I watched the Cubs game last night. It was a cold, rainy Monday night in Pittsburgh and no one was in the stands. We blew out the Pirates. The score was 14-3 and it wasn’t even that close. We were up 10-1 in the third inning yet I still watched every pitch of the game. There was something so soothing about seeing this game unfold with the outcome not in doubt. The players went up, threw their pitches, took their at bats, played out the stretch. There was no running out the clock. There was no taking a knee. Each side had 27 outs, no matter how over the game was.
It was mesmerizing.
One of our jobs as theatre artists is to create the illusion of events happening for the first time. That the characters are coming up with these words on the spot and that the ending is completely in doubt. Yet, in what I have always found incredibly ironic, audiences still go and see shows that they have seen time and time again. I’m like “we should do new plays! All new all the time!” And people are like “oh Midsummer Nights Dream is on again. Can’t wait to see it!
But maybe that’s the point. We all know how Hamlet ends. We all know how Raisin in the Sun ends. We all know they’re going to cut down the Cherry Orchard and that Romeo and Juliet and going to end up dead in each other’s arms. Yet we watch. Time and again. Maybe it’s because life throws so many unknowns at us. Every time we step out into the world we meet new people, we go to new places, we learn new things. And each time something new happens the equation changes.
But now that my story is up in the air, I long for the predictability or Romeo not getting the letter in time, or everyone learning about The Importance of Being Ernest. Knowing how things end allow us to enjoy the ride. Since that is not a luxury life gives us we take it wherever we can. Whether it’s listening to Les Miz for the 43 time or watching the Cubs blow out the Pirates on a cold rainy night in April.