A colleague of mine has been putting on a few solos shows in the past months about her life experiences. Living in NY, 80% of your friends are either in a band, does stand-up, is an artist or engage in some other ‘profession’ that involves your participation (and door cover) Everyone gets at least one free pass. One gig, one reading, one art show, one class (whatever it may be) You tend to be able to pick up signs, when a ‘friend’ really sucks at his/her chosen ‘profession’ If NO-ONE talks about thier past gigs (but them), that is usually an indication.
So my friend and I decided to go to Jenni’s show RASH at The Tank What the hell, it was 8$. Even if it was bad, it was atleast cheap, lasted only an hour and involved drinking before and after the ordeal to mitigate any possible pain to come. I was very pleasently surprised. Its a GREAT show.
The stories that Jenni tells bring the distant stories of the Rwandan genocide to a personal level. Yes, we have all seen Hotel Rwanda. Perhaps you may have even seen the HBO movie ‘Sometimes in April’, but sitting in that room with 100 other people, you feel that Jenni is telling you about what happened to her as if you were the person sitting across from her chair watching her knit. As you satrt realizing that these humanitarian workers are just normal people like you and me, you begin to listen to her stories as you would be listening to a dear friend who just got back from a post.
She spends the hour telling you about how she went from Scotland to being a UN monitor in post Genocide Rwanda. She talks about how her family kept asking her to ‘come home’ and how a parent should never bury a child. She talks about a multicultural love affair and the daily struggles of being a humanitarian worker in a conflict zone.
The stories struck an especially personal chord for me as I have a friend who is pretty much walking down that same road. The pull of being on the front lines, in constant danger versus the compromise of settling in one place and trying to have a personal life is something she contends with. People who live in that world of constant fear and danger have their own mechanisms of survival. There is a reason why they drink so much, smoke so much and fuck so much. As my Isreali friends constantly tell me, you have to live today like its your last day and every day is a celebration. My UNICEF friend is visiting me this week after spending 6 months in OPT. I imagine I will be watching another ‘one man show’ …only this time we will all be drinking and it will last much longer than an hour.
The short of it is…if the show RASH by Jenni Wolfson is playing in your area, please see it. Its great. (REALLY) Here’s another review by Coolkids if you still aren’t sold.