by Lindsay Joy · March 30, 2014
This Farm Report is coming to you so very late- and for that I am sorry. This thing happens to you in New York City where you let the ordinary, the everyday struggle get in the way of doing the thing you love to do. I’ve also been so blocked and unsure that I have let the everyday take over. It becomes easy to procrastinate when you convince yourself that you have to work that double at a restaurant job that drains your energy...to survive, to live comfortably, blah blah blah. The truth is- I should get up earlier and practice my art, and not let a job that doesn’t matter be my lame-o excuse.
At said job- a funny thing happened. I was lamenting about not getting this blog done and said (in a flip way) that I didn’t think anybody read the damn thing anyway. My coworker Adam, an amazing musician and actor, looked at me and said, “I do. I read everything you put up.” Man, oh man did I feel like a dick. So, I woke up early before my dirty double shift slinging pasta for entitled wieners to do this thing. Expect more of these and more frequently. Thank you, Adam.
I saw a few great shows over the past few weeks and some of the work made me question some choices I’ve made. The great Charlotte Miller has a piece called BARN up right now in the East Village with Rising Phoenix Rep. The piece has interesting and thoughtful characters struggling with their identities and personal relationships. Her characters are in the same mid-twenties pocket that I’m writing around and dealing with some of the same “how will people perceive me” questions. Her characters are also on a shit ton of mushrooms for the entire play. The introduction of drugs to a scene can really push a few things: the characters lose their filters, the characters are more raw emotionally, and the characters act on every impulse. Charlotte does this with a deft hand and it is so compelling to watch.
I have also been to see many plays where the use of drugs on stage becomes a handicap. Very frequently, when you have a scene where folks smoke a doobie (That’s what the kids are calling them right? Doobies?) the pace slows to a snail’s crawl. Or the use of drugs just becomes a crutch for laughs. My play revolves around the mourning of a friend’s death, a suicide to be precise, and I know how much self-medication happens surrounding a loss of that kind. It seems natural to me to have characters partaking of some illegal substances...but as Miss Miller’s play reminded me- it has to be used ultimately to reveal and to take away the filters my characters might use to mask their true emotions.
I’ve been thinking a lot about what chasms a suicide leaves behind...the rifts, the unanswered questions. Padraic Lillis sent me an article linking bullying to the increased risk of suicide in teens and young adults. After reading the article and thinking back on my conferences with my students, it feels more and more important that the revelations behind the suicide are all tied up in bullying or the threat of bullying. It’s in the ether- as they say. More on bullying to follow...and more thoughts to follow. Adam- I promise.