POST: 'No Wake' - the emptiness that follows

What it's about.

A play about the reconnection of a divorced couple after their daughter committed suicide. 

My experience. 

When a couple breaks up, there's an emptiness or trauma that comes along with it that follows them into their future relationships. People always move on, but I'm sure that if they spoke to their exes again, it's never the same. Even if they got back together, which I'm not a big fan of, that emptiness is still there.

I chose this show because I wanted to see the actions the actors chose to deal with that emptiness. I also wanted to see what the perspective of the opposite sex was like. People watch theatre to fill those empty crevices in their heart with images that may or may not be true in order to cope with that feeling. The characters in No Wake made me think about this topic because they dealt with an emptiness that accompanied their heartbreak.

To begin with, Roger Padgett, Rebecca's fiance, talks to Edward Nolan, Rebecca's ex-husband about a relationship he had previously been in. He talks about how he was the "nice guy" and how he couldn't express his authority, which he connects to "being a man," in the moments when he had to. He trusted too much and it led to him being manipulated and experiencing that emptiness. As a result, Padgett carried the trauma of trusting less and constantly searching for that moment to express that authority.

Nolan, the character who I connected with the most, had a lot of feelings suppressed inside of him and the death of his daughter just made him feel exhausted. He was tired of holding his feelings inside and all he wanted was to feel human again. This moment of the show made me think about people who make mistakes and the things they do to try normalizing their lives again. One of his mistakes was not being the best husband/father that he could've been to his family. Sure, his daughter was sick, but he embraced what he considered her hate towards him with fear. There were times where he refused to enter his home because he didn't want to deal with her. Another mistake was his stubbornness and how quick he was to argue with his wife. Despite the sickness of his daughter, these traits were what made him lose them both in the long run. So the way he dealt with that emptiness was by walking on the beach and reflecting on his actions. This is why I connected with this character the most. Instead of carrying his trauma into the next relationship, he found ways to deal with it by figuring out what parts of his character needed improvement. Even if at the end of the day he was still the same person, he was more aware of who he was than before.

Rebecca, who actually reminds me of my mother, is a character that is two steps ahead of everyone else in the play. In order to understand her character, I had to imagine myself in her shoes. She's a mother who has lost her daughter and is dealing with the effects that come along with that. She's a woman who initially wanted things to go well between her and her ex husband, but knows that the decisions made during their break up were not wrong. Her character is grounded not because she wants to be, but because she has to be, so that the people around her could feel the same way. She was the one that had to give the eulogy at her daughter's funeral because it's her words that matter the most after a tragedy like that. The emptiness that she's dealing with is much deeper than the pain that any of the other characters deal with because she was the one who longed to create a connection with her daughter the most. When Nolan searches the apartment for signs of the daughter having some care in the world for her parents he does it for her. He does it so that she can have a sense of hope that'll allow her heart to be at peace.

My exploration made me realize that emptiness can bring people to a point of hopelessness in their lives, but it's easy to forget that we still have control and we can fight through it because there is always a desire to fill the hole inside of us. 

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