the play. It was mostly the dialogue that kind of made me almost annoyed. Thinking back it seemed more of a reflex reaction, because here was a privileged woman talking about sympathizing with a mother that had been taken from her family and held in an undisclosed place. It’s hard to accept an upper-class American woman comparing herself to someone who has had her children ripped from her, most likely never to see them again. I guess I could see it as the woman trying to understand how screwed up the situation was, but saying that the solution was to ‘speak up’ - that isn’t the advice I’d give to a woman swarmed by a corrupted militia.
The dialogue seemed like a compilation of documentary facts. I felt like I’d heard it all before, maybe I’d heard it on TV. It reminded me of how much I, in this country, can choose to ignore. As much as I could try to sympathize with someone whose town is swarmed with military officials that have no sense of respect toward the rights of humans - I will, fortunately, not be able to. I mean, in that country, a four year old's reaction to having a reporter's camera pointed at them is to raise their hands in surrender, I guess that’s what happens when you expect it to be the barrel of a gun. It felt like more of the same information I continuously choose to ignore, in the same format - reciting.
I was really surprised that the show did not talk about the issue of political corruption. There was countless blame placed on the fact that these people were harming their own. But I wanted to know what the major influence for these civil conflicts was. Was it political officials? Political corruption? To sum up how senseless things felt to watch, I quote “At least be a witness.”
I don’t know if I am the only one who finds this advice really strange or if I possibly interpreted it incorrectly. Change will never happen if I don’t take action, it doesn’t mean I have to put myself in the middle of a war zone. You know what - I think that acknowledging isn't enough anymore. Taking action is the only way we can make a change.
So, I guess, if I choose to make my sanctuary living in ignorant bliss than I shouldn't expect to stop seeing live broadcasts of 100+ deaths everyday.