Today at the ITS conference, I had the opportunity to see a one act performance and a musical called Pippin.
The one act was about a girl who had a very depressed mother who tried to commit suicide. To try to cheer up her mother, the seven year old girl started to create a list of things that made her happy. The storyline followed her through her life. Her mother was still depressed and this girl, who is much older now, is still making the list. The list gains a lot of attention and people from all walks of life add to the list of great things about life. Eventually this girl (now woman) gets married. However, she starts to distance herself from people, terrified that she will end up like her mother. Her husband leaves her, and her mother succumbs to her depression. The woman tears up the list (after reaching over 100,000 reasons). She felt hopeless until she found a note from her husband (that left her). He had started a new list of things that makes life worth living: peeling off a big paint chip, and other small things. This woman then recreates the list and gets it to over one million reasons why life is worth living. She continues to write this list throughout her life.
This one act was put on by one woman with the help of the audience. I feel like they way the play write wrote the one act play was good. He handled the subject matter very well. It was written to inspire, not just to bring the topic to peoples’ consciences.
I feel like this is a good suggestion to do when you’re going through a rough patch.
The second show I saw was Pippin. Now, this one was difficult to watch because it was kind of confusing and it handled the subject matter poorly. In the program, after the summary of the musical, it had the suicide prevention hotline. I wasn’t sure how this show was going to go. This version is different from the famous version. This one is through the high school “lens”.
This version of Pippin is about this high school guy named Pippin. He wants to make something of himself–be popular basically. He doesn’t like to just be ordinary. He tries everything to try to find his place. He eventually gives up (and doesn’t care about anyone or anything anymore). Throughout the whole show, they reference social media, showing tweets and Facebook posts about the current situation. Towards the end, people were saying awful things about Pippin on social media. Saying how he’ll never find his place. How he’s not good enough and how he never will be.
The one thing that was hard to watch was the second to last number. They brought out this 15ish foot stair case. Pippin was practically forced up these stairs by the figurative monsters of social media represented by the characters. They were all telling him to jump off to end his life. Forcefully. There was a lot of screaming during this scene. (The message here was that social media will only make you feel bad about yourself) However, Pippin decided to climb down and not listen to them. He threw his phone away and decided to go his own path. It ended in full circle; a younger kid, that Pippin knew, picked up a phone and started that whole ugly cycle of not meeting the expectations and demands that society has for him.
Both of these shows really made me think.