Young and far from in love.
Old and united beyond separation.
Everything in between.
An Infinite Ache covers all of this as it charts the relationship of Hope and Charles,
The second I entered the studio at the Access Theatre, I was captivated by the white-washed bedroom set. I was so fascinated, that I started blabbing about it to the wonderfully dressed, exceptionally kind man who had walked me to my seat. He entertained my thoughts about what it meant for “two lives to travel in infinite directions,” ( this excerpt comes from the play’s tagline). He seemed mildly amused as I pondered the fluffy bed at the center and the white wall with suitcases covering it that utilized perspective in a really funky way. The man returned to the back of the studio, and before the show he asked us (the audience) to silence our cell phones.
I noticed that there were many couples in attendance. Though I entered alone, I luckily made friends with the white-haired gentleman next to me. He became my partner throughout the show. We cocked our heads at the same moments, listened for the other’s laughter, and sniffled together. After the show, we discussed how powerful the piece was. I guess, I was never truly alone.
The show introduced me to the invisible red string that connects soul-mates. Hope (who is of Chinese heritage) tells Charles a proverb that her grandmother told her: the Gods tie to two soul-mates together with a translucent string before those souls are placed on Earth. Though the string may become tangled or stretched, the two bearers are constantly moving towards one-another on Earth.
The show used it in a romantic sense, however I kind of felt like I was fated to sit next to this perceptive and cool individual, that we were destined to experience the piece together. I even gleaned from my experience at An Infinite Ache that destiny is an ominous, incredible mystery, that doesn’t always reveal itself to us as spectacularly as we believe it will.
Ironically, my neighbor revealed to me that the dapper man who had freely welcomed my comments as we walked in together was the director (I found his name in the playbill, Joshua Warr). For a show that dealt with fate, I felt like the stars really lined up for me that night.
As soon asCharles (the main character in the show) entered his apartment, I immediately connected with the dorky, eternally trying-too-hard Charles…
Don’t you wish you could skip all this and get to the part when we’re old and sitting on a porch and watching our grandchildren playing on a swing?”
I was quickly on Team Charles. As soon as their “potential relationship” set into motion, however, the couple grew into complex individuals who could not truly be pitted against one-another. I experienced their lifetime from within their bedroom, I kept thinking about how intertwined their lives had really become. At one point, Charles no longer shares the room with Hope and we witness her altering the room to reflect her identity more. Each time she disappeared from our view, Charles would enter the room and water their previously shared plants. Later I learned that he had, in fact, been entering the apartment – but these two minutes got my thinking about how we live within the “bubbles” of others lives. Can you remove the impact or presence of another?
I thought the piece was going to focus on the characters’ differing cultural identities of Judaism and Asian ancestry. Diversity challenges did appear in their relationship, but I did not find myself exploring that. I think I expected to see two “ideas” placed in a room together and instead I watched two real individuals interact and grapple with many truthful issues. I didn’t realize how much I could appreciate fights about taking the garbage and watering the plants.
An Infinite Ache reminded me of how quickly life can pass us by. Time melted, exploded, and transformed in front of my eyes. Moments of significance in their lifetime were summarized within quick sentences, like “I want a dog. Why did we get a dog?” This lack of detail was a beautiful opportunity for me. Like Charles did on the first date, I had the chance to explore the possibilities on my own of “exactly” what happened. Because I had to inject my own ideas and inferences, I felt engaged emotionally. Charles and Hope’s story became personal for me.