If we weren’t hurtling from one rehearsal to the next, from one major undertaking to our once-a-year benefit this evening, then perhaps we’d have more breathing space for reflections from our festival — from our culminating presentation last night of Motti Lerner’s THE ADMISSION. All in due time, of course, the meanings, the truths, the impact will all surface and be voiced. Until then, a first devastated reaction from a wonderful follower of so many of our festival offerings. (May many others share responses as well…)
from Marsheda Ewulomi
I left the theater with a weight of emotion. I could not speak. I could just listen to my music during the walk home, feeling the wind and fighting/embracing some force unknown to myself. Kelly Rowland’s “This is Love” was on playing over and over again on my small black mp3 player. The string instruments soothed my shaken spirit while strengthening the shake’s intensity. On the surface, I am sure I appeared to be enjoying an evening walk through a beautifully lit Washington D.C. In fact I was enjoying the walk. I enjoyed the not speaking, the turmoil, the fact that I am feeling and not numb even if I was unsure of what that feeling was per say.
It was not until I entered the safety of my empty apartment that my face fell and the tears along with it. Here crouched in prayer position I saw my grayish blue carpet sprinkled with many colors and different hues. I saw the bones of my anger, my own past, and my own destruction. You see I was having a lot of trouble with this festival because I subconsciously felt that I was betraying myself. As an African American who is unsure of at least half of her roots (my father is Nigerian and my mother is black), I am watching a people argue over having a known refuge, that they can see, taste and feel. I felt as if I was trying to learn of a solution for another people when I cannot stop the killing in my neighborhoods, in my schools, when I cannot get my people to realize that they should fight for their refuge. I am not proud of these feelings—a human’s problem is not tainted by social identity. But it was how I felt. Somehow this play showed me how wrong I was. Wrong not because I was not justified. I have the right to be pissed, the same way each party in the Arab and Israeli conflict has that right as well.
The problem is not in the justification of anger; the problem is the point of focus. Should we be focusing on our anger, on our past, on our dead? I ask this because Giora, the play’s main protagonist, was obsessed with the idea of digging up the graves of the dead, giving them a proper burial, and a headstone that listed the names of the Arabs massacred at the site. I can understand this notion. We must address a wound in order for it to begin to heal. But is it worth bandaging the leg of a deceased man, while there is an injured man whose blood is being lost as you look to the dead man? I do not condone his father’s desire to bury the story. I do not agree with humanity’s cycle of repression. I can understand while disagreeing and agreeing with both sides. Similar to this play, life is not a binary argument. That is why I could see my own destruction as I looked at my speckled carpet. Each speck represented living human being and each moment I spent being caught in the past I was allowing the death count increase. Humanity needs to find the balance between dealing with the dead (the past) and encouraging the living (the present). We have to find this balance because the past and present coexist, they are not the two separate entities that we try to make them out to be.
The play ends with the image of a collapsed Giora on a hill while his mother holds the memorial service for his previously fallen brother. The image gives the impression of yet another life being claimed by the past.
Of course, the play was so much more complex portrayed here and was brilliant in the tension between themes and characters. But I had to comment on what the piece invoked in me. People walk around hurt, afraid that one day their hurt will show itself to the outside world. I cannot help but think that we were not created to kill each other, to hide our hurt by justifying our conviction to kill.
If you get the opportunity to see “The Admission” do not hesitate to make it to the theater.