Today I want to talk about choices.
We all make choices. Sometimes they are simple choices – what to have for lunch, whether to wear one shirt over another. Other times they’re spur of the moment choices – choosing to check in your suitcase, for example, after the gate agent suggests that it may or may not have to be checked anyway, only to remember at the last minute that you’ve got a plastic case of Trader Joe’s dark chocolate peanut butter cups as well as a cardboard canister of oats in there that you were really counting on not getting squished and now have to slightly agonize about it until you pick up your bag again (thankfully, all was well).
And then there are choices that, in retrospect, seem absolutely inexplicable. Like going to see a show on the day you arrive after a transatlantic flight.
But more on that in a minute. First, Boston.
Overall, everything went fine. I won’t lie and say it wasn’t a bit odd being back at first, but I’m not sure whether that has more to do with the lingering memories of the breakup this place holds, or if it was simply a result of not being able to go back to the apartment I lived in while I was here. I will say though, that whether consciously or not, I did not go back to Central Square, nor past the apartment. The closest I came was the Dumpling House on Mass. Ave, where I met up with a couple friends for dinner.
But in sum, no breakdowns, no backtracking. Maybe this was in part because I was just so busy all the time, but I’m just going to attribute it to general healing and progress.
And now back to the topic of today’s entry: choices.
I’m not entirely sure what the sequence of events was, but at some point, my brain told me that yes it was a good idea to go see a 21h (9pm) show – a two hour 9pm show – on the same day that I arrived back from Boston. Seeing as how I have a really hard – read: impossible – time falling asleep on airplanes, I think it was just the challenge to stay awake in and of itself that motivated me to not try and exchange the theatre ticket for another night.
And so last night I returned to the Théâtre de la Bastille to see a performance of Des Territoires (…d’une prison l’autre) the second in a three-part series of plays by Baptiste Amann. The general gist of it is ‘what would a 21st century revolution look like’, and it explores this through the mise en scène of a family of four – three brothers and one sister – just returning home after burying their parents. Upon entering their house, they are accosted by two acquaintances, who inform them that outside a rebellion is brewing and getting closer. The cast is rounded out with the arrival of Louise Michel (yes, as in named after the Communard and 19th century French Anarchist Louise Michel), a sort of ‘anachronistic’ element that not only anchors the rest of the characters within their own time, but also draws them back to the Paris Commune of 1871.
I’ll be honest, I spent the majority of the first half of the play trying not to nod off, so I think I missed a lot of…well…everything, but there was a point towards the final third where a loud, sharp sound cue announced the start of something between a dream sequence and a flashback. Paris, 1871, the tail end of the Commune; the Communards have reunited, and one of them, Théophile Ferré (who was played by the same actor that played the mentally disabled brother of the sibling quartet), is marked for dead. So begins an examination of the nature of revolutions, of who they sacrifice, who is left behind, and in all this, where – and how – the human can be found again.
Given my lack of complete coherence, I think what stood out to me most were the technical elements, especially the sound design, which used the cavernous nature of the space to create an immersive and almost pressingly present soundscape.
Of course, by the time the play ended, I was about this close to falling asleep on the sidewalk, so I didn’t necessarily take the time to note my post-show reflections either.
As such, today I took things a bit easy: after an 8am (yeah that was a reallllly smart idea) meeting with a student, I rewarded myself with a brisk walk for a bit before heading home to buy some groceries and do laundry.
And now my eyes are getting heavy again, so I’m just going to end this here.
It’s good to be back here again.