Egos, perceptions make for strange relationships
There are a lot of issues that could happen to cause the failure of a long term relationship Grasshopper. There are very few honest reasons.
WElCOME TO MY WORLD: Today when perception is talked about I still remember the observation from the New York Times Human resource staffer when they surveyed personnel at the then NYT owned Gainesville Sun newspaper. An employee In my department told the HR officer for a manager it was surprising I didn't know how to operate any of the equipment, or perform any of the tasks in my area.
"That's not true," I said. "I work hands on with the department staff every day."
"It doesn't matter," the HR officer said with a blank look, shrugging her shoulders. "This employee's perception, her reality, is you don't do those things Mike."
The Hippodrome Theater's production of Pulitzer prize winner Donald Marguiles play Collected Stories isn't about teenage love shared like in the movie 'GREASE". Having personally been involved in several man, woman loving relationships where it was apparent the wheels were coming off, the fabric of union unraveling, it seems to me love, friendship, commitment will often take a backseat to selfish personal, ambitions, egotistical needs in spite of how relevant they are to the other individual.
The sometime puzzling relationships among, lovers, best friends, parents and children pale compared to oftentimes long term, conflicted relationship of a mentor and their prodigy.
The paradox of the play is a mentor, a sage, a wise teacher progressing in maturity, perceives she is in a decline of importance. The mentor watches her protégé come of age, excelling, assuming many of the roles the mentor once enjoyed. Feelings become exaggerated, emotions is bared to the bone for the audience in this thought provoking exercise about life, maturity, and what aging is really all about.
With the small in house office of Ruth Steiner – played by Sara Morsey, right, in image below – as the backdrop for these two female writers to meet, befriend, discuss, and compare story ideas over a six year period sets the stage for personal growth that eerily allows the characters to ultimately assume each other's identity in this union of friends, colleagues, life partners.
Fresh out of college and ready to take on the literary world Lisa Morrison -- played by Juliana Davis, left in amgae above – could not believe her luck in acquiring an internship with the literary world's writing superstar Ruth Steiner, and her writing idol.
The relationship begins with Juliana's understandable idolatry, envy and wanting to please her. Ruth Steiner the wise, and seasoned teacher enjoyed the antics of this youthful 'grasshopper' that was living on her every piece of advice.
Kudos to the Hipp's technical staff especially Costume Designer Jessica Nilacala Kreitzer who very smartly moved the audience through this time period of internal change starting with the appropriate clothing Lisa Morrison, a youthful scribe dressed in casual jeans and shorts, to becoming a mature woman, (mentor?), dressed in professional attire.
The Transformation of Sara Morsey's character from an accomplished writing professional to an aging woman unsure of her role in life was visually remarkable.
One of the personal treats for my Hipp Theater experience is how Sound Designer Amanda Yanes incorporates timely music to the story. You could clearly see the age discrepancy of the two demonstrated when Ruth enters the office and immediately turns down the younger protégé's music.
In an almost supernatural affect I was witnessing a very real changing of roles, shifting of identities in the final scene of this two act play. It was only the next morning when I awoke realizing the characters – Ruth, and Lisa, -- were basing all there conflicts, professional angst on their own personal perceptions, or misperceptions?. Perceptions their colleague would surely discount as inaccurate.
When I think about play wrights, and their intent, when they create screenplays, stories like Collected Stories I think of Lauren Caldwell's statement to me last year: "It's not about what the writer, director had in mind for the meaning of the play. The art of the theater is for the viewer to gain a personal awareness, enlightenment from the story, performance."
Thanks Warhol! The obvious, misunderstanding these two characters were basing their mutual life on in the end opened my eyes to many of my personal, sometimes fractured misperceptions.
The Hippodrome Theater's production of Collected Stories continues with performances scheduled on various days, and times through January 31. FOLLOW THIS LINK for more Collected Stories information.