POST: FringeNYC's 'You Don't Matter' - do I really matter?
What'd I experience?
Now, how could a play called You Don’t Matter not make me want to go see it? With the help of PXP, I was able to experience this play and find the true meaning behind the title. But the whole time during the play I kept wondering “Do I really matter?”
Before the play even started the audience and I witnessed a man on stage pace back and forth for about 20 minutes. Of course, I found this pretty intriguing. The lights dimmed but the question in my mind remained still, “Do I really matter?” The play took a dark tone to start with. The first scene introduces us to Anna and Robert, a couple that seems to be living in a small NYC apartment who argue, like any other couple and experience troubles, like any other couple as well. Get this though. While they’re arguing, the Narrator who we now know as the guy pacing back and forth before the show can stop time in its tracks and explain to us dark truths that happen during everyday activities like arguing with your spouse. While Anna and Robert are arguing we learn that a girl in Tennessee was just raped and murdered. While Anna and Robert are having make up sex, we learn that another African American teen is stopped and arrested for what seems to be no reason. I soon began to understand the title You Don’t Matter.
These facts kinda hit me like a brick wall, you know? As a young adult, I’m pretty sure those petty arguments with our parents or lovers are fairly standard. But have you EVER thought about what happens somewhere else in the world during those arguments? That’s what got me thinking. Combined with some more facts like “At least one audience member here today will be dead in the next five years”, I couldn’t help but face the brutal realization that compared to situations others may going through right now maybe I really don’t matter! Relax though this play wasn’t all that dark.
The show had its funny moments, as well. Robert and Anna actually reminded me a lot of my relationships with certain people. Showing that a play could relate to me, they had me laughing. I mean, we are all human at the end of the day right? But of course just like every other unexpected turn in this play it challenged even that question.
All the problems our couple of Robert and Anna are faced with seem to just collapse, and in a sad turn Robert commits suicide. Upon discovering his body Anna freaks out and panics just like any other person would do. Calling her mother, cursing profusely, screaming and crying on the floor. Just when it seems like all is lost she mummers the word “reverse”. Just like magic, revealed right before her very eyes is the Narrator, the audience (me included), and the ability to reverse time that she’s apparently possessed all along. Questions ensue, some that can’t be answered and of course Anna sets back time to before Robert decided to kill himself.
She reverses time to fix her mistakes. Occasionally she chats with the narrator every time she says reverse, and asks more questions about the audience as we appear along with the narrator every time she says that word “reverse”. As I write this, I am beginning to think - suicide? time travel? This play is crazy right? Well honestly, that wasn’t even a question in my head at the time. The question that really stuck in my mind BESIDES “Do I really matter?” was “What would I do if I could time travel?”.
Soon Anna basically travels around, fixes this moment and time from childhood, plays the lottery with the winning numbers and hey, why not even stop Hitler right? But soon Anna is stopped, and as explained by the narrator that well, all of these things happen for a reason. In an odd reality if it wasn’t Hitler, it’d be someone way worse who wasn’t as foolish to put all his soldiers here instead of there. If it wasn’t that little girl last week, it would’ve been twenty kids this week. And those certain things like that, made me continue to wonder - do I really matter?
That title definitely spoke to me, that compared to ALL the other things going on the world it’s not that I don’t matter, it’s those petty arguments and immature differences - they don’t matter. We may all be here today, but what about the next?
- Kory L.