POST: 'The Healing' - a group of friends dealing with loss
What's it about?
The healing follows a group of childhood friends as they try and cope with the death of one of their own.
What'd I experience?
This play took me completely off guard. And I don't just mean the play itself I mean the actual going to see it part. I was just sitting at home and my friend texted me saying "hey, I have two free tickets to see this show, you wanna go?" Didn't describe much about it, all she said was that the cast was made up of people with disabilities. Instantly I was intrigued, because that's something I've never seen or heard of before, so I had to check it out.
The first thing I noticed when I got to the theater was that the set was a nice little living room. I don't know why but this has been a common theme I've been experiencing a lot when I go to shows, and I absolutely love it. It's always the similar looking comfy couch in the center facing the crowd with a bunch of little nick nacks lying around (I've never said nick nacks before and I'm not sure how I feel about it now). It just gives this really comfortable vibe as you sit down. But, I guess, also a bit of a creepy vibe too since you're kind of invading another's home's privacy. Plus I was sitting front row, so it was REALLY creepy and comfy.
Throughout the show, you slowly get more and more of the big picture. All of the characters had flown in to mourn the death of their friend, who had just committed suicide. They all grew up together and met at summer camp. Because they were all disabled, they were put into the same group, and during their time there the head of the camp would tell them some crazy things, like "God made you this way because your soul is corrupt" and "if you pray enough God will cure you." That really took me by surprise when they were talking about that whole thing. I mean yeah it's a made up scenario but still, that's not something you say to a child. The sad part is that that has probably been said by someone, which makes the whole situation even worse. Some of the cast had mental disabilities like schizophrenia and severe depression, while others had more physical disabilities like being s paraplegic or deaf. For all of those cases, it is not okay to say "oh you're just like that because your soul is bad, just go pray it away and you'll be fine." It's that type of crazy religious person that scares me. I mean you gotta have some sort of filter before you say things like that.
A good amount of the show was reminiscing on some of these terrible times in their livee and how they all took action to go against it, but the two big topics that I picked up on were the importance of God in your life and coping with guilt after death. The whole God debate was pretty heated towards the end of the show, where one character was literally calling some of the other characters stupid for going to churches and believing in a God. There was one argument that really stood out to me, where one of the men was saying how he doesn't go to church because he believes in it, but goes to have the feeling of being a part of something bigger or just to have the company of others who show care. That was a very sincere thought to me, you don't have to be into it as an act of faith but you can just go for the sense of community. It's a really kind and pure thought in a way, and being someone who isn't really into the whole worship thing it did let me see the benefits of joining in on a church gathering just as a support mechanism or just to have a comforting feel.
The guilt topic however was bleeding through pretty much the entire show. Everyone felt some sort of guilt about something, whether it was not being there sooner, not being available to help their friend when she needed it or simply not helping pay for any of the funeral costs. From my experience it's never good to beat yourself up over guilt like that. At first it can just be a way for you to help cope or understand what happened, but it can never be a long term thing you should hold onto. I've seen many friends fall into deep bouts of sadness wondering "if there's anything they could have done" or "what if I had done this," and it never ends well. So seeing this issue tackled, was very close to home and oddly therapeutic for me.
The last thing I do want to touch on was the disability part of the show. The last thing I wanted to see was that the whole show used the actors disabilities as a gimmick and constantly reminded us, but it was rarely done. The only time it was ever really talked about was when they would mention camp and how they were all together because of their disabilities. Besides that, they were never mentioned and they never even explicitly stated any of their disabilities. The show just played out as a normal group of friends dealing with loss, and I loved it.