Musings on Escapism (#6)

We seem to be trapped in a time of exceeding anger and confusion. Many seek to escape this perception.


In a world filled with clout chasers, unimaginable wealth hovers out of reach of debt soaked strivers. Some of us, in an effort to stave off materialism, get rid of most of our worldly possessions, only to replace them with carefully selected “life-affirming” pieces that often cost twice as much as the perfectly functional recently discarded clutter.

We replace the Deity with human idols dolled up in purchased body parts.

We stare, like Narcissus, at hand-held reflections residing in technology assembled on faraway shores by underpaid hands.

Our spines atrophy on spinning seats in grey cubicles.

In high definition we trust and binge on images of Vikings and meth heads and zombies and crowns, and mad men on thrones, and sociopaths, superheroes, dystopia and clowns.

Duties call and craft the wars that children fight with racist chants.

And no, silence is not golden. We want noise in, and noise is what comes out. The louder the leader, the surer the victory: and to the victors go the spoils, and the spoiling, and the spoilt.

And what to make of a country in the midst of celebrating the new found right to yet another kind of escapism – the non-medicinal kind? If we’re so progressive, why do we need to constantly escape? What demons possess us?


“Every one of us has a bad conscience, which he tries to escape by going to sleep as quickly as possible.”

– Franz Kafka

And what to make of the steady stream of disturbing news from our southern cousins: and their tales of demagogues and porn stars and neo Nazis and walls? And vague memories of a late king most common, “Can we all get along? Can we…can we get along?”

And then there’s just life, with all of its arbitrary triumph and gain and sadness and loss.

And then this question: should the theatre be escape, or reflection, or both?

Should the theatre lift us out of the doldrums, or represent the pain? Or explain the pain? Or wrap the pain tightly around its audience, force them to confront it, feel it, consider and accept it, and then mercifully, at the last possible moment, before they leave the theatre, provide them with some form of much needed…catharsis?

“Catharsis is about cleansing and healing at one and the same time – healing memories and attitudes, healing the spirit and the heart.”

– Desmond Tutu

Just musing.

Thanks for reading…


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