Category: Polaroid Stories (2)
One of the most remarkable things about theatre is that it affords you the opportunity to escape reality while simultaneously forcing you to recognize the reality from which you are escaping. This is not always the case, and in a modern theatrical climate that is more focused on ticket sales than cultural relevance, most audiences walk away without recognizing much of anything. I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t at times captivated by the glorious world of theatrical entertainment for the sake of entertainment, in fact that’s what got me into theatre in the first place. I was that theatre geek that walked around brandishing Little Shop of Horror t-shirts, while belting out show tunes in my room, much to the joy (or annoyance) of my parents.
But midway through my training at Montclair, I became more in tune to the world around me. Perhaps it was that brief moment in time where it was considered cool to be politically and culturally aware that began the reshaping of my thoughts on life and theatre. Barack Obama was in the running for President, and suddenly everyone, including myself decided maybe they should put down People Magazine and pick up The New York Times. Suddenly I realized how much was going on in the world that I had allowed myself to ignore.
With this realization came a self analysis of my life’s future direction. Was theatre really something that was worthwhile? Why am I trying to spend my life entertaining when I could be using my energy and skills to help others? In the midst of this examination of my career goals, I was asked to direct Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues. The producers of the show initially booked a female director, but at the last minute she backed out, and I was the only one they knew available to take on the production. When I first agreed to take on the role of director, I merely viewed it as an opportunity to advance my skills as a director; however, as I plunged myself into the production I began to realize that this was a piece of art that could really help other people. Suddenly it clicked. This is what I can do with theatre, with art, to make a difference in the world.
Students from Christopher Parker’s Mythology course at MSU wrote reviews of the recent Department of Theatre and Dance Production Polaroid Stories by Naomi Iizuka. Here’s a sampling of their responses. Take a look—and feel free to add your own!
“Montclair State University students are in fact high up on a mountain, but in the play Polaroid Stories, which is a newer day Metamorphoses, the actors are on a physical high—snow mountain. A Polaroid is a camera that develops its own film. These people are the Polaroid camera; they create their own stories. All these stories have a similar point that combine together. The actors living on the streets all have hardships. They are acting like the gods in their life situations. They bring the themes of Ovid’s Metamorphoses into situations of our time, as in poverty, homelessness, prostitution, etc.” (Grace Waksmundzki)
“Any mythology student should see this play. This play shows you that mythology is not just a bunch of old, farfetched, and made-up stories. But, it shows you that mythology has to do with human nature and behavior just like Freud suggested. The characters and events in classical mythology symbolize human actions and emotions. It has to do with love, substance abuse, incest, family problems, personal desires, and many other aspects of the spectrum of humans. Athena didn’t literally burst from her father’s forehead, but perhaps that symbolizes that she thought much like her father and that she had much in common with him in regards to intelligence. Every mythology-interested person should see this play so they will be able to recognize the relevance of classical, ancient mythology and modern life.” (Richard Link)