I am a person who is extraordinarily sensitive to criticism.
Obviously, therefore, it was a great idea to become an artist, so I could be reviewed, so I would have to audition and listen to people say, “Next.”
Seriously, what I’m really extraordinarily sensitive to is interpersonal ugliness. And reviews often don’t have that. (I mean, okay, outside of when your play pushes someone’s personal buttons and they go a little apeshit, but most reviewers really love art, so….)
I find myself, this time, reading the reviews while the performance is still going on, even though I’ve sworn I wouldn’t, even though I’ve been told it’s not a good idea. But I’m not reading as actress. I’m reading as a writer who wants to see if people understand what the hell I’m talking about. And I find I’m able to see past my sensitivity to criticism and really hear the reviewer’s experience.
I’m really liking reading the reviews. I wish there were many more of them!
I suppose this is partly because I assume no one understands what I’m talking about most of the time. I trace this back to my discovery of the nature of the universe.
It happened like this: I’d lost a tooth. My father came into my room to claim the tooth and replace it with a quarter, and I woke up while he was doing so. The next day I went out to the field behind our house and lay on the limb of a tree, contemplating. I was six. A contemplative six, but, nevertheless, six.
I reached an epiphany. I climbed out of the tree, marched back to the house, slammed open the screen door to the kitchen and looked at my mother and father. I walked up to them. (Not only contemplative, but dramatic.)
“There’s no tooth fairy,” I said. “And there’s no Easter Bunny. And there’s no Santa Clause and you’ve been lying to me and I want to know why.”
They turned to each other in slow motion, meeting each other’s eyes in dumbfounded shock. They glanced at me, back at each other, and then back at me again. Clearly, they were wondering where the hell I had come from. As in, which planet.
“Don’t tell your brothers and sisters,” my mother finally said.
I thought, “They have no idea what they’re doing.”
This turned out to be true, as it does with most parents, only more so.
And I was left with the conclusion that I came from a different planet and no one had any idea how to talk to me. That has remained my view of the universe, confirmed by much if not all of my experience during my stay here.
So, YAY for reviewers, who seem to be visiting my planet with some idea of the language spoken here. With the exception of social issues. I’m not really writing about social issues –I’m using them to write about the nature of love. I find social issues boring except in how we experience them in the most personal of relationships. I don’t mean that human rights are boring. I just find it self-evident that everyone is equal. And why isn’t it self-evident to everyone? Because human beings have brains that create hierarchy so they’re always trying to one up each other to get more power. That’s sad more than boring, but also seems, very unfortunately, to be self-evident.
I hope on my home planet, wherever that is, the species is innately non-hierarchical and takes better care of things.
In the meantime, I’m appreciating reviewers for coming to my planet. And if they don’t like everything here…well, that’s their prerogative. I’m just glad to read about the visits.