Power Plays. How would you define yourself?

Monsoon. That's the only way I could describe the rain as my friend Julia and I tried to swim to Theatre Breaking Through BoundariesPower Plays at the Harold Clurman Theatre. I was definitely in the mood for theater, don't get me wrong. I just wasn't in the mood for much else.

I had never seen a series of short plays before. I was honestly intrigued by this series of plays because the description made it seem like it would be inspired by the experiences of the physically disabled and featured many differently-abled actors. I put it on my list because I thought about how hard it must be as an actor with a physical disability to get cast in diverse roles. It made me think about... how truly open minded are we as a community of artists moreover, as people in general? How willing are we to see an actress with a different appearance than we are accustomed to in a role? A Fortune 500 CEO that doesn't look like we expect? 

The show began with a short play about two old friends chatting over their successes in life as authors. At first, I giggled because I was sitting next to a girl whom I know I will be friends with my entire life, however I hope I never treat her like these friends treated one another. I could feel the passive-aggression and envy with every sip of wine and every glance of their eyes at each-other.

One of the actresses, the one playing the extremely jealous friend, had one leg that ended right above the knee. I found it cool that they never mentioned it in the plot of the play. Maybe it added some layers to when she described coldly how different she was from the other friend. But in reality, it was second to who her character was and didn't really impact the storytelling at all for me. What DID impact this storytelling for me was these intermingled pauses during which the characters expressed their aggression towards one another. There were other pieces that were more overtly dealing with physical disabilities.

My favorite piece dealt with a blind male who worked at a cash register. It takes a surprising (maybe a little crude) and hysterical turn that maybe made a few people in the audience uncomfortable.  I found myself really liking the fact that the blind character was made distinctly human and even a little lascivious because it just furthered the idea for me that people are real with real flaws and virtues.

I think this night was really engaging for me because it just went to show that everyone has a right to express and be heard. Moreover, everyone has something that holds them back. Sometimes we can talk about it and sometimes it is extremely important to that person. Other times, we charge forward without it and define ourselves differently. Either way works. It's our choice to make. The reassurance of this knowledge and the enjoyment of some really cool new theater was worth trekking through a monsoon.