POST: 'Kitchen Sink Experiment(s)' - I saw myself and my dearest friends
What’s it about?
Kitchen Sink Experiment(s) is about a young couple, Brian and Simone, who are being observed by a scientist in their home for a week. The two sign up for the experiment not knowing or caring what it will entail, only that it will pay them $150 a day. When the experiment begins, however, Brian and Simone find that it is not quite as easy as they thought it would be.
What did I experience?
The last time I walked down Troutman Avenue, the pavement was warmed by the sun and my face from the heat of my tears. As far as bad days go, that one was my worst.
When I received an email from Crashbox Theatre Company informing me that to see Kitchen Sink Experiment(s) I’d have to return to the same streets that had seen me cry, I didn’t want to go. Suddenly, braving the dense crowds of Times Square to see a show on Broadway didn’t seem as repulsive as it usually does.
But it was too late to change my ticket and I was genuinely interested in seeing a play in an actual apartment with an audience of no more than 20. I’ve also found that the best way to burn bad memories from your mind is to replace them with different ones and to do so often. The more you replace them, the faster they’ll burn.
Attempt to burn away bad memories of Bushwick #1:
As I walked from the Jefferson Avenue subway stop to 28 Scott Avenue, the venue for the play, everything around me faded into familiarity. Here was the street I’d once cried on, there was the bench I’d once sat on with the man who’d once made me cry.
I got to Scott Avenue and found building 28. I signaled to a small group of people through the door to let me in. “Are you guys here for the thing?” I asked. They were. We were all waiting to be taken to the apartment unit in which the play would be. After some chitchat, one of the women in the group asked me how I’d learned of the play. “Rampant Googling,” I told her and asked how she had learned of it. Pointing to an older man sitting relaxedly at the bottom of the staircase, she said, “His son’s the lead actor.”
Once inside the apartment - a studio, actually - I was informed that I could sit on one of the chairs (5 chairs by the (faux) window) or one of the 15 cushioned bench seats along the wall of the kitchen area. I went for one of the cushions and sat down. There was one other person in the room with me, a bearded man with an ironic sweater. Feeling very much at ease from the indie rock playlist in the background, I asked the man if he was one of the actors in the play. “No, I wrote it,” he told me nonchalantly and sat down a couple of cushions away from me, beer in hand.
A few minutes later, all the seats were occupied and the music stopped. The lights dimmed and we found ourselves in the home of Simone and Brian. We were officially observers of a science experiment. But over the next hour and a half, what I observed was not science but uncertainty, insecurity, humor, and love. In Brian I saw the depersonalizing sadness of not knowing what to do with yourself or your life. In Simone I saw the frightening sadness of loving someone like Brian. In both, I saw myself and my dearest friends.
Strangely enough, I really didn't think about my own attempts at romance as I watched the play. I think it's because I have yet to love or be loved in the tender, nuanced way that Brian and Simone love each other (at one point we observed - and smelled - Brian making blueberry pancakes for Simone, even though he just came home after working all night. If that's not love, what is?).
After the show all audience members were invited to hang out with the cast at a nearby pub and on the way there I attached myself to a group of people who turned out to be the entourage of Matthew K. Davis, Brian. We all talked about other plays we'd seen, our jobs, and about frogging popcorn (you know, when you put popcorn into your mouth using only your tongue?). When Matthew arrived at the pub, I got to tell him that his performance was wonderful, that this was one of the best plays I'd ever experienced.
As I walked out of the pub and the world of Kitchen Sink Experiment(s) and back into Bushwick and real life, I felt a little freed from my memories. I think I may find myself in Bushwick again sooner than I think.