POST: FringeNYC's 'It's Chill' - insecurities are normal
What'd I experience?
On my way to the theater to see It’s Chill.. I walked five blocks but the heat made it feel like an ETERNITY. To distract myself from this insufferable heat wave, I put on my headphones and got lost in my thoughts about life and how crazy it is. Suddenly, I was in front of the theater and the AC was blasting as I walked in. Thank. The. Lord!
The show opens in the messy room of a couple, Sam and Sophie. I was not about that life. I couldn’t even. Messes give me anxiety, and when they decided to keep the clothes on the floor, I felt like it was a personal shot at me, like they knew I hated messes and just left it all there. Internally, I was like JUST PICK IT UP! Anyways, they do, and I nodded my head at them like that’s right!
The scene changes when Annie arrives and everyone flakes on her birthday party except for Sam and Sophie, the hosts, and it hit me right in the feels. She kept saying how it was no big deal because she wanted something “chill.” I knew what that meant. Those phrases, where we pretend that we’re all right when we’re really not: “It’s cool”. “I’m chill”. Those were huge red flags, and I just wanted to free her from her negative emotions. This seemed like the ongoing theme in the show, which was not okay, but I understood and related. The characters all had worries about their lives whether they were stuck in the past or scared of being alone or even scared of loving too much. It made them human. It made them real. These weren’t stories to me. They were real.
Then, the characters vocalized their internal dialog. SO MUCH YASS! I began to feel their vulnerability and this closeness. I felt special. How many people get to actually know what people are really thinking AND feeling? I felt like I was in this special club, and I was their secret agent. I knew all the secrets, and that was pretty awesome. It felt like this dramatic soap opera because I knew exactly what was going to happen and I was just sitting in my seat, popcorn in hand, waiting for the drama to unfold.
If I’m being completely honest, I DID NOT like Sam. At first, I thought he was kind and sweet, but then I heard his internal dialogue and nuh uh. I instantly disliked him. In one scene, Sam speaks about how he had a past with the birthday girl Annie who eventually leaves him and how he couldn’t let it go. Oh. NAHHHH. A boy who doesn’t know what he wants and obsessing over a rejection isn’t cute. Sophie didn’t deserve some jerk like him, thinking about someone else. Forget. That. He doesn’t even realize how he is hurting his current girlfriend Sophie, and I’m all OH MAH GAWD. He’s a liar and shouldn’t be trusted. If I was in Sophie’s place and I knew all this, I would be heartbroken. I hate when people play with other’s emotions, and this scene made me write him off the rest of the show.
Sophie, on the other hand, was a character I not only empathized with but I also found myself mirroring. When she spoke her mind, I saw how she constantly worries and is tormented by her insecurities. It was hard to hear her analyze her flaws, trying to figure out why Sam likes Annie more than her. She speaks about how she isn’t good enough and I could identify with that. We all have insecurities and in terms of insecurity, relationships can either build you up or break you down. I know how that feels and I just wanted to grab her and let her know that she’ll be fine. That she’ll be happy. That she is more than enough.
Once I was introduced to Annie, I immediately thought of one of my best friends. She was always afraid of not finding her dream relationship, so she would pretend like she was happy alone. Watching Annie, I got a glimpse into what my best friend felt, and it was enlightening. I realized that some people put on a front to shield themselves from being seen. With her, just like Annie, I always believed what I saw without really seeing or truly listening. When my friend revealed her true feelings, I felt oblivious, and watching Annie, she reminded me not to judge anyone because we can never know what’s truly going on inside. Annie reminded me to always be kind and understanding. Annie became this great friend I knew and I can’t thank her enough for the irreplaceable, wise life lesson she taught me.
SPOILER: The show ends with Annie thinking out loud and realizing all her friends now know the truth. Not going to lie, my emotions went form OH MY GOD to AHHHH she’s soooooo doomed now. I was glad I didn’t have to see the aftermath. Dodged a bullet there.
I knew the show would be about a birthday and how all but two character’s ditched Annie’s party. I didn’t expect a happy play, but its impact was something I wasn’t ready for. This show was like those thoughts about life I was thinking as I walked up to the show and in a way that kept me engaged the entire time. I couldn’t take my eyes off the characters.
If I walked away with anything I realized how insecurities, especially in youth, is considered normal and how we aren’t always how we seem. I left the theater lost in my thoughts, reevaluating. I felt this tinge of happiness though because for once I felt like someone understood me, like I was normal and that nothing was wrong with me. Like everything was going to be all right.
- Marisol D.