Posts Tagged ‘infusion theatre’

GHOSTBOX: 2

August 2, 2010

Okay, here’s what scares me: God.

Lame, right?

(PS: This shit’s gonna get rambly. Bear with me.)

God scares the living holy hell out of me. It wasn’t always that way, though. I was raised sorta-Catholic-not-really, but still prayed every night. I prayed for girls to like me, I prayed for presents, I prayed for friends, I prayed for parts in plays. I renounced Him in eighth grade after not getting cast in the role of Gutman, a villain in Hurricane Smith, a melodrama my middle school put up.

I remember praying to God and telling him I no longer believed in him.

Sweet Christ, I could never do that now.

Do I believe in God anymore? I don’t like that question. I don’t know how to answer it. I’ll say this: I don’t think I’m “saved.” And while I would never say the religion I spent three years of my life immersed in was wrong, I couldn’t now say that it worked for me or gave me any kind of assurance in either the universe’s fullness or emptiness.

I meet so many people who are so confident in their declarations, that there IS a God and there IS a heaven or WE ARE ALONE and WE ROT IN A BOX.

I remember a house party about four years ago. I remember being very drunk, standing with my friend. I remember us telling a group of eye-rolling hipsters about our nightly trips to the various dives around town.

“Why,” the hipster asked, “have you been drinking so much?”

I smirked, swimming away in my swooning head: “Because there is no love or God.”

I wasn’t serious. I think I was trying to make fun of their apathy.

But still.

That was the first time I’d ever made such an assertion.

And I left soon after, stumbling through residential streets, praying for forgiveness, not necessarily out of contrition, but out of fear.

I can’t make these assertions. I freak the fuck out.

When people ask me what happened, why I gave up the religion I often say, “I failed. I failed at believing in God.”

And they balk. “Well, you failed in that way, in the church’s way. There’s other ways.”

And I know they’re right, sure. But it feels safer somehow, to put the blame on myself. I don’t like blaming God. Not only is it lazy, but it feels like I’m fucking with the universe. I know I believe in something bigger. I most assuredly do not think we are alone in all this energy. I believe something made us the way that we are. Does that mean I don’t believe in free will? Of course not. But I believe that some people just weren’t made to believe. I think I believe that some people just weren’t meant to be saved.

And that scares me, writing that.

And I write plays about that idea. About damnation. About people who are failed by their salvation.

We want salvation for the same reason we want job security. We want an unchanging identity.

Holy shit, somebody just posted this on Facebook:

“We forget that God has never had an identity crisis. He knows that He’s great and deserves to be the center of our lives.”  -Francis Chan

Isn’t that the appeal? We worship people because they know exactly what they are, and we want some of that assurance. But with that assurance comes a desire for rebellion. We want to disrupt.

We want an assured identity so we can go and destroy it again. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

Lately, when I’m feeling rebellious, I tell people I’m gonna get saved again.

It’s funny.

I’m joking, but I’m not. I’ve got a great base here in Chicago and overall, I’d say I’m much happier than I’ve been in years past, but I haven’t loved anybody in years. I haven’t been, like, crazy bonkers-ass excited about anyone in years.

There’s danger there. I mean, what will happen when that does happen? I’ve felt flashes of it. A kiss that stirs things up, a few days of panicked expectation, the lack of a phone call, the lack of an e-mail, and then an eventual settling after some bitchy drinking with close friends.

But where does it go if it doesn’t settle? To God, maybe? That’s what happened last time. I put the face of a heavenly savior on that poor girl. And it fucked both of us up, I think, the sheer intensity.

So.

How does this relate to GHOSTBOX?

Simple. What I just said happens. Sort of.

Kierkegaard always wrote about the “leap of faith,” and there is nothing more terrifying to me than that leap.

If there’s anything I’ve learned over the last ten years it’s about stakes.

The stakes, my friends, are high. We so very rarely come out unscathed from belief, from commitment, from worship .

Like becomes love becomes worship becomes disillusionment becomes destruction.

We choose someone (or some God), and we accept eternity. Heaven or hell. We often think we’re choosing heaven. Why else would we get involved? What if we’re choosing hell?

What if there is a hell and I go there when I die because I gave up my faith?

I am haunted by that shit.

But it’s necessary. To live. I think.

“I think.”

Have you noticed an abundance of those?

“Maybe.”

“I dunno.”

“Who knows.”

I live by these words. I didn’t used to.

But I’m gonna have to make a leap of faith again at some point.

Damned to heaven.

Damned to hell.

Damned = Preordained.

We’re all damned?

I think.

I’m scared of choosing.

Okay.

See, I finished the rehearsal draft last night and these ideas permeate the whole script. I am so, so, so excited to hear them, to dissect them, to bring them to life. We have a great cast that I can’t wait to work with. I’ve seen Vicki Gilbert in a ton of shows, most recently Curse of the Starving Class at New Leaf, and think she just rocks. It’s nice writing these crazy-ass monologues and knowing you’ve got someone capable on hand who’s totally enthused about the whole thing.

I’ve never worked with Kevin Crispin before, but I’ve known him for a while now. Not only a helluva nice guy but has a killer reputation and a sharp mind.

Most importantly, they both strike me as actors who are willing to go there. Celise Kalke from the Alliance, one of the most wonderful proponents of theatre out there today, told me once that I need good actors for my plays. I’m not Neil Simon. You can’t just say the lines and make it work. It takes a real immersion. I’ve been so blessed with Pretty Penny and Hesperia, my last two Chicago productions, to have actors that were so willing to dive headfirst into the material. I know it’s not easy, especially when I’m going to the dark, dark places I go. Looks like Ghostbox will continue that trend.

And speaking of Hesperia, we’ve got two weekends left. Check http://therbp.org for details.

Okay, I should probably do some work now.

Stay tuned.