POST: 'The Object Lesson' - this guy was a hoarder to the MAX

What's it about?

An interactive theater experience revealing one man’s reflection on past moments as he sorts through all of the clutter he lives in.

What I experienced?

I had such high hopes for this show. When I found out it was about a hoarder, I was interested. I suspect that my mom is a hoarder, given that she likes to buy things that she never uses and refuses to throw any of them away. This guy was a hoarder to the MAX.

So I walk into the theater and the whole room is filled with boxes. This place is huge and there are just piles and piles of boxes on top of some furniture. This guy makes me think my mom isn’t so bad! It becomes clear that the boxes are to serve as chairs for us, the audience. However, there are some couches around the room so I jetted for a really comfy looking one that looked like it would make for a good view.

I put my stuff on the couch and explore all of the boxes around me. Each box is filled with a knickknack! I saw cassette players, walkmen, wigs, books, ornaments, fake plants, you name it! It was all cool and quirky, until I suddenly saw this lady trying to move my stuff! "HEY! HEY! HEY!" I yell and she turns around asking “Oh, is this your seat?” and I responded with a very annoyed "YEAH!" to which she apologizes and leaves. Like yes, that is what I wanted to do ma’am. Put all of my things on a comfy couch and then go to some other part of the room to grab a seat to watch the show. Cue the eye roll. 

It didn’t really make a difference in the end because a worker asked us if we could sit on the boxes on the floor as she was sure we would “have a MUCH better experience on the floor” and wanted to have those seats available for older people. Which there were a lot of, so I agreed. But no. She LIED. LIED! From the very beginning, I couldn’t see. There were a lot of people that were tall and constantly swaying so I couldn’t really see what was going on. Big mistake to move. Luckily, this was an interactive performance so the actor moved around the space quite a bit, so that there were times where it was fine and times it wasn't. It was a little frustrating because I could hear people laugh at times and I couldn’t see why. Throughout the play, I realized that I wouldn’t have found it funny anyway because a lot of the obvious jokes didn’t even make me crack a smile.

I did like the fact that it was very interactive. There were at least 5 audience members that were participants, and it was cool to see people getting involved in the show. It also meant that every single show would be different depending on the audience, which made MY show feel unique. That being said, I felt like the show was dragging - I mean, it was basically a guy constantly opening boxes, taking out stuff, and telling a story about it. Look, I get it. I think the point was to describe how we can get attached to material things by associating it with a memory or feeling - making it hard to let go. This is how hoarding develops. People don’t want to get rid of anything that they connect with a feeling or a moment.

I just wasn’t understanding the significance of knowing his experiences and how they relate to every single object. I wasn't sure if a story was being told, or if the show was merely providing insight into the life of a hoarder (which is what I took away).

Want to see it?

What did you experience?

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