December 29, 2009

Looking Back Doesn't Take You Forward

Today at work we had what is called "First Hour" where the director, designers and artistic director sit up on stage and talk about the next play we are going to mount. The whole company gets to meet everyone else (there's a lot of turnover in theatre) and the administrative side gets to meet the creative side and visa verse. This time we discussed our next production- Harold Pinter's Betrayal, a play about, well, betrayal. There are three people involved- a married couple and the husband's best man. There are affairs had by many but the affairs aren't really the point. The point of the play is really different forms of betrayal and how we as people react to them.

Towards the end of the discussion, the director made a point that really resonated with me. He said, and I'm paraphrasing here, once you betray yourself, it becomes easier to betray others. One of the characters feels he betrayed himself by not being creatively satisfied like he thought he would be, and that character is the one who sets off the chain reaction. The director's statement started me thinking about my goals and compromises I've made. I started to panic a little. (Is panic something on a scale or is it one of those all or nothing things?) The characters in the play weren't that old when the whole thing started. It's not like they were in their 70s looking back at their perceived failures. These characters are in their 30s feeling like they bamboozled themselves. I'm 28 and starting to feel the same way.

I truly, legitimately fear few things. I may have my moments of "omg I have cancer again" but I never really mean it. I don't fear zombies- why fear an imminent reality? What rightly frightens me is exactly what this play is about- betraying oneself. I support my friends and family in their dreams and aspirations because I don't want them to look back on their lives and think woulda, shoulda, coulda. I want my loved ones to think they stayed true to what they wanted. That is incredibly important to me. But most importantly I want that for myself. If I look back on my life with regret, that regret will reach beyond the confines of my own world. My mother's regret hangs around me in an ever present fog. I can't stand that happening to my children, my husband, my friends. That's when I begin to betray them. And that's unacceptable.

Giving up the comfort of the known for the unknown is a terrifying thing. But we wouldn't be where we are as a society if people weren't true to themselves and their dreams. I struggle with the choices I've made possibly limiting the choices I have left. I'm making the best of things, but that's not the best I can do. I owe it not only to myself to strive for my dream, I owe it to everyone around me.

1 comment:

Meg said...

Wow. Very well written and well said.