Thursday, March 20, 2008

Life imitates art

Saw two plays this week. Tuesday night I saw Red Light Winter by Adam Rapp at the Havana. I really enjoyed the performances, they were outstanding and even better, I thought about it the next day. It was a disturbing portrayal of a twisted friendship between two men and the prostitute that is brought back to their room while they are on holiday. The characters aren't really likeable and yet the actors portrayed them with such sensitivity and pathos, it was hard not to be haunted by them.

The other play, Rabbit Hole by David Lindsay-Abaire at the Stanley Theatre, I saw last night. This play was about a couple who's 4 year old son who ran out into the street after his dog and was killed by a car and the aftermath of its grief. The script was somewhat superficial, but if you had ever suffered such a loss in your family, there would be moments that really have you crying your eyes out. Her whole family tiptoes around her emotions. What struck me was when the mother while packing up the little boy's bedroom asks her mother (who had also lost her son to a drug overdose) if the pain ever gets better. The mother tells her the hole never goes away but that's okay with her. I got that. The wife even snaps and slaps a woman in the supermarket who studiously ignores her son who gets upset when she won't buy him fruit roll-ups. She feels justified because how could she felt the woman didn't appreciate the fact that he was even there. And when her mother explains that her daughter is grieving the loss of her son, the irate stranger does not press charges. Question: would you expect infertile people to receive that kind of sympathy?

You see there are so many women suffering through infertility, miscarriage, infant loss and for those who never have a happy ending; there's a hole in them that never goes away. As was demonstrated in the play, grief can be isolating. The wife tried to keep herself busy baking some perfect creation in her spotless kitchen, always holding tightly wound self together, the husband watching videos of his son and not wanting his son's things to be put away; he starts to spend time with another woman from their grief support group because the wife pushes him away; her irresponsible younger sister becomes pregnant and she struggles to be okay with it; her friendship with another woman with kids slides away because the friend won't speak to her. The husband tries to explain that people can be awkward about those things. You see the similarities? At the end, she agrees to go to a BBQ of the friends they used to hang out with. The husband reminds her there will be kids there, but she's ready to go anyway. She asks him, "Now what will we do?" and goes they talk about what they'll do and how they'll handle it.

My husband once questioned how I was going to get through a shower of a former friend of ours. I told him I'd bring the present, help with the food, stay for an hour maybe an hour and a half, and then I'd leave. I had it all planned out. I did that 3 times before I called a halt on attending any more baby showers.

It occurred to me to write a play about infertility. I wonder how many people would come see it? Does it really matter? Instead of wondering about the end result, I should write it anyway. There are so many misconceptions about infertility, it would be great if I could contribute something that would bring some enlightenment on the subject.


Shinejil said...

Write that play! Please! And let us know how it unfolds.

Pamela T. said...

Q:"Would you expect infertile people to receive that kind of sympathy?"

A: Hell, no!

Unfortunately there's just zero awareness about the hole that's left in the wake of infertility losses. Do write the the play! I'll come for opening night...

Barely Sane said...

write it!!! write it!!!

I promise to come see it (and I'm local so you know u can hold me to it!)

annacyclopedia said...

De-lurking to say: please write that play! I live in Saskatchewan, but I'll totally come to see it.

Great post. I think the reason infertile people don't get the same sympathy as someone who's lost an older child is that infertility just doesn't seem like a real loss to people who haven't gone through it. And it is so difficult to express how hard it is to grieve the loss of something that others don't see as real.

Forever Hopeful said...

Yes write the play, write the play!! I'll definitely come as well.

One thing that surprised me the most about IF is how clueless and how insensitive people are about it how hard this is. I think that's what makes IF so much harder. We feel so alone and no one even realizes how hard it really is except fellow infertiles.

PS: Thank you for your support and words of wisdom on my blog.

One View said...

Sorry the last comment was from me. Its Foreverhopeful (not Forever).

Wordgirl said...

I think that's a terrific idea! I would love to see a play that dealt with IF..

thank you so much for your support -- i've been such a lazy blogger of late -- but I've been reading consistently and when I first read this entry I got goosebumps and thought 'that's a great, great idea...'

You are a beautiful writer too -- I often flashback to the image of you and your mother....

I hope today is a peace-filled day,


loribeth said...

I would love to see that play too! You could bring it on the road to Toronto & I'd come see it (& you!).

There was a play in New York about a year ago -- a musical/comedy (!!) called "Infertility: The Musical." They were promoting it on INCIID & I got to hear some clips of some of the songs. Not sure whether you can still find them out there somewhere in cyberspace. There was with the totally unforgettable title of "I've Got Sperm in My Pocket & I'm Talking to Eileen" (husband delivering sample to clinic gets waylaid by chatty neighbour). There was another one with a couple writing a letter to an adoption agency ("Dear Adoption Agency, I would like a baby please."). And a ballad called "If I Had You" that had me in tears.

Kevin, Leah & Bodhi said...

Reserve two tickets for me an Kev.