I spent the last two weeks in a black box called theatre creating the world of a play called THE OTHER WORLD, where audiences are invited to travel to Utopia. They arrive at the station of The Unfathomable Travel Agency, where they are directed to the waiting area. A train station, an airport, a liminal space from where we can travel to imaginable destinations, such as Planet B, Dystopia – and the one they are waiting for, Utopia.
The play speaks about bare feet, connecting with Earth – it explores the collapse of society in a kind way – it asks questions about care and control that often bother me. Care, like many other things that hold a value that is unmeasurable, is often measured in terms of success, length, and other structures that do not really make it possible.
You can’t fail at care – every attempt at it is a struggle toward compassion and connection. But if we evaluate care from the point of view of success, it becomes a thing we can fail at, a thing to be afraid of – and care, that already carries a tendency toward control within itself, becomes corrupt.
“We are the wilderness, and like the wilderness, all we are grows. Whatever we have grows – whatever we choose, grows. And what really grew was the control.”
When I was around 20, I met a drunk philosophy student outside an Irish bar in Helsinki, Finland. We got into an argument about freedom and choice and things related when I pointed out that I want to be limited, I want to eventually die and I don’t want to have an endless amount of choice over my life.
I wasn’t completely sure myself back then why I wanted that – I certainly wasn’t saying I want privileged males to limit me or that I want a government that tells me what to do, which is how I think he understood me.
Making this play, I think I returned to that drunken thought, that drunken fight under streetlamps and rain and blackness of winter when snow did no longer fall and what it meant.
I want to be limited by Earth, its rhythms, and its resources, because being limited by this means being connected, and being connected means not being alone, and not being alone means that there is the care and it doesn’t have to be measured, that despite the events we consider as failures within care, the care still persists, is, just exists, in how we support each other – including non-humans. Connection, vulnerability, and other scary things we avoid are the things I long for more than anything.
I’m delighted when I can only wash laundry on sunny days because it won’t dry otherwise. I hate having seven hundred brands of yogurt to choose from. I love how the Earth – rocks, stones, temperature – slows me down when walking barefoot. I like to be limited, I like being a part of something, in conversation, affected and growing like the wilderness, that which we are.
What we tend to consider as freedom of choice seems to be a lot like loneliness.
The Other World is a play developed together with actor Anastasia Trizna (Helsinki, Finland) – with the support of Arts Promotion Centre Finland and Galway County Council – with the dramaturgical support from Town Hall Theatre Playwrights (Galway) – developed in Theatre57 TEST residency with actor Julie Quinn (Galway).