Thursday, February 14, 2013

leave of absence | artistic director notes

Ron's notes on LEAVE OF ABSENCE.

Leave of Absence is essential Lucia. Spirituality and sexuality. Devotion and doubt. Very human beings, messy relationships, transcendence. It’s funny, and it’ll break your heart.

Lucia’s opposites don’t blend together into a compromised middle. The dark is right alongside the light, vivid and confronting. There are disturbing things and there are deeply comforting things – and neither cancels out the other.

When this play makes me uneasy, or angry, or what I’m seeing seems too much, I remember words in another of Cia’s plays. “The espresso - she’s life. Quick, black, bitter in the mouth. Don’t expect sweet. Don’t add for the milk to take away the strong.”

Lucia is a fearless playwright, and she challenges us to join her in looking long and hard at some things it would be easier to look away from. I don’t think anybody gets an easy ride with this one. Whichever end of whatever spectrum you might be on, there will be something here that won’t go down easy.

The play won’t boil down to a position statement. She gives us vividly drawn, fully fleshed characters, puts them through the kinds of things that really happen to people, and we see what it’s like to experience what they experience, think what they think, feel what they feel.

I remember talking to a PT audience member about shows he had seen. He named some favourites, but then singled out one that really didn’t sit well with him. “I know,” I responded. “That play makes me so angry!” He was shocked. How could I choose a play for our stage that I didn’t agree with? Or that I wasn’t “on side” with?

Well, of course, plays aren’t sermons, or messages, or position statements. At least, most of the good ones aren’t. Our playwrights are just saying, “That’s something that people live, and it matters” – and we’re just putting it out there so we can all try it on, see for ourselves what it might be like to live that life.

We think that matters.

Ron Reed

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