POST: 'Small Mouth Sounds' - "you came here to listen to yourself"
What's it about?
Small mouth sounds is a play about 6 people who go on a silent retreat to learn more about themselves
What'd I experience?
The theatre had a rectangular space and a stage with the audience on two sides. There were panels with images on the walls. It was a leaf with rain pouring down on it.
As the play began I heard rain. I see a man with a hat on stage sitting down as another man enters. This man is extremely attractive. Tall, tan and a beard to die for. Two other woman come in, a heavyset light skin woman and an older black woman. They tell the attractive man they like his yoga videos. Another older man with a limp comes in and they are all seated. Their retreat hosts (voices from above) begin speaking the rules as the last character comes in, a white lady with blonde hair completely over layered. I'm taking the time to describe each character because I don't know their names. It's just hat man, attractive man, black lady, fat lady, old guy and blondie. The hosts gets to the last rule: "for the next 5 days, we will be observing silence." *ding*
hmmmmm my mind is now bouncing off the wall. A play in silence??! This could either go really well or really wrong. No intermission??? Nahhhh. I can't sit through a quiet play without fidgeting to hear the sound of SOMETHING.
But there was sound all around me, it's so interesting to notice how loud the world can be even when it's quiet. Also how important sounds are and what they say about you. When it was time for bed each person made a different sound when laying down their mat which said something about their character. Some rolled it out fast showing their expertise, some banged it in frustration and some were clumsy and made a tons of noise. I loved this, I fell in love with the silence and letting the world tell a story while you listened. It was so easy to understand a character's story and they would not even talk about their life. This was such an interesting concept to me.
It took a bit of guessing to figure out the black and fat lady's relationship.... Oh they're lovers. Hmm okay. The age difference threw me off a bit. The silence made it complex but it didn't turn me off. There was talking during the play, though. Hat man had a whole monologue. I empathized with his monologue ODE. So basically he approaches the teacher like "I wanted to ask you a question and I know you said refrain from giving your life story but let me give you some background." ... Yoooo homeboy had terrible luck. Everything in the world that is bad has happened to him. lmao. Lost his parents, wife was cheating on him with his brother, etc. So much that it was supposed to sound funny like a run on story but he is serious. Sometimes, I feel like that. Like if I told you all my problems, you couldn't and wouldn't believe me.
Oh and just a warning, there IS nudity. All playful and very funny. The hat man is trying to talk to blondie and tries to signal the attractive man away. The attractive man then strips off his clothes and jumps into the lake naked. Oh my godddd, he was the funniest most outrageous character. Always shirtless being "that guy" in the room.
"You are in a boat and you are sent out to the vast unknown ocean and one day your boat will sink." As soon as you come to terms with this you can understand life. This made me think. I mean I know I have to die. But mostly I act temporarily immortal. Each day should be new and fresh. I think the purpose was for all to understand the concept of death so we can live more vividly.
Oh my God, two things the teacher said.
1. You came here to listen to yourself
2. CHANGE. ...
So this teacher is funny, always rambling on, half the time being irrelevant or unprepared. And it's like I'm not teaching cus I'm perfect I'm just as fucked up as you. "You didn't come here to listen to me give speeches instead you came to listen to yourself. Your true self. Not your habits. Not who you are with electronics, alcohol or sex but what your darkest fears are etc..." Many of you scribble in your note pad, some even observe silence but then after the 5 days you go back to the exact same way you were. I am asking, no I beg of you... CHANGE!" Sounds like church camp lmfaoooo. Nah this is really like church camp. You go to church camp and you're hollering during the service, all fired up for Jesus but as soon as you get back you like 'soooo cyphs after church?'
Tbh, I'ma bit ambivalent about how I feel about this play. But it definitely had me walking out of there thinking about how I can change my life. We got our playbills after the show. It was interesting to open the playbill though because the only name that was mentioned in the play was Ned, at the very end. It's like I've grown so intimate with these characters and I don't even know their names. It made me think about how important a name is and how unimportant it is. I mean after all your identity truly lies in your character because how can your name be your true identity if 1) Only you can give yourself an identity AND 2) Your name was given before you were born and is completely disconnected from who you are as a person. It made me wonder seriously. It also made me feel better about every persons name I forgot but still remembered their face and our conversations lol.
I think I want to practice silence more often and listen to the world and the people in it. I had to rush out because I was meeting my friend by the train station. It was her last day in NY before Atlanta. I wanted to practice the art of silence honestly, but we had sooooo much to catch up on 🤘🏽