Donogoo. What makes something real?
My friend Sophia and I have known each other since we were around eleven. Alone and afraid, we found each other in the noisy cafeteria of East Side Middle School. And now, eight years later, we, along with our other friend Melissa, have remained incredibly close. And so I took a special pleasure out of attending a preview of the Mint Theater Company's Donogoo, because as far as I was concerned, the play was infinitely cooler since Sophia was working on the show as a member of the deck crew.
As we entered the theatre, my boyfriend and I amused ourselves by trying out all of the possible ways to pronounce Donogoo. Was it Donogoo? Donogoo? With a title like that, it was hard to be sure. And what did Donogooeven mean anyway? It could be anything from a weird sounding and very obscure name to some kind of unchartered mystical land.
The set consisted of very little in terms of furniture other than a few tables and chairs. Everything else was done via the use of projections. All three walls of the stage were covered with these projected moving images. When one actor went over to the projection of a globe and reached over as if to spin it, the projected globe span in sync with his movement! And when another actor went over to a projected blackboard to record his calculations, the calculations in question appeared before our eyes while he mimed the motions of scribbling algebraic equations. Scene after scene, the set revealed more and more surprises.
Donogoo got me thinking a lot about geography and the value we put on places. For example, what makes New York City any more of a location than Hogwarts or Narnia? If a place exists in our minds and in writing, isn't that enough? Or does it need to be somewhere that can be pointed out on a map in order to be considered real? I watched Donogoo morph from a mere idea into a busy and successful city complete with its own government and travel agency. And it didn't matter to me that I was watching a play and that the place was invented. Because Donogoo didn't just come alive for me on stage. It came alive for me-period.