Satori Stageplay

  • I watch from an omniscient perspective the performance of a unique stageplay about fear, paranoia and schizophrenia. The actors use psychological tricks in order to produce a genuine fear in the audience. In fact, a full half of the audience are actually actors in the play. You never actually learn who is who. This is used to great effect, turning true audience members to paranoid thoughts of conspiracy. Most of the lighting in the show uses a single spotlight on a dark stage, though there is no physical distinction between the audience area and the stage. In fact, though the script calls for the audience to be located on the stage and the actors to perform in the seats, the stage manager for this production has chosen a less overt demonstration by restricting the performance to the immediate front of the seats and among them.

    The performance continues, the story narrated by the main character not as a play but as a story told between friends; the audience is part of the play as participants and there is a lot of interaction initiated between the main character and the audience. Sometimes the narrative is non-linear, referring to events in the past tense that haven't happened yet. Sometimes certain scenes are repeated verbatim at different points in the play, sometimes back to back. The general story is this: a man (the main character) grows more fearful and more paranoid each day, believing that someone or something is out to get him. He knows that his friends (the audience) will think he sounds delusional and paranoid so he will tell the story, presenting the evidence as a series of first-hand experiences. These experiences then follow as minimal sets become lit up out of the darkness in which the memories of the main character play out. This series of strange encounters, synchronicities, mushroom trips, and more have the intended effect of scaring the audience. At the end and climax of the play, all lights are on and everyone who is an actor suddenly stands up as the theatre goes pitch black. Simultaneously, each actor speaks a different evil threat, overlapped by all the others. The intention as that each audience member will hear their own individual fear actualized ("your child is dead", "the cancer will kill you", "she hates you"). The non-audience actors disappear in the darkness, covered by the sounds of weeping. When the lights come on, the audience stands and slowly walks out. The program says this is the intermission but the doors are locked to get back into the theatre.

    The show isn't over when you think it is.