Have you ever wondered how you might react if you found out you were being watched all the time? Some of us might shy away from acting out on our desires, impulses, and fantasies. Some of us would surely hide. After you find out that you are being watched, what if you were told the world is coming to an end? Not eventually, but within the hour. Surely you would come out of hiding, and be unafraid of revealing the truth of who you are. The weight of your existence would be lightened by the fact that it’s all coming to an end very quickly. There’s an hour left. Do we take the stage, and reveal the truth of who we are, or do we remain hidden, already dying in our silence? Mad Gravity explores what it would be like to take the stage in the moments before death, and live out our innermost fantastical desires.
On the day of the show, I arrived early at Chapel Theatre. The ticket in my hand was purple, and appeared comfortably normal. So much so, that I slipped it into my pocket without another thought. I heard the ticket salesman address another voice coming from the same room as director, and quickly turned around to catch a look. He was closer to the door than I had hoped, and caught my curious eyes with a questioning glance. “Director?” I said questioningly. “Yes, can we help you?” he replied, calmer than I had anticipated. As I regained my nerves, I introduced myself and that I was hoping to get a chance to ask him some questions before the play begins. “Concerning?” The play of course, sir. “In a few minutes I will answer any questions you might have, but first I must see to something. Have a seat wherever you like, and I will be with you shortly.”
My God! What had I done? I had no questions really, but surely wanted to get a chance to talk to a director. Most of the time you never see the director, and if you do, it’s to applaud a sorry play or listen to him build himself up, and at the same time make you feel small and unimportant. This guy was different. He was a real class act, you could tell. I don’t know much about traditional dress suits, but his appeared to be made of fine wool. It was like something you’d see on Cary Grant, or Jimmy Stewart in “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
I found a seat in the hall, and opened up the event page on my iPhone. I read through the description quickly, only because it was short, and saw at the bottom “Director: Allen Lyndrup.” Okay, that’s better. I know his name and I still have no idea what the plays about, so I’ll ask him. He came to meet me faster than I had imagined, and suggested we sit on the benches outside and enjoy a little fresh air while we talked.
Formal introductions were made, and I rattled off my question at a nervous speed.
Me: The description of “Mad Gravity” is intriguing, yet vague. As the Director, how would you describe this play?
Lyndrup: The vagueness is purposeful. The performance is what speaks, and cannot be captured in words. The playwright is searching for a post-structuralist form of theatre, while also retaining strong elements of farce. The improbability of the play is what makes it so delightful and keeps you wondering if it really is the same play every time. There is a point where the actors stop what they’re doing, look out upon the audience and ask “Why are you watching us, when you could be out in the world living your own lives?”
I can answer that question better now that I have seen the play and I would have to respond with this: “The reason I come to plays is in hope of finding a story as rich, intricate, and engaging as that of “Mad Gravity.” A new bar has been set for theatrical performances.”
Lyndrup and I chatted about other aspects of the play, but I don’t want to give anymore away. Seeing is believing. Totally should have used quotations on that, but I’m not a big fan of the expression, and want to limit its importance as much as I can. It doesn’t really fit anyway for “Mad Gravity”.
Mad Gravity steals the audience from their seats, and places them all in the wild imaginings of its absurd world. Brutal honesty, and unlikely conditions are what make it so irrational. Needless to say, it all could happen in the actual world. The question that is asked is, “what would you do if you found out the world was coming to an end soon, and why wouldn’t you live the same way now?” When impending doom is realized, a new world is created by the honest expression of the inner desires of each character. Everything transitions naturally, evolving into a mad, strange, yet embracing world. Audience and cast share in laughter and hope. The suspense is not in fearing what’s to come, but in anticipation of the height and depth to which the story can rise and fall, and rise again, before the world ends. Each time climbing higher and crashing down into a slow motion explosion of sights, sound, and color. Like a geyser, building pressure, and bursting forth into the multicolored and multifaceted scenery of a strange world, that holds us tenderly in its smooth loops, and swings us into the outstretched arms of destiny. Hidden within the story’s landscape is a burning message shaded by budding trees and soothed with the cool breeze of humor and improbability.
This play in words cannot express the experience of being carried through the mad, mad world of “Mad Gravity.” If I were to describe it in one sentence, I would say, “Mad Gravity pulls you up above the twilight zone, consumes your fear of expression in the rise and spin of its bizarre imagination, and spits out the truth of who you are in colorful arrays of astonishing connections.
You see, this play cannot be organized, but it flows with such ease. Why? I don’t know. Seeing it once, would only be seeing a small part of this unfolding world. It can be viewed in so many ways, and I will be back to see it again, and hopefully another time, and after that, many more times. A True Masterpiece.