Monday, December 10, 2012


Earlier this week I attended a one-act play, “Talley’s Folly” written by American playwright Lanford Wilson. There were two actors and one set. The play lasted just over 90 minutes without an intermission. The theater was small and intimate, seating no more than 100 people. The actors were so close at times you could nearly reach out and touch them. In such a small venue the story came to life more than any other play I've attended in larger theaters. It reminded me of my childhood, watching Mr. Rogers or Romper Room, and truly believing I was right there with the hosts, believing they were speaking directly to me and me alone. The audience members sighed, chuckled and gasped at the same moments, and you could see and feel the effect of the immediate feedback on the actors.  

The story itself was a very personal dialog between the two characters, Matt and Sally, and at times I felt as if I were intruding on their conversation, and that none of us should be there listening and watching. The play is a somewhat complicated
tale of love that ultimately leads to marriage, with each of the two characters sharing their innermost and longest held secrets and their greatest fears. At one point Matt lamented how afraid we are to share our personal stories, afraid we will crack like an egg if we do, and afraid the damage may be irreparable.  As a result, many of us live too guarded, not wanting to be ‘Humpty Dumpty,’ not wanting to risk getting hurt from a fall. Yet, if we stay hidden behind our protective shells and don’t take the risk of trusting another with our heart then we really aren't living at all.

The protective eggshell is a good analogy. I think it is human nature to be protective and build an outer shell, allowing very few people, if any, into one's inner sanctum.  Over the course of our lives as small hurts are hurled at us, we build up our shell a little at a time with each event –  a name calling on the playground, a criticism from a parent, a slight by a friend, a rejection, a passing
judgment, the list is endless. We build up our shell to insulate ourselves from future hurts, but in the process we also limit ourselves to the joys life can bring through our relationships if we become too protective. The challenge we all face is mastering the egg balancing act, taking the risk and climbing up on that wall, and not being afraid to be ourselves, imperfections and all. Perhaps it’s not so bad to be half-cracked!

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful! I am trying to be more transparent, at least in my writing life. Sometimes it is so difficult to share what you don't even want to think about...thanks for your thoughts!