Posts Tagged ‘hospice’


August 11, 2010

The Antlers: Two

In the middle of the night
I was sleeping sitting up
when the doctor came to tell me
enough is enough
brought me out into the hall
I could’ve sworn it was haunted

he told me something that I didn’t know that I wanted to hear

that there was nothing I could do to save you

the choir’s gonna sing
and this thing is gonna kill you

The Antlers kick ass. I’ve seen them three times now, once last weekend at the House of Blues opening for The National (great show, AWFUL crowd). The song above, “Two”, was my favorite song of 2009 (and I still can’t put it on without looping it five times). Their first full-length record, Hospice, still blows my mind, a sort-of concept record juxtaposing a home-care professional’s desire to save a doomed (and hopeless) cancer patient with a crumbling relationship (that neither parties are able to leave). What I love about it is how it ends, with the narrator accepting the fact that sometimes things can’t be saved. Sometimes things die and there’s nothing you can do but let them die and move on. A lesson learned, sure, but in the record’s chilling epilogue, it becomes clear that it will still haunt the shit out of you.

I love it for its honesty. I’m bored with all these stories about miraculous recoveries, about people being saved from their pits of despair. Often, that doesn’t happen. Often, we die. Things die. And we think, perhaps, that we’re beyond saving at all.

With any play that I write, I try to think of the obvious ending and then go the opposite direction. It’s an inherent quality to my process, and one that brings me all manner of freak-outs. Ultimately, though, I think it makes my writing better. Audiences/critics often tell me my plays went a route much different than where they thought it was going to go. OR, if it did, when we arrived there the characters were of a different mindset than they had thought would be the case.

I take this as a compliment.

Dissatisfaction, I think, is a recurring theme in my work. Those who have found salvation often find themselves bored with it. I’ve seen it happen a million times. I’ve done it. We attach ourselves to destructive personalities because we either want to save them, too, thus giving us more power in our salvation, OR we’re fascinated by their potential to destroy our carefully constructed worldview and give us something new, something fresh, something dangerous.

GHOSTBOX dabbles in the latter, I think. We just want to FEEL something, I think. And we’d be willing to sacrifice everything in order to do so. The woman in the play remarks to the man near the end, “I could see my damnation in your eyes.”

Sometimes we die so we can find a new savior.

Sometimes the old savior isn’t enough.

Sometimes we just want to be turned the fuck on.

It’s a romantic idea, sure, but I know I’ve denied something exciting in favor or something familiar more times than I can count. And part of me regrets that. Part of me wants to give myself over to desire. That’s what the woman does in GHOSTBOX. She sacrifices her salvation.

She lets it die.

Thanks, Antlers.

First reading is this Sunday. A little nervewracking. Mostly exciting. The play is there. Now it’s about tightening, sharpening, focusing. It’s about sacrificing some cool stuff for some resonant stuff.

Also got interviewed for an article in Chicago magazine about some of the horror plays opening this fall in Chicago. Will post and such when there is something to post. Hoo-ray.

More Antlers:

AON Sessions: The Antlers, “Two” from All Our Noise on Vimeo.