The Orange Fog
Last night was the second preview for Orange Julius. About 10 minutes into the play there is a Vietnam fantasy scene where a hazer pumps light fog out to give the illusion of other-worldliness. Last night's hazer malfunctioned and the stage was instantly flooded with thick fog. We could barely see the actors standing right in front of us. Fans were switched on and side doors were opened. Though there was no real danger, the moment felt uncertain.
Many of us now feel as if we are living life in a type of fog where it's unclear what's real and what's not. Is it fake news or real news? Does the Orange One really mean what he says or is it just an act? Will this just be a passing phase or are we are on the edge of the precipice?
Theater by design deals in the realm of artifice, where things are often not black and white. Moreover, in live theater we can't always control things, things don't always go according to plan. Still we embrace this ambiguity, and accept that things will not always turn out the way we expect them to. In this way, the fog of theater is illuminating and cathartic.
Is there a lesson in this beyond mere escapism? As the Artistic Director of a theater company, I think there is. For the many of us who are disturbed by what's going on in the "real world," through theater we are trying to imagine another type of world in which difference is appreciated as providing richness, not danger, and we greet an uncertain future with optimism, not fear.