by Andy De, playwright (“Relationships are Hard”) and actor (“Jolene”)

I’m terrified of other people. It’s not unreasonable. We’re totally pre-conditioned to be afraid of people we don’t know. We are told not to get into cars with strangers, to avoid giving out personal information, hell sometimes people tell you to avoid eye contact. Why? It’s simple. It’s because we don’t know what other people are thinking. Truth is, we don’t know what our friends, family and lovers are thinking either.  People have had friends betray them, had family members take advantage of them, and had their significant others lie straight to their faces. It happens all the time. Even your parents, if they decided to stay involved in your life (doesn’t happen for everyone), still may not love you all that much. I mean, I’m sure they do because you’re their kid and they have to, but do they really? Look at some of the entries in this blog:

I get it, it’s harmless venting, but DAMN. Once the internet provides that cloak of anonymity you see some really dark and twisted honesty. No one is safe, and no one’s “love” is guaranteed. In truth, you are totally alone because the only person you are guaranteed to truly know is you. You “have” no one. And that’s the good version!  Simply not being guaranteed real love in any form is okay, when you realize that lots of people could hate you, could want to do bad things to you, could make you want to go away, and you’d never know until they actually tried to do it. Shit.

Our genius playwright-in-residence Erica Smith has created a piece called “Jolene” that, in its own way, touches on this issue. I play Charlie in the play, and without giving anything away, Charlie is a little hard to figure out. Not only to the other characters, Agnes and Jolene, but to me, my awesome director Michael Silver, and even Erica herself. This is an example of a direction I actually got: “You’re a straight onion at this point”. I KNOW. Everyone keeps telling me that it’s up to me to come up with an intent for Charlie, because Erica’s masterfully written text gives me a lot to work with while giving me a ton of space to go wherever I want with the character. I’ve done it different every time we’ve rehearsed it. I’m never quite sure what am I going to do when I sit up, with one hand chained behind me, and look over at Emily Mullin’s Agnes, with her eyes desperate and pleading, and then look over at Rebecca Fishler’s Jolene, all confidence with a strange air of affectionate malice. I have no idea what Charlie’s going to be  thinking…until I think it.

Well, I guess that’s what ends up being the scariest thing of all right? It isn’t the fact that we don’t ever truly know what the people we love and trust the most in this world are thinking or feeling or capable of-

It’s that they aren’t quite sure either.

Happy Halloween.  I’ll see you guys at the show.

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