What's it about?
How to Transcend a Happy Marriage is about two happily married couples who decide to invite an acquaintance - a polyamorous woman who, literally, hunts her own meat - over for dinner on New Years Eve with her two live-in boyfriends. This one night and all that happens between them, changes the course of these two couples' lives and relationships - testing the boundaries of monogamy and limits of friendship.
What I experienced?
Have you ever walked out of a show and thought to yourself "what in the world did I just watch?"
The show opened with a woman removing a bloody carcass from a string. Cool, we wasted no time getting weird. Later, I found out that that woman is named Pip, a young hunter who also works as a temp and is involved in a polyamorous relationship with two other men. Pip and her boyfriends are invited to a New Years Eve dinner at Jane's house with her husband, her best friend George and George's husband. At this dinner, things get super weird. They start talking about killing animals and the entire time, I'm physically cringing in my seat. I'm a meat eater so this is terribly ironic. I just wanted that part of the conversation to end ASAP.
And just when I thought things couldn't get more awkward, it does. Pip starts singing karaoke and the atmosphere goes from high on brownies and red wine fun to... an orgy of seven. WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK AM I WATCHING!? Not only am I now watching this but I have to share the moment with a room full of older white people. And it lasts too long. In real time, it might have only been two minutes but it felt like FOREVER.
As the show moves past this giant orgy, disrupted by Jane's daughter (this is so freaking awkward!), things continue to get weird. The weirdest part being when Pip suddenly disappears and turns into a bird who flies into Jane's house and lays three eggs in her hand. This was most likely my face throughout this moment (but truthfully the entire show tbh).
One of my biggest struggles while watching this show was realizing that you can't ever leave your beliefs or baggage at the door before you enter a show. As a Christian watching everything play out in this particular show, I found it hard to balance my feelings of discomfort towards the things that went against my faith with my fascination towards the level of trust, respect, love and commitment that is very clearly between Pip, David and Freddie. That emotional tug of war was really tough for me to manage. But I also realize that just because a piece of art makes me uncomfortable doesn't mean I can't enjoy it for what it is. I also acknowledge that when 'God' is mentioned in a way that feels "convenient", I don't have to feel personally victimized by it. God means something different to different people.
Walking away and thinking about this show a few days later, I think the point of it was to get me to see the struggle between civilization and natural human instinct. But I also debate that whatever changes occur in both couples' marriage and friendships could have easily been the result of a drunk night and honest conversation. Or maybe even therapy. Did I really need to witness you all have sex together - which apparently never actually happened?! So was this a dream in George's head? A result of weed brownies? WHAT WAS IT?!! I neeeeed to know! If we're intended to argue for letting our inner freak out or if we're intended to see the beauty and benefits of a polyamorous lifestyle... I think I'll pass. Either way, Sarah Ruhl provided me with the biggest mind fuck ever. THANKS GIRL!
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What did you experience?
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