POST: 'Who Am I?' - things get existential and surreal
What's it about?
Who Am I? tells the intertwined stories of four individuals as they are confronted by their identities.
What'd I experience?
The lights dim halfway, the audience goes silent as a few more people trickle into the theatre and sit down. The lights dim again, this time all the way. When the lights return they bring with them a blonde woman and two dancers who sway around the stage for several minutes. The blonde woman keeps walking around the small theatre, going right up to audience members and staring at them. She goes up to a woman sitting in the third row, makes her stand up and go to the back of the aisle.
I am feeling very, very anxious; I am in no mood to be an active participant tonight.
As I look on with apprehension the blonde woman walks over to a man sitting by himself in the first row, cupping his face with her hands and pulling him up to his feet. The man looks as uneasy as I feel as the woman directs him to the aisle, where three others already stand.
Just as I’m about to start praying that I’m not next to be banished to the aisle for some unknown reason, the blonde woman leads the line of audience members over to the stage.
All that happens next is not easy to explain and trying to explain might actually take out some of the fun of this play. But suffice it to say that things get existential and surreal - as you might expect of a play titled “Who Am I?”. Four characters, through four other characters, confront parts of their identities that they’d rather forget: a woman whose mother left when she was a child meets her mother again, a transgender man who has always suppressed his femininity talks to his female reflection, a lonely comic book artist is confronted by a character he created, and a man on an acid trip talks to God about his habits. The blonde woman who plucked people from the audience - she’s God. God is having an existential dilemma of her own as she sees all the pain and suffering that her creations face on earth – things that she can’t change because she didn’t create them, humans did.
Independent of religion, I particularly like this idea that God could be looking down at humans and feeling just as terribly as we do. It makes God seem fallible, relatable, and less godlike. Interestingly enough, what I like most about Who Am I? is that it prompted me to feel a sense of compassion towards a figure that I’m not even certain exists. I like that it didn't make me think about myself at all. Rather than directing my thoughts inward with a question like “who am I,” the play actually made me wonder - with just a hint of hopelessness - who are we?